Community · Sewing

Sewing with a Plan: An Overly Ambitious Goal?

This winter I’m joining a bunch of other talented seamsters in the Stitcher’s Guild’s Sewing with a Plan 2012 challenge. We’re all making eleven garments from tried-and-true patterns. Unfortunately, I don’t have any. My goal is to discover several TNTs over the course of the challenge through proper fitting, and this post marks the beginning of the saga.

My sewing class last week consisted of me cutting out my next animal blanket and watching others sew appliques on their bags.  I did no sewing.  It turns out my machine’s light had burned out, and the machine itself had picked up a squeak that no amount of oil would fix.  So, instead of forcing my classmates to listen to it whimper along, I checked it in for a tune up.  Or, as my sewing teacher called it, a trip to the spa.  And, now that I don’t actually have the option to sew, not only do I want to finish my animal blanket, but I also want to start working on all of the other projects I’ve bought patterns and fabric for over the last year.  (This drive is likely also due to the fact that I’m supposed to be writing a review paper and am dragging my feet a bit.)

Enter the craziness of the Stitcher’s Guild and their annual Sewing with a Plan (SWAP) Sew-Along.  This year’s focus is as follows.

This year, our SWAP will focus on fitting, and making tried-and-true patterns: testing and fitting paper patterns, muslins, and fashion garments that will help lower the overall sewing failure rates, result in fabulous clothing to be proud of, and (hopefully) give every contestant a pattern or two that works every time it is used.

I don’t really have any tried-and-true (TNT) patterns, but I’m excited to put a valiant effort into building a library of such patterns.

From there, the goal is as follows.

Choose any seven garments from [the] list [below]…  From those seven, choose four to make twice for a total of 11 garments that will work together.   Those four may either be repeated garments from the same pattern, or one each from two different patterns.

My personal goals for the next six months (really from now until what seems to be the end of time) including fitting a button-down shirt and a blouse pattern, making a few cute skirts, trying my hand at making jeans, adding a few more outer layers to my closet, and finally getting around to making the bombshell dress from Gertie’s class.  I also hope to draft a basic bodice block for myself using my new Patternmaking for Fashion Design book.  I would like to use it to draft a simple cape, and then hopefully have the confidence to branch out into more creative tops once the SWAP is finished.

Fortunately, muslins, fitting, and cutting can begin anytime.  Also, two garments can be sewn before the SWAP officially starts on December 26th.  The rest have to be finished by April 30th. I’m counting my circle skirt as one of my SWAP garments.

Since I haven’t had any time to sew in the last two months, I’m not sure why I think I can meet this kind of goal, but I figure it can’t hurt to try.  I have most everything on hand already anyway.

Here are the possible garment categories from the SWAP 2012 Official Rules, and my choices for garments I’d like to sew.

  • Button-Down Shirt w/Collar

1.  BurdaStyle JJ button-down shirt in Indigo-Dyed Cotton Batiste (previously discussed here)

  • Blouse or shirt (collar is optional)

2.  Sewaholic Pendrell in Jersey Blue Baubbles (fabric needs to be purchased)

3.  Sewaholic Pendrell as a bow blouse in Silk Satin Faced Chiffon Print (collar needs to be drafted, fabric needs to be purchased)

  • T-Shirt
  • Vest
  • Overshirt
  • Dress

4.  BurdaStyle 5/2011 Bustier Dress with Draped Detail in teal shantung with dragon print cotton lining (previously discussed here)

  • Jeans

5.  Jalie 2908 in dark blue denim (previously discussed here)

6.  Jalie 2908 as skinnies in gray twill (previously discussed here)

  • Trousers
  • Shorts or Capri Pants
  • Skirt

7.  Circle skirt in Indigo-Dyed Cotton Batiste (sketched above with the JJ button down, already completed – see here for finished skirt)

8.  BurdaStyle Kasia skirt in camel-colored gabardine

  • Jacket (jean jacket, windbreaker, hoodie, etc.)

9.  Sewaholic Minoru jacket in creamy white Organic Cotton SweatShirt Knit (fabric needs to be purchased)

  • Coat  (suit or sport coat)
  • Overcoat or Raincoat

10.  Amy Butler Rainy Days jacket in ivory gabardine with striped Burberry rainwear lining

11.  Cape in Cocoa & Black Herringbone wool with royal blue Bemberg lining (pattern needs to be drafted, fashion fabric needs to be purchased)

  • Bathing Suit & Coverup

I hope the collection of neutrals and blues will easily work themselves into my everyday wear.  I also hope this contest will give me the motivation to keep sewing a little bit here and there over the coming year.

Is anyone else out there thinking about joining in?  It seems like it would go along with the seasonal Sew-Alongs that keep popping up.  And, it might work really well with people like Amy of Cloth Habit who enjoy sewing in industrial-style stages.  Let me know, if so.

20 thoughts on “Sewing with a Plan: An Overly Ambitious Goal?

  1. LOVE your swap plan! The bombshell dress in that killer blue is going to be amazing! And will you share your self drafted cape pattern???? 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’m excited for the bombshell dress, but not having anywhere to wear it has kept it off the sewing table. Instead, I’ve just tried to use techniques I learned during the class in my everyday sewing. I hope the SWAP (and having a summer wedding to attend) will push me to start it. And, yes, I’ll share the cape pattern if it turns out well. I hope to make one for me and one for my mom, so I might even be able to share the pattern in two sizes!

  2. It does look like an ambitious plan, but GORGEOUS! I am happy to have just purchased the Minoru jacket and the Pendrell blouse, so those are on my future plans as well. I also am signed up for the Bombshell dress class and have fabric on the way. Great minds think alike! lol

    1. Wonderful! Will you be joining the Minoru Sew-Along? One of my favorite parts of Sew-Alongs is checking in with others doing the same pattern.

  3. Woo, check you out! I love how you organized it all and I’m sure just having this laid out will give a sense of accomplishment even if it happens in small increments. I like the SWAP ideas at Stitcher’s Guild and have wondered about jumping in on one. (I am in definite need of jeans and a good button down shirt–they have been on my ongoing list.)

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