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Sewing a collection
Thinking bigger than a SWAP
rivergum
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rivergum
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Date: 11/9/12 3:06 PM

I want to float this idea to see what others think.

I know swaps are popular, and they are certainly a good idea. I have never consciously made a swap, but the way I sew is something similar, except I do pieces based on the same patterns rather than matching colours and prints.

It goes something like this: at the beginning of the season I try to find a few new patterns I am going to use for my wardrobe, maybe 4-5. They must fit my requirement of being quick and easy to make, simple but stylish and I must absolutely love the look of them on me. I also reuse a couple of favourite patterns from the last season, adapting them to the difference in temperature.

For the coming summer, I have two dress patterns, a pencil and a voluminous maxi skirt, a couple of tunic patterns and I have yet to find the perfect harem pants. This will be the core of my wardrobe, and each pattern will be made lots of times. I might add another couple of different dresses or tunics if i see something i must have and can copy it successfully. A jacket would not hurt either, I have felt the need for a bolero lately in addition to jackets I already have.

Not everything will go with everything else, but mostly it will mix quite nicely because the patterns are the same and the colours are those I love atm.

What I wonder about is that I end up with lots of garments that are essentially the same patterns, maybe with a variation or two, but still much the same, and some are very distinctive. I like to think of it as giving my wardrobe a coherent theme, like a collection rather than a jumble. But am I deluding myself?

To illustrate what I am getting at, imagine choosing a couple of styles for tops, bottoms and dresses, and then getting each in a few different colours and prints. This would make quite a substantial wardrobe, a bit like a swap where every garment is multiplied.

The advantages are obvious. If you reuse a small number of patterns, fitting is easy and the chance of wadders is much reduced. All the silhouettes are already worked out and you know something you make will suit your figure.

There are many very adventurous sewists here who would no doubt find this approach deadly boring. But from the point of view of appearing in public, will it look a bit odd? I think non-sewists are completely oblivious to patterns being reused unless hit over the head with a totally unusual design, but again I may be deluding myself. So what if i am, but I'd still like a second opinion.

Penny for your thoughts?

-- Edited on 11/9/12 3:30 PM --

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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

PattyE
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Date: 11/9/12 4:00 PM

Why worry about what other people think of your wardrobe? Make it how you want from the patterns and fabrics you want to use. You're the one who needs to be happy with your wardrobe.

jannw
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In reply to rivergum <<


Date: 11/9/12 4:55 PM

I think most people will think "red top, blue top, purple top" rather than " There's that same top again, only a different color!"

Your wardrobe is distinctive, but I'll bet few of your acquaintances could identify the patterns since you change out lengths or necklines.

Have fun with the new collection!

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2009-113.25 yds
2010-115.5
2011-80.25+30+donated
2012 86.3 yds..
2013 21.0
Everyone who sews seriously has a stockpile of fabrics, because it is natural to purchase more than can be sewn in any one season" Singer, Timesaving Sewing, 1987

RMJ
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Date: 11/9/12 6:24 PM

I can see the advantages for sewing, but since you only wear one outfit at a time, I don't see why a whole wardrobe would need one style theme. But then the idea of a "jumble" for a wardrobe sounds good to me! Plus I don't care what the public thinks about what I wear.

wenznz
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Date: 11/9/12 7:14 PM

Here is an idea that is based on paring your wardrobe back to 33 items, but you could use the same general idea to build a wardrobe collection.

Another way to go about it might be to build a wardrobe by fours.

Rivergum, I realise this is not your style particularly, but I thought the concept might be helpful

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Wendy
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simplystitches
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Date: 11/9/12 11:32 PM

That is basically what I do. I have a core group of basic patterns that I work from that can cover any needed situation, whether dressy or casual, just by fabric choice. Every season I work on fitting another type of garment to add to the group.

I think where you'd run into problems is if you were only using one pattern for tops unless you change some of the detailing. Sleeve and hem length, neckline finishing and shapes and different fabrics are enough to make one look different from the next. Snoop shop for details that you can incorporate into a TNT.

Debbie

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In reply to rivergum <<
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Date: 11/10/12 0:16 AM

I think it's a brilliant idea. The one major issue that prevents me from sewing as many items as I'd like is the fitting. I find it such a tedious aspect of garment sewing that I tend to procrastinate, then end up with massive gaps in my wardrobe. I really like the idea of limiting myself to a few patterns, then making them over and over. I'm not very creative at incorporating different embellishments, but, hey, I'm happy to learn. And I think that could make a huge difference in this approach to wardrobe sewing.

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Kelley (Brisbane, QLD)
http://simplesewist.blogspot.com.au/

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to rivergum <<


Date: 11/10/12 2:11 AM

Why not use the same patterns to change the designs? Such as making some princess seams where there are darts, and yokes where there are none? My all time favorite jeans pattern is an old (and I mean...OLD!) Burda pants pattern. I put a few darts in the front, and added a yoke to the back. On the yoke, I stitch a decorative pattern. Sometimes I'll stitch the same decorative pattern on the outside edges of the pockets. Sometimes I'll drop the waistline. I can't imagine how boring my jeans would be if I didn't change the design once in a while

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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rtrittel
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Date: 11/10/12 4:17 AM

Rivergum, I am so impressed with your idea that I am going to incorporate it into my sewing plans. It makes so much sense! Thanks for your inspiration.

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"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

mmcp
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Date: 11/10/12 7:41 AM

Rivergum, I think you already do what simplystitches suggested--your Lilies all have slightly different hem treatments, which really changes the look. Anyway, no one ever dissed Jackie Kennedy for owning the same cashmere sweater in different colors. Think of them the way men think of suits--as a uniform with minor variations (only so much cooler...)

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