Sunday, November 28, 2010


I have done one SWAP and one wardrobe and not finished several others.  I also swore off entering any more contests, but this one on Stitcher's Guild is interesting.  There are the usual 11 pieces  but every top doesn't have to go with every bottom which can be very artificial at times.  Instead they have to constitute a collection, which is how I sew anyway.  The twist is that each piece that I sew has to have a technique that is either new to me or that I have not yet mastered.  Because that could be fairly time consuming 3 pieces can be purchased or sewn previously.  So, I only have to sew 8 pieces. Here are the wardrobe options:

Option #1:
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
4 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accessory)

Option #2:
2 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
2 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accessory)

Option #3:
5 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
4 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
1 bottom  - jeans, pants, shorts, skirt or kilt.
1 your choice (not an accessory)

3 garments may be purchased or previously sewn.
1 may be knitted or crocheted.

Now here's your twist:

Every garment should be made with a technique or feature that you haven't tried, or haven't mastered.  My personal Waterloo is zippers -hate 'em, because I have to take them out and redo them at least once, every time.  And there are several things I've sampled, but have never used on a garment -slotted seams, for one.

That doesn't mean every garment should have a zipper, if that's what you have trouble with.  But at least one should.  And if you never mastered buttonholes, at least one garment should have one.  If you've never made a flat-felled seam, now's the time. Smiley

Because this will be more challenging, I'm allowing one more garment to be purchased so that everyone can be pretty sure to finish in time.  I know last year was more fussy, but this year will be more apt to have pieces that need to be redone, or may even cause a wadder or two.  So to offset that, the total number of garments to be made is one less.

Ordinarily I would be drawn to the first option.  I usually sew tops and bottoms, but I have been wanting to sew some more dresses lately.  My summer dresses were fun to wear and comfortable. So option two sounds like a possibility.   I'd make a jacket or cardigan that can go over most of it, though in this contest it wouldn't have to match everything.  

Now for the new or not mastered techniques. this is the list I've come up with so far.
Blouse with collar and stand
jeans with a flat felled seam
learning how to finally  bind a neckline with my coverstitch binders.
channel quilting
slotted seams
leather binding on a sweater
couture pants ala Claire Schaeffer
Facing to the outside
Neckline placket for a blouse
Spanish snap buttonholes
Combining leather and fabric, though I don't know if this one would count

What techniques do you want to master?  I feel like I've gotten lazy lately with my sewing; only doing fairly easy things and not pushing myself.  The question is, do I want to learn several different techniques, or work on some of the larger projects I've had planned, like my trenchcoat.  I really keep putting off doing this.  I haven't even traced the pattern out yet.  Do I need 11 new garments in my wardrobe, or do I need a trenchcoat, because lets face  it the trench is  a big project. 



  1. Personally, I don't know how you ladies do it - joining SWAP groups, challenges, etc., etc. I always have a plan - most of the time it just doesn't happen according to plan. Eventually things get done, but sometimes priorities get reorganized, and something goes on hold, while something else goes under the presser foot. I'm happy so long as stuff moves from the sewing room to the closet or into gift bags, or wherever.

  2. To me you are a VERY advanced, because I've admired your work for some time now. I guess we all have areas that we are just not as confident in (yet) as others. There are quite a few things on your yet to conquer list that are certainly on my list too. I have done the Spanish snap buttonhole, and therefore know that you can knock that one off the list in a jiffy. The hardest part of it for me was drawing the football shaped template to use as a guide for making the buttonholes. I also know that you will be able to knock that channel quilted lining off your list also. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. Now as for the collar with stand (which just the thought of makes me shiver, I still need to practice that one so I can't give much encouragement there. I know that you will do extremely well with the swap should you decide to partake.

  3. Sounds like an interesting personal challenge. I don't generally partake in competitions etc.

  4. Having just read DP Coffin's Shirtmaking book, I would like to try a shirt or two with his method for sleeve plackets. I also have been yearning to learn to tat and/or crochet, and use this on a child's garment on the edging.

    You have a pretty demanding list of techniques to get through. Just figuring out how to implement them all should be quite a challenge. Good luck and we will be watching.

  5. I don't know, you usually get so stressed by the swaps. I would probably do the trench coat but keep that list of problem techniques to work on and try to include them in your upcoming garments.

  6. I've never done a swap, though I still would like to try one. I always find it hard to make a good combinationn of patterns and fabric. Therefor the twist in this one, that each garment should have a technique that you haven't used/mastered before is too complicated to even start thinking about. There are enough things I never tried or mastered yet, but to incorporate them all in a swap... Two new techniques would have sounded more do-able to me.

  7. I luuuuurve swaps and contests, and usually put in personal goals to push myself. I guess it comes down to whether you thrive under pressure or not. If I don't have a deadline (even an imaginary one) I wouldn't get anything finished.

    If I were doing this one, I'd do option three as I already have piles of separates and recently realized how low-stress it is to slip into a nice dress and go about my business.

    I don't know what I'd do as the challenge part... Maybe use it as a time to miraculously become adept at drafting? Spanish snap buttons are on my list, too.

  8. Eleven garments, whew! It certainly sounds challenging! Whether you make 11 new items or one trench, I will be interested to see what you make and how you go about it. I haven't mastered any techniques really, so for me, it's all interesting :)

  9. I'm still debating about whether to enter SWAP this year. I always seem to get side tracked and not finish. For sure, I will have fun watching yours. Right now, I'm taking it one new technique at a time. I WILL master that collar and stand!

  10. I can never stick with a plan. And for this, I would never even pretend to make a plan that includes a new technique in each garment! Especially because I can only think of three techniques I'd like to learn: bound buttonholes, fly front, and sleeve plackets. And I don't even want to learn the last two that badly.

  11. Welt pockets. I was soo afraid of welt pockets, and I finally did a set. And of course, they looked horrible (why did my sample look fine and then the final look bad? One of life's great mysteries, I suppose...). Now I want to do nothing but welt pocket samples until I get it right!

  12. I think it depends upon your mood - how about that for a cop-out!!! Sometimes, I think it's easy to take on big projects if you just tackle it one step at a time. I took on my loden coat right in the middle of my busiest time of year, but decided I wanted something completely different to work on while I was finishing my dresses. That way I can pick it up and work on it a little at a time. Actually it sort of became a relief to work on.

    I'd say tackle what you need - this way you get into the habit of spoiling yourself, without having to worry about whether or not you can do this or that technique to finish the garment.