Friday, November 10, 2006

Its a SWAP Thing!

If you have been reading along you will notice that I like to create garments in sets. I am really enamoured of matching and/or coordinating pieces. That said - It is SWAP time again at Artisan's Square! Every year for the last four years, Julie Timmel of Timmel Fabrics, sponsors a SWAP contest. The rules are listed on her website under SWAP 2007. Last year was the first time I officially participated, the year before I sewed along but did not join in.

Learning to SWAP - Sewing With A Plan is a very dynamic process. You actually learn to train your mind to think in coordinating garments and fabrics. You actually stop sewing or purchasing "orphans" garments that don't go with anything else in your closet. The combination of 11 garments if sewn correctly yields about 40 outfits...I think that's correct, but Julie's website has the definitive answer.

Every year Julie adds on a new requirement to make the SWAP contest a little different and more challenging - as if sewing 11 garments in a set time frame isn't challenging enough! *smile* One year it was an embellished or trimmed garment, last year two garments had to be made from the same pattern but with a totally different look and not by just changing the fabric, and this year the hook is that one of the garments must be reversible. I have to admit that the reversible thing really hung me up for a while and almost caused me not to participate this year. But I love SWAPping, and the camaderie & conversations that take place during the process, so as Tim Gunn would say, I made it work!

Finally, there are two types of SWAPs that you can create - a regular one (11 garments) or a dress SWAP - all of this information is detailed on Julie's website. Since I have completed two previous SWAPs - this year I decided to make a dress SWAP. A dress SWAP consists of four dresses, two jackets, two bottoms and three tops.

To begin my SWAP, I looked at patterns/looks/silhouttes. I have a few TNT dress patterns so I started there. The Tamatsou dress pattern -
Vogue OOP 2090 which I have previously made is the first piece in my collection. I have about ten yards of black wool crepe on hand and I have been dying for a lined, long sleeved dress from this fabric and pattern. The next dress is from another Vogue OOP dress pattern 2688. I just recently made this dress in a tobacco colored tropical wool and it is perfect for business wear. So I will make another version in black and white - wool crepe and a sandwashed silk with a special ribbon trim. My third dress will be from my TNT dress pattern using a red wool crepe. It took me a while to come up with my final dress but I have finally decided upon the new, trendy piece for this fall - a jumper! Which will be made from this fabric that was originally purchased to knock off a Dolce & Gabbana skirt - that I am just not feeling this fall!

Next up - jackets!

I have wanted to make Simplicity 4093 since I first saw it! I even went so far as to actually felt a piece of the black wool crepe for the jacket back at the end of the summer. I have a great floral silk that I want to use for the lining and this jacket will work with all of my dresses and bottoms.

My final jacket will be from the red wool crepe - Butterick 4871!

Bottoms were easy - one skirt and one pair of pants. The pants of course will be lined and made from my TNT pattern out of the black wool crepe. No need to mess with perfection, and who doesn't need an extra pair of black pants!? I am planning on making my skirt my reversible piece ~ one side being a light red silk broadcloth and one side a linen/silk blend glen plaid that has red/black/white threads for the plaid.

Finally - white sandwashed silk one from my TNT Sewing Workshop Mission Tank pattern. I have made this top so much that I could sew it with my eyes closed but it just works in my wardrobe! The second one will be a black wool/silk jersey Jalie sleeveless turtleneck made from the pattern I received for participating in last year's SWAP contest - appropo right!?! My last piece will be purchased since you are allowed to purchase one piece - and it will be a white shirt.

I really took my time and planned this year's SWAP out. I was not only looking for wearable pieces that would fit into my wardrobe and lifestyle but I was also looking for pieces that would present the look of a collection and photograph well. Since this will be a huge amount of my winter sewing, I will write about all changes, challenges, and triumphs here. And if you want to see last year's winners...check Julie's site under SWAP 2006!


  1. Your plan sounds great! If I participated this year, it would be with a dress SWAP and similiar colors. I just got a vintage 70's jumper pattern that I'm working on, too! Can't wait to see what you make, your outfits always turn out really great.

  2. I will be watching to see your progress. Your plan sounds great!


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