Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


Jersey Blue Any Way

At 10.03 this morning I sewed my last hand stitch for SWAP ’15 and for the first time in four months my needles are threadlesDSCN5160s. I have made 11 items in Alabama Chanin style from three shades of blue cotton jersey – but you’ll have to wait until the official finish date for a full reveal (30th April) when all who have participated publish their collections on Artisan’s Square.

In the meantime, if you are wondering what four months of hand sewing looks like – maybe something like this:


One of the items this year had to be reversible/recycled/convertible.

So this is my attempt………

Slide1Essentially a simple sun-dress, drawstring straps with stenciled circles on the diagonal front and back.

But wait…..


Gathered front, strapless, boatneck, draped, one-shoulder, halter (needs work or a pin!), low gathered

And then……


Waist length, hip length, long skirt, skirt with splits, tunic, tunic with pockets

So someone who can do maths – 7 necklines X 4 hemlines + 2 skirts = enough variations to be categorised as convertible?


SWAP ’15

I said I wouldn’t do a SWAP this year but whatyda know? Here I am. Let me explain.dscn4481..

Since the completion of the Alabama Chanin dress at the beginning of December, I’ve been cutting out and stashing individual garments from the 12m of blue cotton jersey that was delivered in August ’14. I’ve also bought another 4m of a boring beige in a sale that has since been dyed denim blue.



I’ve built up a little collection of AC blues pictures – my own private Pinterest.

Jersey Blue 1 Jersey Blue







All the cut bits were stuffed into freezer bags with the long-term intention of picking a bag at random when the notion took me, stenciling etc, sewing; move on to another one. I counted 8 things. I only needed another 3 to meet the 2015 rules and then I have a SWAP!


Just in case you don’t know already – SWAP  is Sewing With A Plan – annual event at Stitchers Guild. Sew 11 garments in four months starting on 26th Dec and the rules this year are:

5 Tops

3 Bottoms

3 Wildcards

At least one garment must be reversible/upcycled.  All the tops must coordinate with all the bottoms.

I reviewed the freezer bags, made some changes, drew some pictures and, call me crazy, aim to do an Alabama Chanin SWAP. I should say, AC inspired. I’ve no intention of reverse appliqueing every darn thing but I am aiming to hand sew as much as I can and do a bit of embellishment as I go along.

DSCN4916 DSCN4917

And two weeks in I’ve made advancement on the first garment. I started with the ‘most likely to be a disaster‘ item – a pair of trousers done in Alabama chanin style! Yes, maybe I am a little crazy.

Anyway, Vogue 8837 Marcy Tilton’s pants pattern: made from a moderate stretch fabric, I reverse appliqued the side panels only and hand sewed the leg seams: running stitch on the inside and felled with a backstitch on the outside.



Pattern is a leaf design and I traced this with a felt-tip pen and ran a running stitch around the lines. When everything is done I’ll wash the trousers and the pen marks disappear.


The front of the trousers have turn-ups (cuffs) which I fixed in placed with a few very visible X stitches.


The backs are supposed to have a strip of elastic running up the bottom half but I just sewed on a strip of contrasting cotton jersey.

I chickened out and serged the crotch – I really don’t trust my hand sewing that much especially when I know the strain that back centre seam has to to deal with.

All that needs to be done is a bit of elastic secured at the waist and the first item is complete!


Only 10 more things to go.

I will try not to bore you too much with each and every SWAP item, there’s much more exciting stuff going on in the jungle this January and I believe Mrs Robinson is looking at me…….


Oh, enticing