2018 Sewing with a Plan

posted in: Designing, SWAP | 6

Most of you know all about Sewing with a Plan (SWAP).

I have done this Artisans’ Square challenge four times now, although I only finished twice. I hadn’t planned to compete this year as I have too much on my plate. Sewing of up to 11 garments (or as few as nine) has already started and all work must be complete and photographed by the end of April. If you haven’t done it before I really recommend it as a way to create a very wearable wardrobe and as an interesting challenge.

Here are the rules.


Choose two neutral colors
Add one accent color and two prints OR two accent colors and one print
Make at least three garments from each neutral color
Make at least one garment from each accent color
Make at least one garment from each print
Remaining two garments may be made from any one or combination of your neutrals, accent(s) and/or print(s)
Create multiple outfits of at least two garments that work for your personal style
Each garment must work with a minimum of two outfits

Two knitted or crochet garments are allowed

I have about “Nine and a Half Weeks” until our merger is complete, so I have decided to join in this year, but in a very low-key, uncompetitive way. Instead of a major palaver I have been thinking of sticking exclusively to generally simple “tried and tested” patterns. This means that making up can be a quick and not too challenging affair. Also I am not going to over-plan this. I will make up items from the list as and when I please, and if it works out, it works out. And if I don’t finish, or if I get bored with neutrals, who cares?


I have three options on my neutrals.

Light grey is a consistent favourite and a shade I wear for work. I have been thinking about having a second go at my 1938 Chanel jacket, and the SWAP will be a spur. A simple top and a grey pencil skirt will meet the TNT specification of the brief. In this selection from top to bottom I have a boiled wool coating, linen jacketing, grey silk chiffon, two heavy silk fabrics. All beautiful, and all plain.

SWAP 2018
Beautiful grey fabrics

My second favourite neutral is navy. I have lots of nice navy patterns in my collection. I find navy easy to wear to find it always looks smart. From the top I have a navy jersey which includes greys and browns, a piece of Liberty cotton with brown and blue, a navy print with red and beige, a plain navy cotton with elastane, plain navy mohair coating, nice checked dress weight wool, dark navy with a fancy red and white pattern, ideal for a suit. Again I have some nice cloth here. Only two are plain but there are some nice options.

Sewing with a Plan 2018
Beautiful Navy fabrics

My third neutral is the deepest shade that I feel comfortable in – dark brown. I also managed to pick up some free dark brown leather off cuts from our shoe making class that I fancy turning into a skirt. The top piece, below,  is furnishing fabric which could make a nice skirt, but the pattern is very large (three shades of brown, plus dark grey and white). Second is a lightweight brown fabric – nice for a summer dress or blouse. Then two heavy brown coating fabrics, one with cashmere, the other really for a man’s coat (I bought if for Gus).

Sewing with a Plan 2018
Beautiful brown fabrics

I have sufficient prints in here to meet the brief.

I can also easily find an accent colour – almost any of my favourite colours go with these three neutrals

  • red
  • yellow
  • pale blue
  • emerald
  • turquoise
  • white
  • silver
  • purple
  • pink etc.

Alternatively I could create some painted silk to pull it together.


The possible outfits I have in mind are all things I have made before and like to wear.  Two of these are knitted/crocheted (only two knitted or crochet items are allowed):

This gives seven items, with four more needed – probably all tops – two of which must be made especially. Two can be RTW or made previously.

Rather than planning it all out in great detail again to change my previous approach, I will start to make up these basic items in existing fabrics and see if it is possible to pull it all together within the rules later on. Any other “competitors” out there? I think there is a small prize this year!











6 Responses

  1. The Demented Fairy

    Me! Those fabrics are all LUSH. I’m forcing myself to stay in stash, and harvest fabrics from the wardrobe. It’s going well so far, I’m enjoying the sewing AND wearing the clothes as soon as they’re finished. It’s a nice scheme this year, flexible and fun

  2. jay

    I love you fabrics! I’m not going to SWAP. Not because I don’t need a nice new perfectly co-ordinated wardrobe, rather because my eyes glaze over by the third rule. I tried to plan a SWAP one year, fell at the first fence, but your idea of letting it happen piece by piece sounds more approachable.

  3. Wendy

    Oh, do join in! I miss having you there!

    I am participating again this year, and are using a similar approach to yours. I have a general plan laid out, am using mostly TNT patterns, and am going with the flow. I haven’t finished a single garment either! I’ve got the first two firmly in mind and will just take it from there.

    Will you post on SG, or just here?

  4. sew2pro

    Jay’s response is just what I was going to say: one third of the way down the rules and I’m out! But I’m impressed that you have pulled together such a lovely collection of fabrics. Bon chance!

  5. Ruth

    Good attitude Kate – sew what you like when you like – suit yourself, not an Internet sewing challenge.
    Beautiful fabrics that no matter how you mix them will produce a coherent wardrobe.

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