Planning - SWAP 2014

In my year-end post I mentioned that I want to focus my sewing on simple, classic pieces in the upcoming year.  I came to this decision in the same way many of you appear to have set your goals this year:  I realized many of my previously sewn "themed" items don't really fit my lifestyle or preferred wardrobe.  Sure, I love a loud print or girly vintage dress but, in all honestly, I don't feel entirely comfortable wearing them out and about.

Once I admitted this, it was time for a new plan.  Of course, the most realistic way to do this is to look at what you need on a daily basis.  Well, as a housewife, I don't specifically need a "work" wardrobe - I could lounge in pjs all day if I wanted (and this may or may not happen from time to time).  So, I need casual, comfortable pieces that I can do chores and run errands in.  On weekends though, I prefer to dress with a bit more polish.  No cocktail dresses of course, but, I do like simple dresses or more "put-together" separates in nicer fabrics.  (Let's just say my favorite window shopping is done at Saks.)  Something that can be work with ballet flats for early outings and errands or with heels for dinner.

Sticking to this idea is going to take some work as I ignore the printed cottons in my stash or all the new vintage-style patterns that are bound to hit the stores.  But, that's where SWAP is going to come in (it will get me through April at least!).  I don't expect to officially enter - I'm rather fuzzy on if I even can and I don't actually expect to finish all 11 garments -  but, I'm looking forward to playing along.  To plan my 11 garments, I gathered all of my inspiration photos and noticed a trend of solid colors in silk or wool (two fabrics I've hardly worked with).  It seems the Brasilia Dress was the start of a new trend in my sewing but, as it is currently the most loved handmade item in my wardrobe, it makes sense.

Since all of the garments for SWAP are supposed to "work" together/flow, I've decided on a handful of Pantone Spring colors and limited styles of fabrics to ensure everything is cohesive.  The garments are to be organized into three capsules with two additional wildcards (I'm a little fuzzy on those guidelines too.)

Here's what I'm planning (excuse the sloppy sketching and poor paint-bucket skills :P ):

Capsule #1: one top, one bottom, one dress - Weekdays

  • "Placid Blue" rayon challis sleeveless popover - McCall's 6702 - This seems like the style of shirt I'll get a lot of wear out of.  A little more polished than cotton but, still cool and relaxed.
  • "Sand" silk pleated shorts - McCall's 6403 - I often struggle with the idea of shorts because, in the climate here, they're basically necessary but, I often feel under-dressed wearing them.  I'm hoping a nice silk noil fabric will change that.
  • "Placid Blue" wool crepe dress with pleated cap sleeves and v-neckline - Self-drafted sleeve/McCall's 2401/Vogue 1174 - Since wool crepe doesn't badly wrinkle, I expect it's a fabric that will transition well across activities.  I went with a pleated skirt to allow freedom of movement.

Capsule #2: one top, one bottom, one dress - Weekends

  • "Hemlock" silk noil 3/4-sleeve dress with box-pleated skirt - McCall's 2401/McCall's 5971 - Silk noil is supposed to travel well also so, I hoping it will make this versatile too.  It's also supposed to sew more easily than most silks so, it'll be a way for me to experiment with this fiber before moving on to the scary stuff.
  • Navy silk pintucked blouse - Vintage Simplicity 2224 - A simple, loose blouse in a lightweight fabric and classic color.  This would probably be weekend wear only since it will be a bit more delicate but, it's something I've reached for before only to find I don't own it.
  • "Pool Green" wool half-circle skirt - Self-drafted - Another flowy item in a polished fabric.  I wore a RTW half-circle skirt practically weekly last summer so, it's high time I starting making my own.

Capsule #3: one top, one bottom, one outer-layer - Polished

  • "Paloma" grey silk georgette puff-sleeve popover - McCall's 6702 - I expect this will be a go-to item when the challis version just isn't polished enough (read: evenings and events).  I'm nervous about sewing georgette but, I think I need a few challenges this year.
  • "Dazzling Blue" wool pencil skirt - Simplicity 2154 - I love pencil skirts.  I've avoided making them because of that tricky vent/lining situation but, I've done it before so, it's time to get over it.  And, I'm obsessed with cobalt this year so, this fabric yelled at me until I agreed to take it home.
  • Navy boucle cardigan jacket - Vogue 8804 - This will likely be the biggest challenge of the whole collection.  Luckily though, I already have the pattern with Claire's detailed instructions and I received "Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket" for Christmas so, I think I can get through it.


  • Blue Japanese double-gauze dot print popover - Grainline Archer - I bought this fabric last year specifically for this but, I didn't buy the pattern until November.  This is the most casual item on this list but, it will be a nice contrast and it's definitely one of those things I keep wishing was in my closet.
  • "Dazzling Blue" silk crepe de chine pullover dress - I just bought the prettiest cobalt crepe de chine at a local fabric warehouse but, I'm not sure what to do with it.  This item is the most likely to change but, I do know I want something somewhat casual out of it so, I can wear it to more than the ballet!
  • or "Placid Blue" and "Hemlock" cotton Amy Butler print cap-sleeve dress - Simplicity 2444 (I know, this goes against what I said at the top but, the colors match too perfectly so, I may cave.)
Phew! That's more garments than I made all year in 2013! I've made myself mini-deadlines for each item though, that I can make or break as needed, and I'm sure to pleased with anything I do finish.  With any luck, I'm on my way to a proper handmade wardrobe that I can be proud of and will actually wear.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?  Will you be participating in SWAP?

Happy sewing! x


  1. Lovely plan!!! I haven't been able to commit to one for me but I have my daughters mostly figured out.

  2. It really seems like everyone is reevaluating sewing plans and looking towards practicality--there must be something in the water (or the wifi?)

  3. It does! Definitely something in the wifi :) It's good though because I think many of us sew frosting because everyone else sews frosting (Ooo, pretty... I want that too). So, if we all sew more cake this year, we'll keep each inspired to sew cake. It makes sense in my head at least :P

  4. Thanks, Shawnta! I'm sure yours will fall into place. I can't imagine having to plan, let alone sew, for multiple females so, I'd say you're off to an impressive start :)

  5. Ooh, I like these plans! You are so detailed with the fabric and patterns already picked out. Have you purchased everything, or do you plan to do that one at a time as you are working on the garments?

    I've never heard of SWAP before, but if I do get back into sewing this year, it will be something that I should look into. As a nearly SAHM, my wardrobe needs are so much different from when I was working in the corporate world. Now dresses, pencil skirts, and pull-over blouses never get worn. I need to make comfy clothing that I can nurse in :)

  6. Thanks, Annabelle! I've actually managed to purchase something for every garment, save for the blue dress in the first "capsule". (I'm shocked I had such good luck!) So really, I should be done buying fabric until April but, we shall see ;) At least these are all garments I definitely want in my wardrobe so, even if I don't finish on time, the fabric won't be wasted.

    The group who runs SWAP also runs mini-wardrobe contests later in the year, I think, so maybe you could jump into one of those. Or there's always next year :) Comfy knits would be great for getting back into sewing and probably a nice change from corporate wear (I didn't much care for pencil skirts and such when I had to wear them.for work).

    And, congratulations again!!!

  7. Such beatiful renderings! You just have to make the raglan sleeve royal blue dress on the bottom. I think Burdastyle may have a raglan sleeve dress patten.So happy I popped over and discovered your blog!


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