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Stephanie's Lumberjack Chic SWAP (comments in main thread pls)

Started by stephaniecan, November 02, 2019, 05:29:34 pm

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November 02, 2019, 05:29:34 pm Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 07:46:52 pm by stephaniecan Reason: grammar!
My plan had been to not put together a SWAP collection for competition this year, but indigotiger has made rules that are so accommodating...one never knows. (And thank you to mudcat for her wonderful rules and moderating last year.) Although I don't necessarily plan to finish this year, I thought I'd put up a sew along board anyhow, hoping that magic will occur and I will sew through my stash this year, which is my eternal fantasy!

(I almost had a mind to call this "I have not been binge watching Outlander SWAP", because I had been thinking of combining the fabrics below in a wardrobe, and then I started actually binge watching Outlander (I normally never watch TV) and I thought, "these combinations are vaguely reminiscent of the costuming of that show - all layers and wools and plaids and so on." My ancestors came over to Canada from Scotland and England largely in the 18th and 19th centuries and so something clearly stuck! I love all things wool - the woolier the better. My stash is largely moody wools and I suspect I am somewhat afraid to cut into them for fear of diminishing their beauty.

There's nothing that can actually explain the yellow and the insect fabrics, or how I fathom that they could be a part of the same wardrobe, but I'll figure out a rationalization. The garments are roughly these, combined with some rustic knits:

This is going to be fun. I enjoy sewing along with others and seeing what they get up to. My goals this year are to improve my fitting, undertake a bit of self-drafting (am planning to take a course in the spring as well), and finally sew up that brown corduroy. Sewing with cord and dealing with nap is my new-to-me challenge. I hope there won't be a lot of screwing up as I really like that brown cord.

The plain shirt and upper left corner dress I've made before and so are more or less TNTs. The dress is an old vintage pattern I used for SWAP in 2016. I'm planning to use the wool-silk "tree" fabric for that, as well as the plaid silk for a second version. The skirt is pretty straightforward. The bottom heavier-weight wool has a story behind it and I am hoping the piece will be big enough to make a slim coat. The jackets are new and the yellow dress pattern a vintage pattern I've had forever. No purchases will be made for this collection as I have everything I need, except perhaps some thread, buttons and zips. I'm hoping to play a bit and add some embellishment, maybe adding contrast fabric to the trim on the yellow dress.   

Have fun, everyone!


I was lying in bed last night thinking about this "collection" and I realized that I plan to make the insect shirt and the yellow skirt right away, and also would be very happy to make the brown corduroy jacket for Christmas (for CCL's jacket sew along). Provided that the jacket could still be included in SWAP as the thing that goes with everything, the yellow skirt and the insect shirt would not fit in this collection as a "SWAP" collection. The yellow dress would still be there. Already breaking the rules!

Oh well. I have plenty of moody wool in the house to make substitutes?

Are one's ancestors coming over to carve farms out of forests and to wear lots of woolen things sufficient for a source of inspiration?


I have been so inspired by this process that I feel a collection actually in the works. I am in the process of making the insect shirt and will make the yellow skirt later this week, I hope, so these are likely not going to end up as SWAP items. Instead, I am thinking that what I need is a couple of pairs of workhorse trousers - maybe a cigarette or stovepipe style in dark grey or dark brown. Coincidentally :), I saw a gorgeous herringbone tweed in brown over the weekend at my local fabric store (which I should be banned from entering...was very proud that I exited on Sat having only spent $17).


OK, I've buckled. I'm doing a SWAP and not just sewing along. I have decided to follow Ruthie's advice from last year to "sew little and sew often." I made progress this weekend on my insect fabric shirt and worked on two different skirt toiles! I think the point of this SWAP is going to be to refine simple things that I know work on me, by making them with good fabrics and great care. I'm perfecting my TNT shirt and my skirts. Once I have these toiles ready I will have time and space to explore the other garments on my to-do list. Excited! Whee! (I'm not twelve; I only sound like it.)


December 08, 2019, 10:30:14 am #4 Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 05:12:08 pm by stephaniecan Reason: grammar!
Well, I have not disappeared! The good news is that I still like all of my rustic wools and my earthy colours: brown, green, blue-grey, touches of the colours of the sunset and sunrise. Let's set the scene in the forest at sunset.

That said, I've been making toiles of a few patterns and the results are in progress. There's an old YSL jacket pattern that I started to toile and I am still undecided about adjustments so am not showing that here. For kicks, I decided toile a Burda Vintage flared pantsuit...That is in progress. Overall, I call anything that gets me sewing and thinking about my collection progress, even if the results aren't there yet.

Still trying to figure out what to do with a little bit of extra fabric in the front. Otherwise, I've been playing with adjustments to the front thigh area and the rear. :)

The jacket is also in progress. I sewed this together last night without any ironing (inadvisable). It still needs a lower band and sleeves. With a small FBA and a forward shoulder adjustment it is looking pretty doable so far.

I hope you are all having fun!


Still working away at my toile for the flared suit. I took this on somewhat randomly as the classic jacket pattern I was working with needs some more adjustment and I'm unsure about how far to go with it as it is a relatively unfitted jacket. I was attracted to the flared suit as I like something with a bit of unusual spunk from time to time and the 70s were a favourite decade.

I think the jacket has potential but unfortunately another fit issue arose after I basted in the sleeves. I need to do some sleeve or shoulder surgery to figure out what is causing the diagonal line from the collar. I also need to do a small FBA. It looks like I won't have the jacket done in time for CCL's pre-SWAP challenge, but I tried! Some blog friends have been very helpful with suggestions as to how I can improve this (although my photos are terrible, so it's difficult to diagnose what is going on). The fit through the back is quite good (not shown), and surprisingly although I thought I needed a standard forward shoulder adjustment the back is long enough and the seam hits in the right place. Not sure, but at least I'm learning new things and making an effort!


I have been moving slowly, but in a remarkable state of calm! I am determined to enjoy this SWAP while making things that I really like.

I cut out a shirt from a lovely orange and grey plaid wool fabric on Sunday, taking great care with plaid matching potential. The proof will be in the pudding (or the proof of the pudding will be in the eating). I also started mapping out a knitted design. I have a skirt cut out, too, so I call that progress. I hope to start sewing these items this weekend. I am somewhat avoiding completing the fitting of my jacket toiles (the all-important go with everything items), but the trouser toile is almost ready so that's something...

Happy sewing!


I'm making progress. There was a minor mishap in my pocket-making over the weekend (a complete misunderstanding of the pattern), but I pulled out of it. Just the collar left to do now. And now that I'm sewing, so many ideas are percolating.

With apologies for the poor photos and dusty mirror. Proper photos to come once completed!


I have sewed the cuffs on the shirt, so progress is being made! Tonight, the collar.

I'm actually posting only because I had a novel experience today. I was in a fabric store that was selling beautiful pieces of fabric, on sale (!), and I didn't buy anything! I think that might be a first! I had something specific in mind that would complement my collection and since they didn't have it I kept my wallet in my purse. (I'm not saying I didn't consider buying one of the gorgeous wool pieces, but I thought about the wools I already have and that was enough._



First shirt almost done and it's love! Great colour, fabric and really versatile, some interesting design features...hemming, buttons and ironing required...

Now I need to figure out what a chic lumberjack would wear on the bottom!


Progress this weekend! Green silk blouse has been cut out and is ready to be sewn. I also adjusted my coat pattern and cut out the muslin. Both are to be worked on this week. I'm thinking that if I can get a good fit on the coat I will also make the jacket version (kill two birds with one stone!). I also want to make an orange/tangerine silk blouse, so if I may use the same blouse pattern. That easily gets me up to five items. :) I already have a skirt cut out and another ready to be cut out. Along with a couple of "maybe" toiles and a dress pattern I have made before...I feel as though I am finally cooking with gas!!



Adding photo of orange and green silk. The green is so much nicer than in the photo (a bit brighter):

Will post a photo of the plaid coat the next time.


I know..I know...I'm literally inching along like a snail. I put the buttonholes in though and also completed the hem so all it needs is buttons!

It's a small accomplishment, but it's mine!


I know I'm flogging a dead horse with this shirt, but I finally completed it and wore it to work for casual Friday. My colleague immediately complimented me and so I felt the elation of praise when I have struggled in recent months to get going!

I am both working on my coat toile and started sewing (some hand sewing) my green silk blouse ysterday. I'm feeling good. There's more work to do on the coat toile, but overall I think it has plenty of potential:

The toile is unironed and the pictures uninspired, I know, but this is only the first toile to check my FBA. I need to move the darts in, do a shoulder adjustment and probably adjust the lower back slightly. Overall though I think it is coming along well.

Happy sewing, all! XX


Things are moving, slowly but surely. I have gotten this far on my silk blouse. I'm really enjoying this project. The hand sewing is meditative and the silk is lovely to hold. I look forward to wearing this. I would love some advice on the cuffs of this blouse. The pattern calls for underlining. I have underlined dresses before but never cuffs. Would you interface with a fusible instead, or underline with silk organza? The cuffs are doubled over and held together with cufflinks (was thinking of a double button treatment instead). Thanks!

The colour photographs horribly but it is a lovely green. Very spring-like! (Looks more like over-cooked peas in the photos!)


Silk blouse is done, apart from the buttonholes! It's only item two but I'm still patting myself on the back. I enjoyed making this. There was plenty of hand sewing and the cuffs are underlined with silk organza. I figure that if I make the more time-consuming items first there is plenty of time for more straightforward items like skirts and things I've already toiled (or multiples).

Silk organza invisibly stitched to cuff fabric:

Embarrassing bathroom shot after basting in a sleeve! (The colour is so much nicer in person.)



I just wrote a post that I lost. Oops!

I wanted to share that my partner is currently in central Italy caring for an elderly relative, so things are hardly cheerful in my neck of the woods. He had been predicting this sort of outcome, globally, for quite some time, as he is a scientist. Unfortunately, things have evolved rapidly.

For my part, I am locked down at home in Canada, as I think we all need to do our part to minimize the potential burdens on our respective health care systems. I can say very clearly from the Italian experience that this is not something to be taken lightly, whatever your age, but most particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions or risk factors, or if you are over 65. I hope that all of us will remain informed and will take all necessary steps to protect our health and that of our loved ones, while keeping the burden on our health care workers as low as we can possibly manage.

Although I don't feel inspired by pretty clothes at all right now, I took the time to cut out my coat last week. Sewing has always been a way to calm my nerves and to move forward in an incremental way, so I think this work can be useful right now.

Hopefully today I will start some pad stitching.

Please stay well and take care. I have posted some articles on my blog that some people may find useful, to better understand how epidemics like this can work. Best wishes and big hugs to all of my fellow seamstresses.


Well, things are still tense in my neck of the woods, as they are all over the place. Because of my job, I'm working on the policy response to this crisis so I can't actually get away from it...ever, but it is nothing like it must be for health care workers, for whom I feel the greatest sympathy and concern.

I forced myself to start putting together my coat last night, but it is slow going. So far, a bit of pad stitching and some dart sewing. I'm pretty happy with my pattern matching so far, however, so that is something!


Hi friends,
The only thing I have been looking forward to lately is working a little bit at a time on my coat. I am learning a ton (mostly that I can, indeed, do traditional tailoring successfully!). I'd never pad stitched before and I am really loving it. Working slowly and methodically has been a real balm in this crazy time in which I am constantly worrying about my partner and his family in Italy, my own family, and since I work in fiscal policy, um...it's the economy all of the time. Sometimes I just want t curl up into a little ball.

But...there is always hope and I can always muster some. Here's the coat progress:

Sunday's work:

Monday evening's work:

I have some embroidery planned for this as well, so I think this will be a memorable project, if not entirely flattering. :)

Stay well everyone!


I basted in the sleeves today. It looks less crazy than when I was wearing it without sleeves and with a red plaid shirt underneath. I think it has potential!