Saturday, 4 August 2012

One pattern many looks FAIL! & S.W.A.P Swapped

(Warning warning: long blog - it has been a while!!!)

Well - I didn't get to do my one pattern many looks entries. First I had hurt my ankle, then visitors arrived... then I started preparing for sewing....

First - the border print didn't fit - the space between the border pattern was too small for the length of the top. Second - I forgot to gelatin the blue chiffon so it was running all around the table when I tried to cut it so I put it aside to pick up the white material. That cut well and I was happily sewing away........ only to find that I had sewed the sleeve on to the top inside out - with the overlocker!! My family thought this hilarious - not so much me.... I decided that I didn't like the material enough to sit there unpicking the overlocked stitches so I thought that obviously this competition was not for me!!!

Then I thought about what I wanted to sew and looked at my SWAP (Sewing with a Plan). Oh how uneducated I am in the ways of sewing! I thought I was so cool creating my SWAP earlier in the year. I, in my infinite newbie non-wisdom, thought that sewing with a plan meant - well - planning what you were going to sew for the next year. Little did I know that it was much more organised than that. That sewing with a plan involves creating a coordinated wardrobe - items that can be mixed and matched so that you end up with great many outfits to wear.

It has only been through reading other's blogs and the message boards at Pattern Review that I learnt the errors of my ways. And besides - my SWAP really wasn't working for me. I missed months and I changed my mind because of the siren call of new patterns and fabrics. Not only that but until the "mini wardrobe" month - nothing would match. Also, my previous SWAP used all my favourite fabrics and I am not yet at the stage where I want to use great material. You live and learn.

So I am going to swap my SWAP. It is a lady's prerogative to change her mind after all.

Why do a SWAP at at all?  Sewing a wardrobe is a big task. Especially for a beginner. The reason is my current wardrobe is not great. Most of it is old and black or if it isn't black it doesn't match with anything else. My wardrobes are busting at the seams with mostly unworn / unwearable clothes. I really do have very few wearable clothes. I am a business trainer that goes to many different organisations and teach everyone including directors of the business. I have been thinking for some time now that I have become lazy in my dressing - I pull out my black slacks (I have many different versions) and then pull out a top. I really need new clothes and to move away from black slacks. And also - what better way to learn? I am going to concentrate on business clothes and then once I have enough I am going to do a wardrobe clean out!

I am going to create a wardrobe based around basic colours. I remember reading Carolyn's Blog - Diary of a Sewing Fanatic where she had purchased 10 YARDS of ivory fabric. I thought to myself - why would anyone buy 10 yards of anything - let alone a plain colour????? Not that I was questioning Carolyn's choice at all - just didn't bear thinking about - when there is all that pretty patterned fabric around.. Now that I have cottoned on to what a SWAP should be, I have had to purchase more of the base colours fabrics that I had in my stash to create a wardrobe - it all makes sense now.

First I chose my fabrics for my base. I know that there are "colours" out there that are supposed to match you - Summer / Winter colours etc. However I haven't had my colours done and this is the fabric I have in my stash. I actually started choosing coordinating fabrics to buy a few months ago now so I have been purchasing with a purpose!

I have looked in my stash to see what coordinating fabrics I have and this is what I have come up with. I have made a wardrobe for each season with some items overlapping as they fit in both wardrobes.. I know I wanted to move away from black but my summer wardrobe is a lot of black and white as I think that it is very fresh looking.
These are my SWAPS. They will take me quite a while to get through (I am thinking years) but will give me clothes that actually coordinate - this will be a first for me.

The Autumn and Winter SWAPs are much more coordinated as I was originally going to start with those ones - until injuries occurred.

Will purchase lightweigh navy, chocolate and white slacks to go with summer

Now - I am sure I wont get through it all - that is not really my intent - and I have heard that people do get sick of their SWAPs but at least it will give me some where to start - some ideas that I can pick and choose from. I will probably only get through a few items from each season. But they will coordinate. The ones I will definitely do are the key items in all SWAPs and then I will try them on and think about the options on the SWAP that will go with them the best and sew as many as I can of those. I am also sure that I will take breaks from my swap when something catches my eye. I may even change the items as I go. I just needed a plan to start with.

I am definitely going to have to find myself a good teacher to help me get through it.

I would love some feedback. Apart from the massive amount of items - as I said - I am sure I won't get through it all - have I got it right this time? Will this work?

I have actually started on my winter SWAP and completed one item. Then I developed a massive pain in my chest - feeling like broken ribs but not tender to the touch. Doctor thinks it is a pinched nerve in my spine so off I went to have x-rays - seems I have lots of problems with my spine - worst being compression fractures of some vertebrae... Will need to have injections into the spine (ouch - putting it off and hoping pain will go away - nothing like being an ostrich) so after I completed this item - I haven't been able to sew. It looks like I will start again with my Spring collection since by the time I will be able to sew Winter will be drawing to a close.

Here is the item on Babs. On person photos when I am up to it.

Mignon knit from

It is the Style Arc Abby Cardigan. I am loving it. (not quite as shiny in life without flashbulbs going off!)  The fabric has a crushed look and and feels lovely. It is lighter in thickness than it looks and I have purchased it in red/blue and teal. I haven't hemmed it - I have left the selvage as the hem but I will need to hem the sleeves as they are too long (although I have worn it a few times with the sleeves tucked up - It is after all black and fits into my current wardrobe). According to the stretch I should have sewn it with the "stripes" running horizontal as in the fabric picture - but I liked the look of it running vertical - especially on the sleeves.

I am pleased with the outcome and Babs was of great help assisting me during the construction to help me figure out what attached to what. The fit is good and I shall make another I am sure....

Until next time.


  1. Hi BeaJay! You've been in the wars! :( I do like though how you've put a palette together for each season. Seems like an excellent way to get the best wear from your sewing projects for sure.
    I have no such discipline, but the advantage of a deeeeep stash tuned by years of cull and purchase cycles into things I love - which means mostly red, black and purple so they coordinate by default hehehe. Go well!

  2. Great to see you back blogging! I love how organised you are - you have some really great patterns and fabrics there! and I love your abby cardi, the fabric is gorgeous :)

  3. Welcome back BeaJay. Love your plan and the fact that you have one. I've been one step forward and two steps back all year so I hear where you are coming from. Love your first garment and look forward to following your progress.

  4. Hey I like your story boards. I've never been organized enough to sew with a plan but luckily I seem to go for colours that co-ordinate most of the time. I hope your back feels better soon.

  5. Wow- this is all very inspiring-I love your plans, I may have to try this planning thing one day!

  6. BeaJay first I'm sorry to hear about your back issues. Hopefully you will be feeling better soon! Second, I'm sure more than you were befuddled by my choice to purchase 10 yards of fabric but it does allow you to have several basics in the same color so they will always coordinate. As far as swapping is concerned, sew as much as you can because you're right when you have a few pieces that coordinate, it will be easier to add more to them.

    I really hope that you're feeling better soon!

  7. you have picked out alot of nice patterns and fabrics there - I can`t believe they are not your good fabrics. Hopefully you will have fun sewing and feel alot better.

  8. Loving those plans. And that Abby cardigan is CUTE! It's on my list of things to sew soon, too. I'm glad you liked it. That gives me hope that mine may be a winner, too.

  9. Sorry to hear about your back - I hope your treatment goes well! You have chosen some lovely items in your SWAP. I have tried SWAP but find I love the planning and then am not so good at sticking to the plan as I get side-tracked so easily (did I just see something shiny!) At the moment I follow Kelleys's sewing plan which is pull out a pile of fabrics that you want to wear that season and a pile of patterns you would like to make and hopefully it all comes together and you get a few pieces you need! :)

  10. hello Beajay, thanks for commenting on my blog. Your SWAP layout really caught my eye. Ive never heard of this. Just recently I have been trying to plan my outfits more (due to small cottage and hardly any wardrobe space) so I tried to do a self analysis on which colours suit me. After all what's the point me using up my fabrics stash if the fabric dont actually suit me. Have you thought of taking some of the key pieces so they flow through the seasons. I think you have inspired me to have a go and create a Winter wardrobe, must check out Patternreview
    thanks louise


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