Do you have a Fantasy SWAP collection?

posted in: Designing, Organisation, SWAP | 22

Have you come across Fantasy Football? As I understand it you create your ideal football team. I am not sure if you “buy” players, or chart your progress by how your team members score in actual games. But I believe it provides hours of fun for football fans (I will have to ask some of my male work colleagues to explain it to me as my husband has no idea).

Do sewists ever make plans that we will never carry out, but have a kind of ideal quality?  I read an interesting post from Dr Elizabeth this week, where she covers the Fantasy 6PAC. She writes

One thing I like to do when I get a pattern magazine is to try to construct a 6 piece wardrobe from the patterns in the magazine and my fabric stash.  I mean, mostly in my head, because my sewing time is limited.  I find that limiting my patterns leads to a more creative mindset for me.  I am someone who can get stuck in a rut, and also someone who can be paralyzed looking for the “perfect” pattern or the “perfect” fabric…My rule of thumb is: two bottoms, two tops, two layers all working together.

I found this interesting. Since being introduced to the Sewing With A Plan and the pared down 6 PAC (basically a SWAP with just six items as described by Elizabeth, above) process (of putting a coordinated wardrobe or collection together), I have started to think about what to make next in a more structured way. This year I had three possible SWAPs which I had imagined on numerous tube journeys. The neutrals collection; the inspired by Vivienne Westwood and the Sweetpea collection (which I am executing). Like Elizabeth I have limited time to actually make things up – but my mind still works out what it would be great to sew if time were not so short.

So I have another SWAP notion. Obviously I am in the middle of SWAP 2016 and won’t be really planning the next one until Christmas. There is no reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t make this set of 11 items up between May and December, or any other time of my choosing. But, like that neutrals collections, I am unlikely to actually make this collection. But I wanted to get it down as I think it is an interesting idea.

My new collection a capsule collection – featuring all the items that magazines and blogs say are “indispensable” “classics” “suit everyone” items. This, of course, is far from the truth. We all have different body shapes and colouring and we don’t all suit a “Little Black Dress” or “A white shirt” for example.  My idea is to stick to classic shapes and colours, but branch out a little with the shapes. Firstly I have listed 11 items that usually make up the capsule wardrobe (in cooler climates).

The classic, capsule wardrobe collection

  1. Tailored jacket
  2. Tailored trousers
  3. Tailored shirt
  4. Jeans
  5. Leather jacket
  6. T shirt
  7. Fitted skirt
  8. Fitted dress
  9. Blouse
  10. Warm coat
  11. Raincoat

Here is my version

Set 1: The first three items are a navy trousers suit with a white shirt. This gives a high authority look and would be suitable for work. I would make the jacket very shaped and the shirt important in its own right with a strong detail – cuff links, a bold collar or maybe a twist or wrapped look. This suit is the sort of thing I would like, with a more fitted jacket, and not in beige.

Stella McCartney trouser suit and shirt
Stella McCartney trouser suit and shirt

Set 2: This is the casual or off duty outfit; denim jeans, a T shirt and a leather jacket. I think I would use indigo denim for the jeans, and make a white T shirt for a really classic look. Maybe flared jeans (I have not finished with that Birkin jeans pattern) or self dyed indigo jeans. The T shirt could be novel in terms of its cut or styling, but I may just opt for a well fitted classic T shirt. I would have fun with the jacket – probably making another peplum jacket but this time using dark green suede. The photograph again has a nice neutral colour scheme – I wouldn’t have the chiffon piece hanging down, but roughly these shapes.

Jeans and leather jacket
Jeans and leather jacket

Set 3; Here I would add a further skirt and top, plus a dress. I would make a straight skirt in bottle green so that it would work perfectly with suede jacket. Also with the white shirt and navy jacket from set 1 it would be a good work outfit. My blouse would be a shell top, designed to go with the skirt – simple in shape but using a patterned fabric to bring the collection together. I would look for fabric that was white, navy, dark green and dark brown – or I would paint some silk to bring these colours together. To bring the fabric to life I may add red, pink or yellow. This blouse would look good with the navy suit, the jeans or the bottle green set. The dress would be a very classic shape but I think I would make it in white. This would look great with the navy and dark green jackets. The dress would function as my LBD. 

Wildcards: Because I am in the UK I would make a couple of coats. One would be warm for cold days – I would love to buy some dark brown shearling to make a really nice loose fit coat. And my raincoat would be trench style, but not in boring beige. I would choose a cheerful colour taken from my silk blouse pattern – yellow, red or shocking pink. In a warmer climate I would put a summer skirt and cardigan here, or a couple of casual summer dresses – one smarter and one a maxi dress.

Shearling coat
Shearling coat


Do you have a fantasy wardrobe or a coordinating set you would like to own (but will probably never sew)? Do you dream up ideal 6PACs like Elizabeth and me, or do you think we are nutty?

22 Responses

  1. BMGM

    Food is central to Chinese culture. I grew up near San Francisco and lived for 20 years in Los Angeles. I noticed in both places that people of Chinese descent spend Mondays not “Monday morning quarterbacking” or playing Fantasy Football, but making Fantasy Menus. They put a great deal of thought into composing the perfect menu and which chef at which restaurant does that dish best.

    There is a walking tour of SF called, “I can’t believe I ate my way through Chinatown.” They promise that “not one calorie will be wasted” and that they will do enough walking to cancel out many of the calories. They walk between restaurants and eat only what the chef at each restaurant does best (and is the quintessential version of that dish.) It’s a pricey tour and I have never taken it. But, it gets rave reviews.

    I watch the 6Pac and SWAP but I’m a civilian. I do look critically at my wardrobe. Orphans either get chucked or I make things to go with them.

  2. Jay

    Not nutty, but more organised than me. The nearest I get to fantasy capsule wardrobe is the idea of making everything in white. This idea dies a death when I remember how I actually spend my time.

  3. Ruth Wilson

    Love this idea! Since being introduced to the idea of Sewing With A Plan, I have been thinking about small capsule wardrobes that mix RTW I already own, with some hand sewn/knitted items. Eg buy a grey trouser suit with extra skirt, make a grey and pink dress, make a coordinating skirt, knit or sew a pink cardigan.

  4. Karen Kayes

    Love all your choices! Also, I think I’m inadvertently doing this pack already, without planning it, since I’ve made the tailored skirt, dress, coat and am on with the suit and shirt right now (and have cut out the jeans.) My fantasy outfits are mostly textured tonal ones. Head to toe olive, or brown, or green with a slim fitting silhouette. In real life I prefer a bit more contrast, and don’t plan beyond one outfit.

  5. Sam

    I love this idea, and I love all your choices as well. I often do this, I’ve never got round to actually making any of my mental plans up, but as I’m trying to be more organised in my sewing choices and make things that go with items I already have, this year could be the year!

  6. Anne Frances

    Yes, daydreaming about such wardrobes is a great temptation. But for me the point where they always fall apart or get stuck is the “warmth” layer. Even when I worked in supposedly centrally-heated offices I always needed lambswool or cashmere under my jacket – or a shirt with a reasonably thick, if as neat and tidy as possible, woolly over – to avoid shivering for five or so months a year. And now I am retired I wear warm woolly cardigans or sweaters over my shirts more often than jackets. How do other people manage I wonder – super effective thermal underwear under their SWAP collection? Or….?

  7. Chris

    All my sewing planning is in the fantasy phase right now! I’ve returned to college and hope that by the end of it I’ll actually be employed and able to buy fabric…!
    I especially love the picture above – top with chiffon drape- I would love that entire outfit exactly as is.

  8. sj kurtz

    My summer job is doing data work for a fantasy football magazine/website! And no, I do not play, but the office lunch time conversation does do fantasy rock bands, fantasy soccer clubs and of course, fantasy designer pattern releases.
    Charles James for coats and dresses, Pucci for lounge wear, and Balenciaga for my day dresses.

  9. Amanda

    I also daydream about fantasy outfits but mine include discovering original vintage Fabric and accessoriesfrom the 1940s and deciding how I am going to let these pieces sing in my wardrobe. Being a woman with a stout figure I vehemently oppose wearing trousers so my capsule collection replaces those with a tailored skirt, casual skirt teamed with a hand knitted cardigan or twinsets. Many women in the 1930s and 40s were used to clothing themselves on a very limited budget and availability of RTW. I admire their creativity with accessories and hair styling to brighten and change their look and aspire to this too. Great blog… me thinking about the vast collection of frocks I have!!

    • fabrickated

      My grandma used to wear hand made tweed or tartan skirts matched beautifully with hand knitted twin sets. She didn’t have many clothes and even fewer shoes but she always looked smart. Warm too as they didn’t have central heating.

  10. Jennifer Miller

    Hmmm, I do have a fantasy wardrobe. It is versatile, pieces work together, it’s casual as I’m retired, and the pieces FIT. Unfortunately, I am having problems getting from fantasy to reality. I love seeing what the SWAP participants and other sewing bloggers are creating, and following along is teaching me a lot about fabrics and patterns, etc. An experienced sewist can make even the most simple garments look polished and exquisite. I think that is my goal right now, to start small and do a proper job!

  11. Sox

    Does anyone read Laurie R King? I would love to have Mary Russell’s wardrobe. I’d love to see pictures of what is described. Of course, Mary is almost six feet tall so no doubt the clothes would look different on her than on me because I would only be ‘close to six feet’ if I were five inches taller.

  12. Lynn

    Oh, what a great idea! That’s the part I like best–choosing fabrics that work together and then finding the patterns that will make the vision of my design come alive. With your inspiration, I’ve just started a secret Pinterest Board specifically for SWAP 2016, which I will probably not be able to complete, but it’s fun to see some of the fabrics together. It’s easy to ‘pin’ when the source is an on-line shop, like emmaonesock or Mood. Requires more effort if it was a ‘live’ purchase. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Juliann Whicker

    I love thinking about this in outfits as you’ve shown above. My fantasies usually involve very involved garments that I may or may not wear at all or all together. I’ve been trying to think what I want to actually wear when I’m in bed. What do I wish I had in my closet that I could put on. What I’m craving is a thick, cozy dark green textured cardigan sweater in trapeze or cocoon shape. I fantasy wear it every day.

  14. Brenda

    I wouldn’t say “nutty”; I’d say “ambitious”!

    I plan seasonal wardrobes and get about 1/2 way through before the season changes enough that I start sewing for the new season.

    • fabrickated

      Hi Brenda! I know what you mean by the seasons. I mainly make stuff for cooler weather as it is rarely hot here. My wardrobe doesn’t change that much – I just leave off the thick tights, chunky sweaters and two jackets!

      I think I meant the idea of creating wardrobes that we won’t actually sew, so the opposite of ambitious.

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