Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Big Easy

Or, Fall SWAP 2016, Stage 1

I am a planner by nature and LOVE a capsule-style wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe work so easily for travel.  I travel a lot for both work and pleasure, and have realized that, at least for me for the majority of my trips, carry-on baggage is the best way to go.  I spend hours browsing, pinning (on Pinterest, that is), planning and coordinating fabrics and patterns for a wardrobe that will work together and make dressing in the morning relatively painless.  SWAP'ing (Sewing With A Plan) is a great way to do this, and the premise of it was made extremely popular by a series of articles by Lynn Cook in Australian Stitches magazine, and contests hosted by the now closed Timmel Fabrics a number of years ago.

I've gone away from SWAP'ping recently - with a focus on sewing whatever the mojo wants.  There are many reasons why this has happened, but I've ended up with quite a few orphan items in my closet, and have decided for Fall 2016 to get back to a focus.

My colour scheme for Fall 2016 is beige and black.  Which sounds ABSOLUTELY yawn-inducing-ly boring.  But, when you add in the planned pops of mustard yellow, teal, burgundy and rust orange it suddenly becomes much more exciting.  I've named it The Big Easy, because my goal is to have it done for my work trip to New Orleans for a conference at the end of September.  I have also chosen EASY patterns - this is key!

According to Lynn Cook, Stage one of the SWAP consists of the following 11 garments. 
  • 1 simple cardigan jacket in a solid colour
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 skirts, one in a solid colour, one in a print or check
  • 2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print
  • 4 tops, in colours which coordinate with the solids

Because I'm me, I'm venturing a bit outside of these guidelines.  They're guidelines, not written in stone.  

My jacket is not going to be out of a solid colour, but a very small check in a beige and black wool crepe
suiting.  I'm thinking of the Bolero Jacket, Multiples pattern with the three button front.


I already have two pairs of pants sewn from my travels this spring:

  • one a slim cut pair in black tropical  wool, 
  • the other a wide flow-y pair in beige wool crepe 

I have one skirt already that will fit into this plan, a black microfibre knit skirt that comes to just 
about the knee

  • I'm planning on a pencil skirt (my own draft) in the black/beige check to match the jacket.
My two simple tops will be Loes Hinse Tuscan Blouses:

  • the first a short-sleeve in a deep beige/rust colour
  • the second is with long sleeves and out of a black drapey textured polyester, not the suggested print.

LH Tuscan Blouse

The four tops will be where I bring the colour in.  The patterns I'm planning on for these are the Loes Hinse 
Tank Dress pattern, view D and the Loes Hinse Cap Sleeve Dress pattern, view C. I'm planning on:
  • one in a blood red/burgundy colour sweater knit 
  • one in a mustard yellow textured knit
  • one in a teal knit, and 
  • the last is an existing one in a microfibre black knit that is the same as one of the skirts in this plan.  

LH Cap Sleeve Dress

LH Tank Dress

Of course, I have a few extras that would be really nice to finish before my trip as well.  I love the ease and simplicity
of Dresses.  I'm hoping to add the Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress in a red & black textured knit, as well as a
Loes Hinse New York Dress, View A in a mustard yellow wool double knit to my wardrobe.  

LH New York Dress
Again, these are TNT patterns and simple and super quick to sew, but make a big impact.  

The last nice-to-have garment is a cardigan out of a sweater knit - probably in burgundy 
(depending on what I can find in my stash).

There you have it.  Stage 1, The Big Easy.  Now all I have to do is actually sew it.

Do you plan your sewing?  What do you do - do you have a method or a way you've found works for you?


  1. I like your Big Easy wardrobe plan. Just keep in mind that my beloved New Orleans will still be hot and humid that time of year. Karen

    1. Hi Karen, thank you for the reminder! I've been a few times in the past to NOLA at the same of year for this conference - I recall that the air conditioning is freezing in the conference centre and other buildings! I try to dress in layers, so that I can adjust to the varying temperatures!

  2. I agree with Sewingkm about the weather. Bring something to wear when you are away from the buildings that will help you stay cool. If you have a chance, visit Promenade Fine Fabrics. It's on St. Charles Avenue , not too far from downtown. You can get there by streetcar if you don't have transportation. The father and son owners are charming and the fabric is beautiful. Most important: get out andd enjoy the food!