When I first started sewing, I used to plan all the time. I’d draw up little sketches of what I might make that month, and cross them off as I completed them. Yet 5 years later, I haven’t drawn up a plan in ages, and instead I’ve become the type of sewist who walks into the sewing room and thinks, “Hmmm, what shall I make today?”
Sewing With A Plan (SWAP) is something that lots of people expressed interest in during our reader survey this winter, but it’s not something any of the six of us editors do regularly. (To me, SWAP implies sewing a mini-wardrobe, but that might be only my interpretation?) Instead, I thought I’d bring you along on some informal planning that I’m doing right now to get ready for fall!
Here are my requirements:
- I’m a teacher, so I have a long summer vacation, followed by the two busiest months of the year as school starts. That means that if I want/need any new clothes for fall, I’d better sew them in summer!
- I’ve got a week at a cottage coming up where I’ll have only my sewing machine (and not my serger or coverstitch), so I’m particularly focused on time-consuming, detailed projects that only require one machine. The kind of stuff I’ll avoid sewing at home, where quick knits beckon, but enjoy sewing in full view of a lake!
- Tried and True (TNT) patterns. I don’t want to be messing around with fitting – I want reliable results!
Where to begin?
I tend to start by thinking about what my wardrobe is lacking, as opposed to picking fabric or patterns first. I know straight away that I could use a few more basics: bras and another pair of Cone Mills jeans. I’m also thinking about my career, and feeling an urge to dress up a bit more for work – dress for the job you want, not the job you have, right? I do quite a few presentations, so I’m interested in having a few nicer outfits for that. Then there is clothing for home: maybe another pair of pyjama pants?
Now I can start to picture patterns and fabric from my stash together, and see if I want to buy any fabric or patterns to fill a gap. I also start thinking about how long each project will take so that my plans stay reasonable!
Here’s what I have in mind:
- Cone Mills Ginger Jeans – a TNT pattern combined with a pricey fabric that’s actually worth the splurge. I wear my first Cone Mills pair often, so I know it’s worth the effort to make more. 5 hours to sew.
- Closet Case Files Carolyn Pyjama pants – I wear my first pair all the time! It’s also a good way to use up quilting cotton from the stash. 2 hours.
- Bras – You can read more about my custom-drafted bra pattern in Lingerie Month! 5 hours per bra.
- Underwear – I’ve been trying to refresh my knicker drawer this summer, and if I need simple projects at the cottage, underwear are perfect. I wrote about plus-size pattern choices here! 30 min per pair.
- Papercut Sway Dress in navy crepe – a “nice” dress for work! I’m getting rather obsessed with tent dresses this summer, as you can see here and here! 3 hours.
- Decades of Style 3’s A Charm Jacket – something cropped to pair with the Sway dress. I don’t have this pattern or fabric for it, so it’s a bit of an outlier in these plan! I’m inspired by our “Same Pattern, Different Bodies” post about this pattern, and how great it looked on everyone! 3 hours.
Does this count as SWAP? I’m not sure, really… but it’s realistically how I plan what to sew. In between sewing these planned projects, I’m sure I’ll sew some fun dresses and tops, because they are my favourite… but by planning out the slightly boring basics, I know I’ll be ready for fall when it rolls around!
Do you plan for the coming season? Where do you begin? And if you are interested in reading more about SWAP, what exactly would you like to hear about?