Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Maybe unlucky for some, but this (next) year I’m really going to try hard and complete the Sewing With a Plan thing going on over at Stitchers’ guild.

While all these enthusiastic sewers were posting their patterns and fabrics and ideas, I hadn’t a clue even where to start.

The 2013 SWAP is supposed to be easier than previous years’:
Two distinct collections – 4 or 5 pieces in each one.
One bridging garment to tie the two collections together.
About 11 garments in total.
Sewing starts on the 26th Dec and finishes some time in the spring. I haven’t got as far as the finish date yet, seeing as I was having difficulty just getting started!

Ordinarily, sewing 11 things in three to four months would not be a major issue, but when you have to plan, organise and then stick to the schedule – it becomes a very daunting task.

I had a breakthrough last weekend. This is what materialised in my head during church on Sunday.
Perhaps divine inspiration, but first I tackled the colour scheme.

There is no point in selecting colours that I won’t wear but I have bits of navy and plenty of neutral/browns, so anything made for SWAP will coordinate with existing wardrobe items. Looking at the end date of the SWAP, it will be spring so the clothing should be adaptable enough to see out winter and into early spring. Cool blues for winter and warm sand for spring.
Then I had to come with a theme – or at least two themes for the two collections. I started with City and  Country, Chic and Casual, Day and Night and so on and gradually and gently these initial ideas formed into two distinct styles that represent two 20th century icons….
Audrey’s collection is dressier and smart and definitely feminine but I’m also including the cropped, fitted pants from ‘Funny Face’. She liked to wear Givenchy.
Katherine’s collection is looser and more casual and veers towards the masculine – wide legged trousers, shirts, waistcoat but also a shirt waister dress. She preferred Valentina
The bridging item will be a trench coat (rain mac), as worn by both women and completely gender free.
I like Chanel. So between all three of us we might just cover three couture houses in one sitting.
Now all I have to do is select the patterns and find the fabric and start sewing at the end of December.
I am determined to use only the patterns I already own – I’m not buying any new ones, so there may have to be a bit of mucking about done.
Chaos sketching – perhaps a better name for my collection.
I don’t have much of a fabric stash at the moment, which I’m a little bit glad of. I’m back to buying for a purpose (BFAP) so this time round I can choose the right fabric for the right pattern and not try and make do. I’m not aiming to recreate the clothes of Audrey and Katherine exactly – just use them as a style guide. I’m also hoping that some of Audrey’s can be worn with Katherine’s and vice versa.
Other news this week:
My removed moles did a tour of the laboratories, the research units and the clinic and ended up being so annoyed at all that travel that they went bad. One was dysplastic (cells thinking of moving to the dark side) the other was full blown malignant melanoma (cells that are already paid up members of the dark side).
Here are some things that I am extremely grateful for:
1. Living in the UK with the wonderful and attentive National Health that doesn’t cost me a penny.
2. My eagle-eyed consultant who spotted the baddies and cut them out 
3. The nurses, Sharon, Michelle and Helen who kept talking the whole time and kept me comfortable
4. The 23 sutures in my right thigh to hold the second incision closed until mother nature does her work. This latest scar will be a beautiful lazy S shape. Unique I think.
5. The fact that the doctor was concerned about her sewing abilities after she heard I made my own clothes. That was funny – she even had me take a look to offer some constructive feedback on her stitching ability.
So I’m off work for another week or two while I recover, get my head around this latest news and perhaps put some things into perspective; and I will sew like a maniac when I can use the foot-peddle leg again in a day or two.
This gives me plenty of time to think about SWAP 13 and I’m afraid to say, internet shopping!
I said I wasn’t going to buy any more patterns, but in the email tray was one from Vogue saying how they’d extended the OOP sale and I just had to take a look. And when I took a look, I bought!
I thought I’d spent a grand total of $6, the patterns being $0.99 each but the total came to $157. I had to email them immediately. Apparently something went wrong with their computer and I got my refund. Which sort of makes it feel I’ve saved twice. Nice.
So lots of fabric BFAP and some new (old) patterns on their way. But I can’t sew these yet as the SWAP doesn’t start until after Christmas.
I can’t twiddle my thumbs until then – any ideas?

35 thoughts on “SWAP 13

  1. Hi Ruth.I love your colors and your collection. I think it will suit your body and your coloring perfectly, and you have the skills to pull it off. If you find a fabric that matches that swatch under the piano keys, please contact me immediately! I'll be buying it also. I'm sorry your moles were baddies, but I'm so happy they caught them and removed them. I do think a lazy S shaped scar will be beautiful and unique! And it's really funny the doctor wanted a critique of her stitching. For your SWAP, you can make one garment before the official onset of the SWAP, so your raincoat/trench would be nice to have completed and out of the way. The last one you made was wonderful. After that, you can do all your alterations, complete your muslins and have everything cut out and ready for sewing when the offical starting point arrives. That should occupy you for a few days. I am thankful you're my virtual friend and I get to have a little peek into your life at times. Have a wonderful day!Lynda

  2. Hi Ruth, Sorry that the moles turned out the way they were… and I'm glad those were found and you got rid of them. Your SWAP sounds fabulous!! Can't wait to see it unfold, piece by piece.

  3. What a terrific collection. I've never participated in the SWAP, but think that I ought to given the currently uncoordinated state of my wardrobe. Love your sketching, by the way – you are talented. Glad that the lesions have been removed, and that you have such good health care. It's scary stuff, knowing that your spots have "gone to the dark side", as you put it. Take care – and maybe you could plan a SWAP for me while you're recovering!

  4. I salute you! I think you have a commendable attitude about the baddies. Keep them in that perspective!And I was going to say immediately when I started reading your post, that I absolutely love your colours, and I do indeed think it was divinely inspired! I am one who thinks God smiles when we go colourful! ;)Enjoy the process!Brenda

  5. wonderful SWAP collection and I think using the Trench coat to bridge is inspired. Sorry to hear about the baddies but a new badge of honour in the shape of Superwoman!!! I am looking forward to reading all about the SWAP.

  6. Your SWAP looks wonderful. When I saw that your bridging piece was a trenchcoat I nearly changed my mind about my knit jacket. I might use your idea. I'm sorry to hear about your moles and I hope the best.

  7. I wouldn't normally be taken with the SWAP idea (Sewing with Added Pressure?!) but the "Hepburn" is a great plan! I love both those women and their styles played such a strong part in being the stars they were. You're lucky you have the slimness and the height to carry off both looks. And damn those moles, how dare they complicate life so!The colours are sumptious!Looking forward to the SWAP posts.

  8. Ruth, love your colours, your two choices of Audrey and Katherine are two of my favourite real stars. Can't wait to see what you make, best of luck on your recovery

  9. Your swap looks great. I agree that it is best to stick to colours that you will actually wear, and that often means neutrals.

  10. Love, love, love the fabrics, and the inspirations, and the names, and the patterns, and – well, just everything! I like that you are mixing designers (isn't it cool that we can do that?) I think that you will have some great garments that will be very wearable and work well with each other – sewing for the person you are now! I have been reading your blog for a while now and I look forward to the theory being put into practice!

  11. I thought you could pre-sew one item before the contest begins? Having done a SWAP before I guess I needed the time before to gather everything together, match patterns with fabric, get notions so that everything would be assembled and ready to sew. Sorry to hear about the new moles and good luck with your recovery.

  12. This looks like a wonderful SWAP collection, very classic. So sorry about the moles; on a frivolous note can't you use the other leg for the foot pedal?

  13. I love the Hepburn concept, what perfect choices, ladylike but not fussy, beautiful tailoring. Inspired! I hope your healing goes well, Im sorry you got bad news…..

  14. Hope the melanoma is only superficial and you certainly deserved a sewing shopping spree as a pick -me- up. Good wishes for your healing and the SWAP !

  15. Forward thoughts, forward actions, go Ruth! I love so much about your swap. I'll be interested in following along and seeing how it develops.

  16. Lynda, I'm glad you're my virtual friend too. Good to know about the pre-SWAP garment – I think the Chanel jacket might just be the one to tackle first.

  17. Thank Kay. I'm itching to get started, let's just hope I manage to finish too.

  18. No it's my first one too. I can't believe how much decision making goes into sorting out 11 items. Here's hoping I'll have that co-ordinated wardrobe we all seek.

  19. Brenda, thank you. Now all I have to do is find the fabrics that match the colour scheme

  20. I like that – badge of honour! Maybe I'll start wearing shorter skirts just to show it off.

  21. But I was going to use YOUR idea of a knit jacket!

  22. I know Marianna, I signed up a year or two ago and then just let it drop. Never finished, I can't remember if I even got started. But now that the planning stage is sort of out of the way I'm looking forward to it.

  23. But then there's the Laurens – Bacall and Hutton. I was tempted by their style too. Thanks Linda

  24. Yep, good ol' basics. Thanks Karin.

  25. Yes Carolyn, I've just found out about the pre-sewing. So I'll start with the Chanel jacket I think. There's a lot to get sorted for a SWAP, I didn't realise how much effort this takes. Thanks for stopping by.

  26. Ahh left legged pedal action – might try that!

  27. Anne, the idea might be perfect but whether it turns out in reality is another thing completely! I'm healing well thank you – just so much more time for reading blogs and stuff.

  28. Thanks Janine, sewing and shopping for sewing always seems to help everything.

  29. Sandra, I'll be interested myself to see how this develops! If it ever does… onwards and upwards

  30. Let's hope the theory actually does translate into practice – time will tell.

  31. Great colours…I have been playing with blues and cool browns for SWAP ideas but no great inspirations yet.i can't wait to see how yours comes into fruition

  32. You look like you are completely organised- love the colours and the looks you are going for. Hope you heal up okay. Hooray for free health care- I can't imagine being anywhere where you couldn't get looked after.

  33. I think if I had enough time I could make about 4 SWAPS! There are just so many good things to make! (and seriously, if I could make a good dent in my stash, I'd have TONS of new clothes.) I love how you always pick challenging patterns with interesting details. Can't wait to see it coming together. If you haven't made the clovers before, you will love them. They have an interesting pocket detail in the front. They are pretty simple actually and I had to make very little adjustments to the fit.

  34. Ruth, I am catching up on your shenanigans by reading backwards, so I've already read how well your recovery is going and I am very happy for you. I have no doubt your great attitude made a contribution as well. And thanks so much for sharing your SWAP inspiration, planning and thinking. It is invaluable for those of us who are chronically indecisive. I can't wait to see your whole SWAP wardrobe, I'm going to writhe with envy, I just know it.

  35. Pingback: SWAP Prep | corecouture

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