Posts Tagged ‘planning’


Getting Serious About 2013

January 12, 2013

Okay, if my week at work was any indication, the holiday season is over and 2013 has officially begun. This means I’m a little late on my annual review and goal setting but you already know about the SWAP Plan so you’re not completely in the dark.

Last year, I made 5 sewing and blogging goals for myself. Let’s see how I did:

1. SWAP 2012. Well I completed most of it and blogged about it at the end of the summer. I didn’t get photos done in time because I got sick so I didn’t actually enter but some of the items I made have become wardrobe standards like the white pants which I wore all summer long with the highest pair of heels I’ve ever owned, and the floral blouse which officially made McCalls 5661 into one of my go to patterns.

2. Trench coat. I finished the trench coat at last!!
Here it is again because I’m excited to have finished it and I plan  to make another coat this year:

3. Complete some other online challenge. Okay, I did this one but I kind of kept it quiet because I didn’t have time to blog it and because I’ve not shared much of my inner non sewing geek on this blog. Last spring, I started following the Star Wars blog and podcast (haven’t really been keeping up with the podcast) Tosche Station. And they had a contest to create a new outfit for the character Mara Jade (links to Wookiepedia) who, despite always being written as having pockets, is always drawn as wearing a skin tight catsuit devoid of pockets.

So I spent time looking at Star Wars images and got out some of my fashion and costuming books. Then I got all Frankenpatternie, bought a wig that doesn’t quite flatter my skin tone, and came up with this:

I think I would like to spend more time figuring out how I think she would have actually dressed. There could be some designing in it.

4. Comment on Sewing blogs. I’ve tried to  be good about commenting but I didn’t become the contributor I intended to be. I’ve found that Blogger isn’t always good about recognizing my WordPress identity so I wind up just commenting under my name. I will have to work on that more.

5. Read Costuming books. I read through a few of them but I have plenty to  go.

So that was 2.5 – 3 out of 5. I’m getting better.

This is what I would like to accomplish in 2013

1. SWAP 2013. I would like to complete this year’s SWAP and then I think it might be time to take a break from this particular contest and explore others.

2. Learn to sew undergarments. I’m one of those people who can never find attractive looking bras in my size, so I’d like to learn how to make my own.

3. Take part in 2 other online challenges/contests. Contests help me learn to sew to a deadline which is something I have difficulty doing.

4.Redecorate my sewing room. The room needs to be decorated and I would like to do that this year.

5.Add more in process photos to my entries. Sometimes I forget to take photos while sewing. I want to remember to do more of this this year.

I didn’t quite make my first goal on my SWAP work plan. I made the two shirts but haven’t done the skirt yet. That is on the agenda for this weekend.

I will have pictures.


SWAP 2013: Third Time’s the Charm

December 26, 2012

I have decided to try the Stitcher’s Guild SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) Contest again. I successfully completed all the pieces by the deadline for SWAP 2010, but for the last two  years, I have come up short time wise. Still, I consistently find I have enough NSOs and fabric in my stash that I can develop a SWAP plan without doing a lot of purchasing.

So, this year the contest is to create two different mini collections with a crossover piece  that works with both of them. I’m going to do one contemporary collection and one vintage inspired collection with a coat that will crossover between  the two of them.

Collection 1: Contemporary Professional
2 bottoms, 3 tops

1.Vogue 1051 – dress pants in brown. Because there are fewer items to sew this year, I will do all of the details this time around. All buttons and welt pockets. I have a habit of leaving the back ones off, but not this time.
2. Vogue 1059 OOP – dress pants in black. I bought this pattern during the last BMV out of print patterns sale. I will do View A because I prefer the zipper in the front.
3. McCalls 6122 – white button down shirt. This is an NSO I’ve had fabric for for a couple of years now. It was part of my SWAP 2012 plan but I ran out of time and made a different shirt instead. This shirt can be worn with either pair of pants
4. A lacy knit top using Simplicity 4023 as a base. I’ve used this simple knit top pattern as a template for several knit shirts. I have some white lace that I plan to use this time. It will work with either pair of pants
5. Butterick 4556 OOP – knit shirt in  grey. I’m planning to do view A with the decorative tie at the neck.

Collection 2: Vintage inspired2 tops, 1 bottom, 1 dress

1. Colette Patterns, Jasmine blouse – I plan to make this blouse out of some red and pink fabric that I designed on Spoonflower so it is an experiment in all respects. It has a tie at the neck so it will connect it a bit with Butterick top from the first collection.
2.White cotton blouse inspired by this Vintage Pattern on Pinterest
3. Burda 8155 – My new favourite pencil skirt pattern. I’ll make this one in black so it can be worn with both tops.
4. I’ve decided to do a Little Black Dress for my dress for this collection. I have never really had one before so I decided that a vintage inspired one would be a good choice. It will be inspired by this vintage pattern. I plan to work with Simplicity 3673 and then create the cowl back.

Bridging Piece:
We need to create a bridging piece for this SWAP. I plan to do a Spring coat. I bought fabric awhile ago to make a knee length coat. The fabric is floral printed so the coat will supplement my trench coat but not replace it. I plan to design it myself rather than use a pattern. It will have a high neck, flare at the waist and have slit pockets in the front.

Work Plan.

In order to stay on top of this SWAP, I need to give myself some deadlines along the way so I can tell if I’m falling behind. April tends to be busy at work so I need to get as much done as possible before then. Here are my targets:

By the end of December I would like to have completed the two knit tops from Collection 1 and the Burda pencil skirt from Collection 2

January is pants month. I need to get the two pairs of pants done in this month and I would like to get the Jasmine blouse done as well.

This month I sew the coat. Since I still have to develop it, I expect this will take all month.

In March I need to get through the button down white shirt, and the vintage inspired cotton blouse

This leaves April for the Little Black Dress and anything else I am behind on.

Let’s see how I do this year.


Another year has flown by.

January 1, 2012

So 2011 was a pretty crazy year for me and I did not get as much sewing done as I wanted to. More and more of my wardrobe is made by me though. I often find that a couple of times a week, I am wearing at least one article of clothing that I have made, and I enjoy that a lot. Sometimes I forget that I made something I’m wearing and I enjoy that even more.

As you can see, I have disappeared over the past few months. That’s pretty much entirely due to the fact that we went out and bought one of these:

and we moved in just over a month ago. So from early October until a few weeks ago, my sewing room looked like some variation on this:

I did have the overly ambitious idea of sewing a dress for Christmas and I got the room cleaned up to start on that but then we were also hosting Christmas so the dress did not get finished. I think it is doomed to languish as a UFO for awhile unless we do something special for Valentine’s Day.

In general, this whole house buying experience – on top of my still crazy job – has meant I had to let most of my sewing goals fall by the wayside.

Here they are as detailed in my New Year’s 2011 post:

1. Get my sewing area organized.  Well I did manage this one, twice actually. I got it pretty well together in the old apartment and I think it now looks pretty good in the house:

I would say this one is ACCOMPLISHED!

2. Finish the Tops SWAP – ideally on time I came so close with this one but I did not finish it. I definitely wasn’t done on time but I did get a whole lot of items sewn that would qualify as part of it. My plan was to do 6 tops, 2 dresses, 2 bottoms and a wildcard.

I completed 4 tops with the requisite “new skill” requirement that weren’t complete wadders:
McCalls 5662 – I called it a  wadder but I’ve been wearing it so it’s not too bad
McCalls 5661 – I really like this pattern and plan to us it again
Butterick 4395 OOP
Rachel Comey Blouse (Vogue 1170)  – I think this was one of my favourite accomplishments this year.

I managed 2 bottoms.  I have blogged one: McCalls 5429. The other, I wasn’t completely satisfied with but I have been wearing the pants anyway. It’s another version of Vogue 1051, everyone’s favourite Alice and Olivia pants

I also managed two dresses with invisible zippers and hard to fit bodices. I’m not so thrilled with the fit of either:
Vogue 8701
Vogue 1223

 I could have  considered myself finished it this year if I had completed the wildcard blazer. Oh well, better luck next year.

3. Make 3 items for my husband. Also did not happen. I did make him a tie that I still need to blog about. As for the rest. I went out to the Bay and bought him som shirts. It goes back on the list for next year – or maybe the year after.

4.Finish the Trench Sew Along. Ha! No. I got the sleeves on and the shoulder pads in place, but the rest of it is not there yet. I think I will look at it again in March when the weather around here is more trench coat conducive.

5.Take a sewing course/workshop. No, I wanted to but time would not allow. Goes back on the list.

6.Make Hallowe’en costumes. We were so busy packing that we completely ignored Hallowe’en this year. But now we’re in a neighbourhood full of kids so Hallowe’en is back on the agenda.

Hmm…1 out of 6 is pretty horrible.

Let’s see what I can manage in 2012.

Since we just bought a house I am going to try not to spend too much money on fabric for awhile so stash busting is definitely part of the plan. My stash isn’t huge but it does exist and I would like to work my way through some of it.

1. SWAP 2012. I pretty much figured I wouldn’t be able to do it this year since I couldn’t manage it last year but then I read the rules and realized that I wouldn’t have to deviate much from the projects already on my list, so I am going to participate. I will describe my plan soon

2. Trench coat. It’s time to get this trench done before they are completely out of style. I want to finish it in March so I can wear it in April.

3. Complete some other online challenge. It could be something else on Stitchers Guild or elsewhere.

4. Comment on Sewing blogs. I follow plenty of sewing and fashion blogs and I am a total lurker. I need to delurk myself this year.

5. Read Costuming books. Last year a volunteer at my workplace passed away and left me all his costuming and fashion history books. I need to read them. I will try to blog about them

There are other things I would like to do but these are the 5 goals I will focus on accomplishing.

Happy New Year!


2011 Here I Come

January 1, 2011

My Christmas trip  isn’t over yet. We fly home tomorrow, so I can’t say I wound up the year with any major sewing projects.

Here is how I did with regards to my 2010 goals

1. Post in this blog at least 4 times a month (once a week would be ideal)  I didn’t always manage 4 posts a month but since I posted so much in May and June, I did manage an average of 4 posts a month so I didn’t do too badly with this one. One thing I do need to get better at is blogging more of what I sew. There are a few things I’ve made that never made it onto the blog including another version of McCalls 4444 that I hope to get pictures of when we go south in a week. I also made Vogue 1117  for my mother so she could have something new for the Christmas dance she went to. I even finished the Rachel Comey blouse I talked about incessantly but I didn’t really like the way it fit in the end. I should have picked a fabric with a different drape. The silk I chose was too boxy.

Here it is:

It’s definitely one I want to try again with a less structural fabric.

2. Complete the Timmel SWAP – I want to make the deadline but I also just want to complete it  I’m really proud of myself for getting the SWAP done on time. I am going to do it again this year. I’m calling my plan the Tops SWAP because it’s pretty much all about bodice work and making items fit my D cup chest as though they were designed for it.

3. Take another sewing or fashion class/workshop I took a serger workshop at The Sewing Studio here in Toronto. I really enjoyed it and Iwas excited to learn that they’re opening a branch in New York. Another reason to finally make it to New York someday.

4. Fix that coat and create 3 items for my husband Yeah, this just didn’t happen. If I really wanted to push it, I could count the vest I made for his Hallowe’en costume as an item but I don’t think it really counts.  This goes back on the list for 2011.

5.  Wear only clothes I have created for a week (excluding foundation garments) – this will get me building my handmade wardrobe Sadly, this didn’t happen either. I need more tops, hence the Tops SWAP

6. Finish the crosstitch – it’s not exactly sewing but it is stitches and I’ve had it FOREVER. If I finish it, I will be so excited. I have declared a truce with this crosstitch. I picked it up over the summer and realized that not only did I not like the poem I’m supposed to embroider on it eventually, I had also lost the counted pattern and had no idea what the end product was really supposed to look like. I am going to put this away for now and stop worrying about it.

So, the main lesson of the last year seems to be that I either need to sew less or make sewing more of a priority so that I can be better and more efficient at it.

Personally, I prefer the second approach so I’m going to try to do that.

Here are my 2011 sewing goals

  1. Get my sewing area organized.  Now that we know we’re staying where we are for awhile, I can work at making the space work better for all of the functions it needs to serve: sewing room, office area, guest room, kitty litter space.

  3. Finish the Tops SWAP – ideally on time. I’m a combination of excited and scared for this SWAP. I generally avoid sewing tops because they take so much more time as I need to work harder to fit them. This is the year.
  4. Make 3 items for my husband. I really want this to happen. I may need to expand my skill set to make things he likes though.
  5. Finish the Trench Sew Along. It’s all cut out but it needs to be put together.
  6. Take a sewing course/workshop. I love learning more about garment construction and fashion. Sometimes I wish I’d studied it in school instead of what I did study.
  7. Make Hallowe’en costumes. We’ll either try to improve the Steampunk or try something else but I really want to do costumes again this year.

That’s the plan for this year. Let’s see how it goes.

All the best to you and your new year!


SWAP 2010 is planned – well mostly

November 24, 2010

I have decided to participate in  the SWAP (sewing with a plan) contest over at Stitchers’ Guild again this year. Last year was my first year and I learned a lot.  It also really helped build my work wardrobe which still needs some more additions so this SWAP will be about building my professional wardrobe as well.

I would also consider calling it the Tops SWAP because in it I will tackle blouses and shirts and other items that require fitting around the bust.

As I am far from a FBA expert, pretty much every time I make a shirt, I feel like I’m in unknown territory. This SWAP is all about trying new techniques and developing new skills but FBAs are not considered to be a technique per se so I’m ensuring that my plan allows me to try other new things.

Last year I did option one (6 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 wild card). This year I’ve decided to do option two,

6 tops
2 dresses
2 bottoms
1 wildcard.

6 Tops
Butterick 5354  (view A)- sewing stretch fabrics with a serger, pleats
Butterick 5185 (view C) – sewing stretch fabrics with a serger
McCalls 5661 view B – buttonholes, set in sleeves
McCalls 5661 view D – buttonholes
McCalls 5662 (view E) – sewing stretch fabrics with a serger
McCalls 6122 (view C) – set in sleeves, collar, buttonholes

2 Bottoms
Vogue 1051 – welt pockets
McCalls 5429 (view B) – flat felled seams, sewing denim

2 Dresses
Vogue 1107 – pleats, buttonholes
Vogue 8701 – invisible zipper

1 wildcard
Vogue 8701 – tailored jacket (I’ve only done one before and it was a poorly fitting disaster

I have some of the fabric in my stash but I will still need to buy some. Other than the tailored jacket, my plan is to avoid black fabrics and focus on brighter colours instead. Since the fabric I havs so far is predominantly blue, I have some work to do

I’m also going to be away from my sewing machine for most of the first few weeks of the SWAP so there could be a lot of catch up to do right from the beginning but I’m looking forward to all the clothes I’ll have by the end.


Another grand plan

June 27, 2010

As if the world didn’t have proof enough that the best thing I do is bite off more than I can chew, I have signed on to the Trench Coat Sew Along.

I need a coat. I’ve never made one before, so I figured it was time I gave it a try. I’ve bought some grey-taupe fabric and I plan to use Vogue 8346 as a basic pattern.

It may be a bit before I get to actually constructing the coat. I still need to find some lining fabric… and sew through the large pile of fabric on the futon in the sewing room.


No sew week

June 4, 2010

So, I have not fired up my little Singer Genie all week. I bought fabric last Saturday. I bought fabric AND patterns last night, but I have yet to have the chance to sit down and get to it.

Hopefully next week will leave me with more sewing opportunities… because these are the patterns I bought.

I can’t wait to get started on some summery clothes at last.


Sewing for summer

May 26, 2010

Well since my SWAP (reviews will continue) was so winter focussed, this week’s massive heatwave has left me with the realization that I now have a shortage of summer work clothes so I need to step up my summer sewing. I was going to spend the week finishing up the dress I had hoped to wear to last weekend’s wedding, Butterick 5176, but I think that summer pants and shirts are likely more important right now as my job often involes hauling boxes of books to and fro so skirts and dresses aren’t always that practical.

So the next bits of sewing on my list are to make a pair of pants out of the green suiting fabric from my not so exciting sale and then to make

The Rachel Comey blouse from V1170.

Unfortunately family life is intruding at the moment so my sewing may slow for a bit. I hope not though. I don’t want to be going to work naked any time soon.

I will keep you posted as to my progress.


The not so exciting sale

May 14, 2010

While I’ve bought a lot of my fabric on my travels and quick  jaunts into the fashion district in the last couple of cities I’ve lived in, I still make fairly regular trips to my local chain fabric store particularly for my patterns, thread and notions. They were having a major sale recently and I went down eagerly with dreams of all sorts of fabulous new pieces to add to my stash and imagine all sorts of futures for.

I came home with some sale notions and one measly piece of fabric. Nothing else spoke to me. I find a major problem I have when I go fabric shopping is that I find the texture I need but not the colour, or the colour I need is in the wrong fabric. This time I found a horribly scratchy polyester in the colour I wanted and some lovely cotton twill in every colour but. Have any of you had this experience?

Ah well, the green suiting will become summer pants to go with the Vogue 1170 blouse I’m planning to make.

But first, a sneak peak at the costume I’m finishing this weekend. This is the stitchless part of it

… intrigued at all?


Always check the rules…

April 23, 2010

…particularly before you hyperventilate about everything that needs to get accomplished in a short period of time.

I doublechecked the SWAP rules and realized that it does, indeed, say I can include something previously sewn and I made a shirt just before the SWAP was announced that fits with my wardrobe and theme.

So it goes in and the blouse I was concerned about for its puffy sleeves, comes out.  I don’t know how well it would be suited to my office anyway. It’s rather cold in there for blouses much of the time.

Decision made.