SWAP 2015

posted in: Finished projects, SWAP | 26

On 26 April we watched the London Marathon. Notting Hill had 20 runners in the race and it was a very exciting spectacle. Many of the competitors had been training for months to ensure they could do the race without expiring. Having now spent six months planning and sewing my collection I feel I have been involved in a marathon of my own. I decided to enter the 2015 Stitchers Guild Sewing with a Plan in November 2014, and I have just finished and photographed my collection.



I am proud of my achievement.

  • I have made 11 wearable garments in that time
  • Seven garments have come from one vintage couture pattern – most of them getting a modern or personal twist. This cost £21 from eBay
  • Two were self drafted patterns – a curvy pencil skirt and a kimono sleeved jacket
  • The other two patterns were 99p each – fairly ordinary 1960s patterns
  • None of the fabrics cost more than £10m, except the white silk for the silk dress which was about £12m.
  • I customised some of the fabrics – for the white silk dress, and the linings for my Fuchsia suit
  • All the garments are lined, in silk
  • Some of the buttons are recycled vintage buttons but I bought new leather ones for the fuchsia suit
  • I have worn all the garments and I like every single item which I feel is a flattering shape and length for me
  • Every garment works with what I already have in my wardrobe
  • I documented the process on this blog with a post every Saturday
  • There were a few difficult moments
    • I changed my plans considerably in the middle, discarding several already completed items
    • I have had some difficulties with zip and shoulder pad insertion (ahem!)
    • I left the navy dress and white overblouse on a train and thought I had lost them for good (I cried). Thanks to Virgin Trains they were recovered.

I hadn’t realised how much stress I was carrying. Just getting my 11 garment collection to fit, to work, to please me; to use the exercise to push myself; altering items that didn’t quite work; photographing them nicely. I gave up going to the gym quite a few mornings so I could commune with the collection. And now it is all done my husband is glad to get me back and I can do as I please for a while. At the weekend my son Gus kindly took the photographs which I have now uploaded on the site.

Kate Davies SWAP 2015


26 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Well it goes without saying that I LOVE your collection and your lively photos. Bravo, Gus. And brava you, K. I have learned so much from you, which I have said before, but you are a terrific role model. It’s been so exciting to watch your creative process and to see how you triumph with grace. I love all of your pieces, which are classic and bright and fit you perfectly. I can’t even pick a favourite. I especially love your floral dress, the navy suit, and I think the mix of the navy jacket with the fuschia and white is especially striking. Your self-drafted kimono jacket suits you so well. All amazing!

    PS Way to go Notting Hill runners in the London Marathon! How I wish I could have been there to watch the finishers.

  2. Maggie

    This collection is so awesome! Your photos turned out so great. The styles are fabulous on you and the colors really suit you. You really put a somewhat modern spin on the vintage patterns.

    I did manage to finish all of my items, and I spent today working out how to use my phone as a remote to take photos with my new camera. So photo sessions start tomorrow.

    I am sorry to hear you felt so much anxiety around the process, I hope you will continue to share about your sewing projects, because your blog is a source of real inspiration to others (I know for me personally, but also clearly others based on blog comments lately.)

  3. Galina

    Well done Kate! A practical, funky yet elegant wardrobe, with all items working in a multitude of combinations. Thank you for sharing your creative process and your life story as you went along creating this. It was an exciting journey.
    My absolute favourite is the floral dress and I quite like the fact that it’s a involuntary reincarnation of two dresses you’ve had before. It will still make everyone turn their heads as you walk by. Stunning.

  4. Jenny

    Kate – are we able to access the photo gallery to see your photos in full or are they for members only?

    • fabrickated

      Yes I think you can get onto http://www.artisanssquare.com as a guest and look at the gallery there. Stephanie, Cheryl and Ruth have already got their collections up which are wonderful, and I am hoping Karine gets her picutres up soon.

      Let me know if you can see them!

  5. Caroline

    Absolutely amazing and inspiring. What an achievement. And they all look fab on you. Lovely colours and shapes. Which is the shop bought item? Or maybe you didn’t need one in the end? My personal favourite is the skirt blouse and HEAD SCARF! ( If you are invited to Charlotte Elizabeth Diana’s christening you could wear it in homage to the Queen!! )

  6. kate

    Congrats to you..you’ve done incredible things. I’m also a fan of the marathon..and I now have visions of your silk dress costing £12 million!! xxx

  7. Anne

    Just beautiful. ..well done Kate. I’m tantalised by the hidden camisoles….any chance of a ‘not the official SWAP’ gallery?

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Anne.

      I have featured the painted camisoles on this blog (rather extensively – click on SWAP 2015 in Tags for the posts), but publishing the outtakes is a definate possiblity!

  8. Joyce Latham

    Wow…I’m awe struck, it’s a fabulous collection!! Good to see you so happy and relaxed. The photographs are wonderful!
    Excellent! As I keep repeating, you are so inspiring…enjoy your freedom! For now because I know you have a billion more projects ready to be tackled within the near future, and I for one want to tag along for the ride. ?
    Bravo Kate!

  9. Alli

    Congratulations on finishing your SWAP! Your collage looks amazing! I wish we could see all of eighty squajillion combinations that you could make with them, but I guess that would be mean to ask you to take all those pictures, huh? ;D

  10. Amanda

    HUGE congratulations! Your photo collaboration is too awesome, and really illustrates what an amazing outcome you can achieve with careful planning (and a LOT of hard work!) I’m very inspired – definitely want to join in now next year! 🙂

  11. Sew2pro

    A belated congratulations on your new wardrobe. A well done to your son for photographing so well; it’s easy to compare and visualise the combinations when there’s uniformity in angles and lighting.

    How like a marathon this project sounds but at least you didn’t have to supplement your energy levels with sugary gunk (or maybe you did?!).

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