I don’t know why I didn’t make a plan (the clue is in the name “sewing with a PLAN”). I planned all the outfits, the colours and the fabrics. I created a wonderful, imaginary wardrobe for my son Gus. I even suggested that when finished he might like to pack the entire collection in a suitcase and see how it works for a weeks holiday. I was dreaming!
It was only when Stephanie admitted that she may have bitten off more than she can chew with her stunning “love affair with Canada” collection that it actually dawned on me, that I have exactly the same problem. I have created a complex and exacting collection with two tailored jackets, a silk bomber jacket, two dress shirts, three pairs of tailored pants and two shirts. And I have just 11 weeks left. That is 8 garments in 11 weeks. What am I like? I have done SWAP before and I know you need to focus on getting the work done, but for some reason I am behaving as if I have all the time in the world.
Of course if I was in a part time job I might be able to do it, but I am more than full time with lots of evening events. And my weekends have changed from being largely at home, in the basement, sewing like a mole, to spending much more time in the country. When I am there I don’t really have the equipment and space sorted yet to do any serious sewing. I have been knitting and reading too – and enjoying that very much.
It’s not just the job. My poor old Mum had a horrible accident a week ago. She is still in hospital, and hopefully on the mend. Of course we had to drop everything and go up there and this has taken time (she lives a long way away). And as well as working evenings I do an evening class (jewellery) and one night staying at my daughters to baby sit most weeks, so I haven’t got much capacity.
So – will I do the SWAP this year? I have created a plan! If I work hard my SWAP is still achievable. I get two weeks for the jackets but everything else has to be made in a week. I haven’t toiled the shirts yet. And I haven’t toiled the jeans. Toiling is probably out at this stage as I have no leave available and doing a garment in a week requires a tested pattern, or a more simple approach.
So what are my options?
- Try really hard to achieve it all, dedicating most of my time outside work and family to the task
- Simplify the plan. I could substitute a fourth pair of trousers for the jeans. This would save testing a new pattern and if I made them in navy they would work with the wardrobe. I don’t suppose Gus would mind at all, although I am interested in the traditional jeans design and was keen to try a button fly. Simplification would almost certainly mean dropping the two shirts and making T shirts or sweat shirts instead. These could be designed and made to work with the outfits. Also there is the option for one shop-bought item.
- Forget SWAP and just sew the wardrobe more slowly.
I don’t actually know what I will do at the moment.
I got up early on Tuesday (at 3am – I am an early riser, but this is insomnia!) pressed and evened up my grey herringbone, and laid out the pattern pieces. I was determined at this point to do option 1 – to do my best to complete the SWAP.
It didn’t take long to realise I had a problem. Insufficient fabric for the pattern. I admit I buy what I think I might need (I bought 2m of this fabric to make myself a simple, collarless coat), and I am invariably stingy. When I make for myself I find a way to squeeze most patterns into the cloth. I think I might be able to do something here with the pockets, and there are solutions to too little cloth, but I can’t face it. If I am to proceed I need to buy some new fabric. Sadly, without even looking, I am pretty sure I will have the same issue with the beige linen-silk too.
I have a supplier (Simply Fabrics, Brixton) that will definitely have some great quality wools that I could substitute. The colours though are what they have in (they buy up lots of ends of rolls from quality companies). I may find light grey and beige, but probably not. I would then be in a situation of having to find fabric from more expensive, traditional retailers which is more time consuming and costly.
I feel thwarted by my own lack of foresight. I could have been toiling during the planning period. I could have checked quantities of cloth at any time. Thinking through the calendar wasn’t that hard – it just needed doing.
I am now two pieces of cloth short of a SWAP without an obvious opportunity to go shopping. I will listen to your advice. I am still pretty keen on Option 1 but I need to be realistic. I like a deadline and find that without one my time drifts and I do other things. I am knitting myself two jumpers, and a pair of trousers. I have some great novels downloaded, thanks to your marvellous suggestions.
Last week I shortened the green sweater. My sewing brain told me I could cut off the bottom of the jumper and knit a new ribbed section. I wanted to do this anyway as my original rib was too short. I had misunderstood the instructions as being seven rows of rib when it meant 14 rows. So cutting the bottom off and reknitting allowed me to create a nice deep rib that works better with the turtle neck and the ribs on the sleeves. It turned out to be a very straightforward and satisfying project. So that’s gone well.