25 September 2007

Q & A

I want to answer a few questions from my last two posts:
  • Paula writes, "Shannon, your first SWAP group is the absolute BEST! Love it! Now, as for the 2nd and third, they don't quite look 'finished'...good colors, but...? I love seeing your submissions to Julie's Timmel Fabrics site...you are truly inspirational! (do the kids in class get hyped, too?) Does your husband do your photography? Great presentations!
Let me answer the last two questions first. Each year my students seem to find out through the grape vine that I sew. I don't usually broadcast it, but the home ec teacher tells them about me. Then each day when I walk into class, I am greeted with a chorus of "did you sew that, too?". The students are always very interested and full of a million questions.

My husband is my photographer - I love to sew, he loves cameras - it's a match made in heaven. I usually pick the general location for the pictures and he rearranges me until I'm presentable. He is an extremely patient and supportive man - I'm a lucky gal!

As for the comment that the 2nd and 3rd part of the SWAP don't look finished. You are basically correct. The original Australian Stitches formula for wardrobing begins with a well-coordinated 11 piece grouping of garments for the first phase. The second and third phases are meant to augment and complement the first phase, without necessarily matching it. On the old Sewing World discussion board, someone (please forgive me for not remembering who and let me know if it was you) posted a "recipe" for the three SWAP phases. My fall/winter SWAP plans are based on this chart, although I have taken some creative license to create a wardrobe that will suit my needs.


  • Summerset writes, "Lovely! I completely understand about the collar size! So what will you wear with it?"
As soon as I get a few more SWAP pieces done, I'll post pictures showing some of my planned combinations. Stay tuned.


  • Vicki writes, "...can I come and visit your wardrobe? I hope you have a spare room just for all your clothes and shoes....sigh....."
Vicki, you are always welcome in my home and more specifically, in my closet. I don't have a separate room for a closet, but I do have a large double closet in my bedroom. It is approximately 12 feet end to end, so I can cram a bunch of stuff in there. Although, it is getting to the point where I have to shoe-horn in new acquisitions.


  • sewcreate writes, "Where do you fit the time between grading papers?"
I attribute my productivity to three things:
(1) I am able to sew at the drop of a hat because I have a huge stash of everything - fabric, patterns, notions (thread, zippers, trims, beads, buttons, seam tape, bias tape, etc) - so there is no need to run out to the store for supplies.
(2) I am unbelievably anal retentive and an obsessive planner. Before, I begin any new undertaking (like my SWAP plans) , I plan it to the nth degree. That's not to say I don't make changes as I go, but the changes are not normally huge.
(3) I have no children. This is the ultimate reason why I am able to get so much done.


  • eme writes, "...how many of your pattern choices are TNTs and how many are new (rough percentage)..." & "...can you go into your thinking behind each phase (why you chose certain patterns/combos, etc)?
I love the concept of TNT patterns, but in reality, I'm too fickle to stick with just one pattern. I do have a few patterns that I have tweaked to the point that they are TNTs, but not many. I am always looking for the next great challenge and using a bunch of different patterns keeps me fresh and motivated. I always say that I have ADSD (attention deficit sewing disorder) when it comes to patterns - I can't concentrate on any one for a long period of time or I go stir crazy. So, I looked at my chosen patterns for the 3 part SWAP and I have made 2 of the 27 patterns once before and another 3 have been made more than once. The other 22 patterns are brand new to me.

My plans start with a colour combo that I like. I collect together all the coordinating fabrics that fall into this colour range. I decide which fabrics will be used for tops, for bottoms and for the jacket. I usually keep all my bottoms in solid colours. Print are usually reserved for tops - this way the prints don't have to coordinate exactly, as I won't be wearing two blouses at the same time. When choosing patterns, I take into consideration how all the pieces will work together. I try to ensure that all the tops' necklines and lengths will work with the jacket. I also keep in mind the style of the tops when picking bottoms - for instance, I don't want too many blousy tops if most of my bottoms are voluminous as well (I don't want to look like the Michelin Man). I also tend to prefer tops that either have long sleeves or are sleeveless if they are to be worn under a jacket (short sleeves bunch up and drive me nuts). Often, I try to include tops that do double duty, like cardigans that can be worn open over another top or buttoned up on their on (so, obviously the cardi can't have a neckline that is too low and revealing if it is worn on its own). Lastly, I check out the latest trends and see if these can be incorporated to an extent in my plan, although I mainly rely on classic, simple pieces.

4 comments:

Vicki said...

Fun post! I think that since you have no children,you must have a spare room that is calling your name. I recently read an article about a lady who converted a spare room into a wardrobe. Beautiful shelving all around with a a table in the middle. And a gorgeous chair of course for sitting while deciding which shoes to wear!

Summerset said...

Ah, yes, the no children factor. Don't get me wrong here, I love my children to death, but there is a little, teeny, tiny part of me that is a bit jealous of your free time!

beth said...

Yep, with ya both on the "no children factor." My husband and I were child-free until we were well into our forties (by choice), then we catapulted into 3 kids in 2 years. That's where my sewing time and energy went. But a girl can still dream, and cheer others on!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Yes to the "no children factor" too! As someone who is almost on the other side of child-rearing, it is amazing how much time you have to yourself when they become self-sufficient! And its especially gratifying that I am not to old to enjoy my free time!

Shannon ~ if I arrived home from work a little earlier I probably would sew during the week - it is the only thing that hinders my productivity now but the planning and stocking theory, I totally agree with, ascribe to and practice.