Thinking about SWAP 2016 0.1

posted in: Designing, SWAP | 32

In case you don’t know Sewing with a Plan (SWAP) is an annual sewing challenge put on by Artisans’ Square. Right now members are discussing what they would like the contest to be focused on this year. If you have thought about joining in, now is the time to start thinking about it. It is free to participate, although the site needs donations to keep running, so if you do join in, please contribute too.

The basic idea is to design a small collection for yourself (or perhaps someone you love) during November and December and to make up the outfits over the next four months (January to April). There is voting on the winners at the end, but it is a gentle competition with no prizes.

I have done the challenge for the last two years, and I got so much out of it. I really slowed down and thought hard about what I was making. I made clothes that worked together. I really enjoyed making and wearing them, and still wear my SWAP outfits regularly, and with pride. I was so pleased that two of my blog friends – Stephanie and Karine – joined in last year. I hope this year quite a few more might take part – a few of you have said you might (you know who you are!)

Here is what I am thinking.

My last two SWAP collections were really autumn/winter affairs, even though the contest ends in May and that is when the weather starts to improve.

This year I am going to prepare for summer 2016 with my SWAP. I love sweet peas – these are from my Mother’s garden.

Margaret Barlow, sweet peas
Grandma’s Sweet Peas

The most delightful of all summer flowers with their gorgeous scent and wonderful array of colours makes them my all time favourite flower. The wild version is more robust, colourful and sadly lacking in scent.  Although I am attracted the bright, showiness of the wild version I think I want to include a set of clothes in my wardrobe that are more subtle, lighter. This year I want a more gentle, softer SWAP – a real feeling of English summer time.

My palette will include

  • soft pink
  • bright pink
  • deep purple
  • light purple
  • deep green

I am including the two containers I have used too, as inspiration. The silver pottinger was given as a wedding presen to Nick and I, and the small white paper bag vase I bought for my mother years ago.

These two containers enable me to include

  • silver
  • white

I am going to use lightweight fabrics, some of them translucent

  • cotton lawn
  • silk organza
  • chiffon
  • very lightweight linen
  • crisper cottons
  • embossed metallics or maybe engraved silver buttons
  • crumpled fabric
  • pinked or rick rac edges

After my embroidery experiments I may include sweet peas somewhere. Here is a nice old embroidery pattern generously shared by

Sweet pea pattern

It seems pretty random at the moment. I have no idea where this will take me. I associate sweet peas so much with scent as well as texture and colour.

32 Responses

  1. Maggie

    I think I will focus on warmer weather for my SWAP as well. Last year I was thinking warm and cozy, trying to match it to some of my favorite hand knit accessories, but by the time I was taking photos, I was roasting and no way was I wearing any of those cozy knits!

    I love following along on your blog to see your SWAP process.

    • fabrickated

      I really hope you do it again this year Maggie. You showed such determination and creativity, and I would like to know more about how you use your pattern making software.

  2. Jay

    Just throwing in an embroidery idea brought about by the photo of the sweet peas – I think its called shadow work – where the coloured embroidery lies underneath a semi transparent fabric. A similar thing can be done with appliqué.

  3. Stephanie

    Beautiful!!!! You toss out a very interesting idea. I, too, felt that my collection could be a bit lighter…and I yes, everyone join in!!! Thank you for reminding me to join in on the discussion and to donate.

  4. Demented Fairy

    Thanks for reminding me! I did say I fancied a bash at this, I just never seem to realise it’s started until it’s nearly finished. Doh! Love your inspiration, I’m mad about sweetpeas too: we went to Easton Walled Gardens some years ago, where they specialise and breed gorgeous varieties. We ended up with two towers of deep red, and vibrant blue/purple blooms right outside the living room windows. Amazing scent. Hmmm inspired by scent…how about looking at gorgeous glass scent bottles and incorporating some of the shapes into your designs? You could suggest glass bottle shapes with layers of your translucent fabrics… Anyway, now I have to get busy pondering. Over to my blog later I think!

  5. Jennifer Miller

    Oh, I love a challenge, although I’m certainly not at my peak just yet. HA! This might be one to consider, and might really help to develop my skills….so I shall indeed give it some thought.

    • Stephanie

      I am the furthest thing from an accomplished seamstress and I loved doing it last year. It was a great way to get a better feel for my own style in a sewing context. I encourage you to give it a try if you have the inclination.

  6. Sheree

    That is such a lovely photo of the sweet peas, Kate. It could be a greetings card. Your ideas seem to be coming together nicely.

  7. mrsmole

    OOOO I love sweet peas…my birthday month flower! While I really have no chance to sew for myself, I will be really interested in seeing all you can come up with using those delicate colors! I’m with Jay on the shadow-work idea!!! Love that look with the layering of colors and handwork or machine stitching to enhance it.

  8. Mary Funt

    I will check out the details. Sounds like a fun and useful project. I’m thinking about a travel wardrobe based on knits. I have a new toy (cover hem machine) which will be so useful.

  9. Lynn Mally

    I got to know you and your blog through last year’s SWAP, so of course I am looking forward to your planning for this year. A SWAP is not for me–I just don’t have the discipline. However, I have been inspired by Elizabeth’s seasonal “six packs.” I almost never complete them, but it has changed the way I think about sewing.

  10. Kim Hood

    Elizabeth’s SWAP is a brilliant idea. It really helps to make clothes that work together – it is so easy to end up with a wardrobe full of orphans!
    I love sweet peas so can’t wait to see what you make with them in mind.

  11. Gail

    I’m always committed to the idea of a SWAP, but never the execution. I get distracted by other demands, needs and wants. You’ve good some great ideas, so good luck.

  12. Jacqui

    I love the inspiration ideas, I can’t wait to see what eventuates. I am awaiting some sweet peas to flower on our deck – they are taking an age and growing higher and higher.

  13. Lesley

    Ermagerd Kate, your wild card could be scratch ‘n’ sew?!! That might even be possible, sweet pea scent in abundance! Coveting the silver vase actually, interesting plans. See you soon. x

  14. Amanda

    Oh, I’m glad to hear the timeline is in the new year – maybe I’ll be able to participate! Although you are so far ahead already with your ideas – it sounds like you have a wonderful plan already in progress 🙂 I’m so glad you’re doing update posts on this too, I really enjoyed watching your participation last year 🙂

    • fabrickated

      Well you must be so focused on your wedding at the moment. The sewing can’t start until after Christmas, so hopefully you will participate this year Amanda. I do hope so.

      • Amanda

        yes, exactly 🙂 once that’s out of the way I can go back to “regular” sewing, which I’m really looking forward to! Fall sewing is definitely one of my favourite times of year, and as always, I have way more plans than time to make them happen – haha! ^_^ Since I tend to plan my sewing into small groups of things that work together, I think I should be able to work it into the SWAP formula – I think it’ll be fun! ^_^

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