Thank you for all giving me your advice on the MANSWAP – where I try to create an 11 piece wardrobe for my son in four months (now two).
I have four out of 11 garments done. If I was pacing myself that should be five and a half by now.
This week I almost completed item four – the Vogue 8988 jacket. I am pretty pleased with it. Gus too. He says he will wear it, which is very pleasing. I have learnt a great deal from this project about fitting and construction. My tailored pockets are passable and improving.
I used some good quality shoulder pads and sleeve roll to make the shoulders look really nice. I lined the sleeves with a decent, firm acetate lining and overall I think the fit is good, especially given the long hard road to get there.
With just two months to go seven garments is almost one a week. The blue jacket took me at least three weeks just to sew. A second one would be quicker – maybe one and a half weeks if all the planets were aligned. If I had a few spare days leave I could take off time to do this project.
I could include a RTW item (say a shirt) and make a quick T-shirt. So while I think finishing on time would still be technically feasible it would involve too many sacrifices and compromises. I would have the satisfaction of getting the boy’s wardrobe done. And I know I would be really proud of it. I really like what I have made so far, and I am learning a great deal that will help the remaining garments go more quickly. But I think on balance I am going to call it a day in terms of SWAP. I did, briefly, play with the idea of submitting what I have been making for myself, plus a few other items I can knock off fairly fast. But no. I have nothing to prove and I am in this for fun, and for learning. Competition (except against myself) is irrelevant.
So that is the end of the SWAP time-table for me. I think I will make up more clothes for Gus, and I will write them up as I do them, but I want to knit, and read, and make myself a few items. So right now the pressure of a time-table makes little sense.
Over time I will be contributing to Gus’s wardrobe, and Gus (who is helpful, engaging, patient and kind) will be helping me to develop my skills. I really appreciate his willingness to be featured on these pages and you will hear from him again.
By Christmas I plan a more modest wardrobe for my son, as follows.
- A second, tailored jacket (However Gus finds the style of the navy jacket “old-fashioned” which I guess it is – maybe classic).
- A painted silk bomber jacket (Gus and I are both looking forward to this project)
- Blue trousers (Brenda’s kind donation)
- Tailored summer shorts (Gus actually “needs” these)
- Jeans (I am keen on the learning involved in this project).
The two tailored shirts are “nice to have” but I think I might prefer to just buy them. These cost about £25 from Uniqlo and I know home-made will not be superior. So until I get the shirt-urge maybe I can let myself off for now. However a perfect white shirt is something I do want to make at some point as I think in many ways it is the garment that sorts out the really good constructors from the also rans (that would be me).
I don’t feel upset or worried about “giving up”. In fact I would say Gus and I are both relieved.
However I am a little bit disappointed. You see I love SWAP precisely because it is so challenging. Although beginners will find they can use it to organise their sewing it really appeals to what might be called “advanced” seamstresses. People who make their own patterns, fabric and plans. People who enjoy the more challenging “plus difficile” patterns, vintage designers or things like corsets. People who find the whole idea of an 11 piece “me-made” capsule wardrobe a fabulous idea – a little bit like being a proper designer. People who think about it for up to a year before they can get started. It seems to me (apart from one year one outfit which is also appealing for more advanced sewists) we need challenges to stretch and test us rather than just “here is something I ran up in a few hours” (which has its place too). So I am disappointed not to be continuing, but also a bit relieved because I can now do a few other things that I enjoy.
Over the next year – as I make a few more things for Gus, and myself, I shall be silently thinking about SWAP 2018 – to create a plan that is challenging and achievable, and within the rules.