Getting in the MOOD

SWAP time at Artisan Square  and we are debating the 2016 rules/guidelines which are usually published at the end of October.   SWAP is a collection of 11 co-ordinating garments.  Each year the rules differ;  sometimes concentrating on wardrobe planning eg. 3x 3 piece outfit +2  wildcards or where all  tops  must match all  bottoms and jackets.  Participating in Swap is a challenge,  sewers from all over the world  enter,  coming together  at Artisan Square  to inspire, support  and share their journeys with each other.  You become  conscious of your sewing objectives and  hopefully more disciplined to create that perfect wardrobe – and you get to benchmark yourself with all the fellow travellers.

Sewing 11 garments that are co-ordinated is tough….  I always make  a few that refuse to blend in.   The colour/ fabric is not quite right,  it may be to formal/ casual or I just cannot find the right jacket colour to co-ordinte.    In previous years I have worked from the  individual design of the garment,   deciding on the pattern and fabric first,  then trying to fit ‘these’  individual pieces into a SWAP collection.    This year I  am working in reverse:  BIG picture  to  SMALL. The big picture approach forces you to see all of the challenges, colours and styles from the helicopter and hopefully not get caught up in the favourites and in the detail that takes you to the normal dead end.

I need a theme or maybe two….I will use my favourite colours BLUE  and PURPLE. I went through the stash  and cut a bit of  everything that reminded my of WATER.  Loosely grouping the swatches into bottoms,  tops, dresses and jackets and pinned them onto my board.   This is my WATER theme.  I have 3 pieces if cotton/linen that are printed like water and have usable “wrong sides”. The Japanese cotton especially,  is motivating me to create a short boxy jacket/shirt using both sides of the fabric.


I Just couldn’t stop at one….and created – STORM.  I  cut a swatch of my favourite purple fabric to make a jacket and matched it up with charcoal  and cream.  Grey, purple, black with small gaps of sunshine is the perfect STORM.DSC_0106

I am  hanging the board in my sewing room, and  adding ideas to it gradually….  slowly getting into the mood  for SWAP 2016.  The picture of Terrigal where I live, does present a few perfect storms a year and I do love the colours as long as the WATER theme does not get into the house.

How do you approach  planning  a  co-ordinated wardrobe? Is this a better way to plan? Does the helicopter view help or hinder the planning process? Does the theme have to be yours, or can you be creative enough to go with an imposed theme? Regardless, there will be some fun ahead if you like challenges and a new wardrobe….

5 thoughts on “Getting in the MOOD

  1. Ann

    Cheryl, I enjoy seeing what you create. I love this idea of planning your SWAP. Makes me want to run to my closet and pull out fabrics and get started.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip to the US. I wasn’t surprised about your comment on the casualness of American dress in casinos, etc. We’ve gotten very sloppy here in America. People don’t make an effort. I was always stunned when my middle school students would wear pjs/lounge pants to school. It was as if they came in a lazy state-of-mind for the entire day!

    1. Cheryl Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. We had a great holiday in the states, the diversity and beauty of the landscape both natural and man-made is amazing and we found the locals to be very friendly.

      Yes… start auditioning fabric and patterns for SWAP.

      I think the whole world has become more casual in dress…pjs to school? I suppose some just don’t want start the day…

  2. fabrickated

    I like what you are thinking – you have such a strong sense of colour, shape and style. I always like your SWAP collections the best (even the “discordant” notes). I will be following your approach with great interest. Although I have committed to my “sweet pea” collection I find I want to do a set of neutrals (grey and beige); and on the other hand I want to do an inspired by Vivienne Westwood with lots of tartan, stripes and colour. Do you sometimes struggle with too many ideas?

    1. Cheryl Post author

      It is so much fun thinking/dreaming up ideas, but hard work seeing them through. If only discipline and focus was as easy.
      I like your ‘Sweet Pea’ concept, the mid pinks and purple will really suit you and say summer casual. The SP theme is sort of the middle of the grey/beige neutral classic and the Vivienne Westwood dramatic collection. Have you thought of sneaking in a grey classic bottom? or a VW inspired pink/purple (Linton Tweed?) jacket/top. Looking forward to seeing your work.


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