Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Story of My Spring SWAP

The Spring Swap or Agate Beach 2005

Agate Beach Swap Album

I’d read a few posts on the Sewing World website regarding this swap. I was intrigued but since I participated last summer and didn’t get anywhere near done, I thought I’d save myself some disappointment. Instead, I hopped on over to Pattern Review to participate in the contest to sew up as many unused patterns as possible. I thought what the heck, I’ll make two maybe three things. So of course, it was then time to go fabric shopping. Just before I left DH and I had a lovely argument so when I got to the store, I was revenge shopping. Normally I try to be restrained and I’d seen this lovely Pucci-style print at JoAnn’s that I kept talking myself out of but because I was angry with DH, I bought a ton of it with nothing at all in mind.

I’d been wanting to make the Simplicity 5255 for quite some time but I was super intimidated and it wasn’t in my size. In the spirit of the contest, I decided to give it a try and guess what, it worked! I had so much fabric left over that I needed to make something else so I found McCall’s 4245 and tried that out, once again, it worked. Now I had a really cute outfit that went with my gazillion pairs of brown boots that I bought during a crazy shoe jag. Well I thought, what other pattern should I try? I found an OOP Vogue skirt pattern that I’d wanted to make and I had some really beautiful green wool so I cut it out. I quickly realized that I had nothing to go with my as yet green skirt so another trip to the fabric store with a swatch and I came home with some turquoise cotton interlock. I was really in love with turquoise anyway because Narciso Rodriguez had shown a lot of it for spring. February 10th, I started on the turquoise top (Simplicity 4878) before I started on the skirt and it too came out pretty cute, then I thought well I need a pair of pants in this color, because I’ll only have one other thing to go with it. I tried my KS pattern 3155 and they were for me, the holy grail of knit pants. I fell in love.

O.K. so at this point I’m in my sewing room and it’s an absolute mess, I noticed that the turquoise remnant was piled up on top of the Pucci remnant and they went really well together. Then I started seriously entertaining the notion of joining the SWAP. I already had as many pieces as I ended up with last summer and I had a good print to work with. In the meantime, my doctor told me that I needed to have some surgery to correct a reproductive problem and that afterwards I would be out of commission for 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS!!!!!! I had to find something to keep me busy for six weeks, I’ll go nuts if I don’t have anything to do. I started sewing in earnest with a fury that no one has ever seen from me. I needed to have hand sewing projects, stuff to do while I couldn’t get up. I needed to finish all the stuff I’d started because I wouldn’t be able to stand at my cutting table or walk downstairs or sit at my sewing machine. I decided to join the swap finally before my surgery date of Feb 18th but I didn’t officially do so. I started and finished a whole bunch of stuff and shopped for fabric with my Pucci print swatch and my turquoise swatch. I found some taupe rayon/lycra at Haberman Fabrics for only 8 dollars a yard and so I used that for another pair of KS pants and a KS 2856. I bought beads for some beading that I thought I might do while sitting around and then I had to stop, surgery day. Everything went reasonably well. While I was in the hospital, I had DH bring my beads and embroidery supplies and I worked on that a lot. Thank God for hand sewing. I worked on my storyboard and then when I got home I tried to get online to officially join the SWAP but I couldn’t sit in front of the computer(OUCH!). By the time I joined at the end of February I knew exactly what I was doing. Julie had the perfect fabric for my planned jacket in a pattern that I loved but wasn’t sure that I could master. I ordered the chocolate stretch twill and set about making an orange top (McCall’s 4517 ) from fabric that was in my stash and a bias skirt (Butterick 3971) from more stash fabric. I ended up hating them both. Oh well, I moved on. I went to Hancock and got some brown poly crepe marked down to about $4.50 a yard. I was intrigued by some reviews I’d seen of Vogue 7880 and I had that pattern and wanted to try it. I cut it out with no alterations, actually anticipating that it would be too small but it worked and it was my absolute favorite skirt. I had all my skirts done and actually 2 more than I needed but I still needed 3 additional tops and I wanted one of those to be another twist top.

In the meantime, the chocolate twill arrived and to my horror, I’d read the description wrong and I didn’t buy enough fabric for the jacket that I wanted, I prewashed and it shrank, so now I was really in trouble. I was short and there wasn’t enough time to order more. I asked for suggestions from other sewers on Pattern Review and I got some really helpful tips. I decided to cut out a jacket that I was familiar with and then modify it to get more of the look that I wanted. The jacket was Burda 8435, I cut out a size 14 (3 sizes smaller than me) and then I put darts in the back and curved the side seams in a little. I used store bought binding for the edges and I’m very happy with the result. I went back to Hancock and got more of the brown poly crepe, brown cotton interlock and some stretchy lacey fabric from their new cheap section (only about $4/yd). I made from the brown poly crepe Vogue 7998 which I’d made previously but without enough of an FBA to make it work. This time I re-modified the pattern and it looked fine. I decided to use the brown interlock to try out that new Butterick crazy T-shirt pattern (4835). It calls for a medium stretch but when I was laying out the pattern piece, I thought, "this should probably be a 4-way stretch, oh well the pattern doesn’t mention it". I made it, it takes no time at all and I tried it on and OHMYGOD! I could barely get it on then when I did I just about cut off the circulation in my arm. My husband had to cut me out of it. Into the trash that went. Now onto the stretchy lacey stuff. I was going to make that twist top but then I changed my mind which is a dangerous thing. I thought well I’ll just make Vogue 7998 again and it’ll be cool. There were problems all around. The fabric shifted when I cut it so I had to recut pieces. I got it to a certain point and realized I needed to create a facing so I did. I got to the try on point and was anxious to see how it was going to look, UGH, just awful. It was so unflattering, it was out of the question. Back to Hancock hoping that they had more and luckily they did. I got working on my twist top with a little modification to the neckline which was a little too plunging for me and it worked. All that was left was to fix the problems with that stupid orange top finish my beadwork and sew the applique to the jacket or whatever, I hadn’t yet decided. When I reviewed the pattern for the orange top on Pattern Review, I got some good comments and one was to shorten. I did and it’s world’s better. It doesn’t even look like the same top. I finished the beadwork the night before the deadline and sewed it to the jacket on the day of, WHEW!

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