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Stephanie's Lumberjack Chic/Affirmation 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: July 01, 2020, 09:13:35 am 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!


Well, I am still working gradually on my coat, although there have been significant additions to my worries in recent days. Working bit by bit on my coat and learning new things has helped keep me on an even keel. Thank you to everyone for the support and help you have offered.

I pick stitched all of the edges and found that was very fun and successful. I really like the final impact. Right now  I am in the midst of sketching some moths to embroider on the coat pockets. I think I will end up embroidering more modest/delicate moths than in the first set of drawings (I have a new set going today), but just having fun with some pencil crayons has been pleaseant!

The pick stitching in this photo was complete on all but the right-hand lapel.

Basted pockets:

To be honest, I'm starting to realize that as a SWAP plan, my collection is starting to look a little bit crazy and it may be difficult to make outfits, especially with this coat expected to go with everything. :) Maybe I should have thought things through a little bit better. :)

Take care, everyone. A big (physically-distant) hug to all from Canada.


This increasingly random SWAP is going to need a new name. Maybe COVIDimprovisation?

I felt a driving need while I was procrastinating from doing the embroidery on my coat to make a random fair isle sweater and so I started this one. I am rapidly running out of yarn as this was not well-planned at all, but I ordered some yesterday so all should turn right.

I will turn my hand to my embroidery today.

This may be the most all-over-the-map SWAP ever!


Friends, As much as I love my wools and my plan, as the weather has turned to early spring my thoughts have started to turn to fresher, lighter garments. I think I am going to redesign my plan. I'll have to think of a new theme, but perhaps all we need is to theme these SWAPS what I'm calling "Affirmation" SWAPS: an affirmation that we are still here and wanting to create.

For my part I'm thinking of some lighter, breezier dresses, tops and simple pants and skirts. I'll likely make a blazer and I'll have to figure out how to irrationally include my moth coat in the whole thing. :)

Be well.


I'm determined to finish! I understand why others are losing their SWAP mojo this year. (It's a mojo burnout year for sure.) I'm going to finish come hell or high water, however.

That said, I really don't know what I'm going to do now for my "go with everything" item given that I don't think the coat will go with everything now that I am pivoting towards spring. Maybe I can turn the grey and orange shirt into the go with everything shirt, as a camping overshirt? (This is Canada. Cold weather is always a possibility.)

Anyway, nothing needs to be decided now. There are still six weeks to go. I'm giving myself a kind of a schedule by picking a garment to sew each weekend. I cut out a shirt this morning that I will sew tomorrow. I'm half-way through a skirt, too, although I am not sure that I will include that in the collection. I figure that I have until the end of the month before I need to commit to making another tailored jacket (but a short version).

Stay safe everyone. I don't know about you, but I'm finding that I am turning towards my me-made things more than ever at this time. It just feels right to swaddle myself in the work of my own hands.



May 24, 2020, 10:04:09 am #24 Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 11:04:53 am by stephaniecan Reason: Sorry quick edit
OK, so I really don't know how to pull this off at this point, but I am going to do it. When I turn to sewing everything feels 'normal' and hopeful in a way it never felt before. I made a skirt yesterday, with a fabric gifted by a blog friend:

It fits a bit better with my last year's SWAP than the one I started this year, but if I keep going perhaps I can figure out a way to incorporate it. It still needs some finishing details like buttons and hemming (just pinned), but I like it so far. The pattern is from the May 2019 Burda.

I also started a sweater with moth motifs (not sure if I have written about this one). I'm likely to finish this one soon and so maybe it can be my "go with everything" item? That said, I'm thinking of making another jacket so who knows. Still five weeks left!

Smample motifs for the yoke that I am working out:

Stay well, everyone!


OK so things are progressing, but I have no idea how it is going to fit together. I nearly expired from heat exhaustion last week :) so I made myself some shorts this weekend. I also completed the red, white and blue skirt:


Hello everyone,

Well, this is a horribly strange time. I am happy to see that everyone is getting on and there has been some lovely sewing completed.

I have continued chugging along and in total have nine items and one in progress. Technically I have an eleventh, but it is my almost-completed coat and the coat no longer goes with the collection, so I will have to finish item ten tonight and make something else tomorrow if I want to finish. We will see. I have tried and hope to finish for myself.

Recent items made include this slightly odd sweater. I had the idea of making moth motifs, and then I wanted to add words to express my feelings during this period. Moths move towards the light and love is what is sustaining me, of course:

I added a date stamp on the back:

Other recent makes include a foray into knit sewing. I'm definitely not yet an expert. The top is wearable, however, and I learned something.

I had been planning to make another one using this flamingo print fabric, but when it arrived it was too thin and stretchy to do the job. It awaits another project:

The story behind the flamingoes is a funny one. I was walking in the neighbourhood before my recent birthday when I saw that someone's children had put a forest of pink plastic lawn flamingos all over a lawn with a sign reading, "Happy Birthday, Dad." I sort of co-opted the message given that I had to spend my birthday alone, as I am separated right now from my partner and family.

Oh well, next year!

I just completed these trousers, too (shown in progress here, before waistband):

Sending hugs out to everyone. I hope to finish, but we'll see how things go tonight. I like the things I have made - many comfortable things; some even well-made! There's an organic simplicity to the things I am gravitating towards and they give me comfort.



I just reviewed the rules - phew, I'm still in line. My collection morphed and meandered a little bit, but the initial inspiration of my ancestors and plaid actually morphed into something along the same lines, in the sense that it became about nature to some extent and became somewhat of a Canadian camping hybrid collection. The sweater is what ties it all together, and I'm thinking that I'll include a lightweight outdoor jacket I made a few years back as a second go-with-everything item. It became more about comfort and ease in my environment, versus more sophisticated versions of "lumberjack chic," which was my original title for the collection. In essence, it is more lumberjack than chic, but that's OK! It's my affirmation SWAP. Although the coat is almost done it will not be included in the collection as I am still finishing up the embroidery, and it would also be problematic to wear a wool coat over the shorts I made. My new technique tried therefore is not the tailoring of the coat but rather sewing with knits (my first time, amazingly!).

I think this is the final cut of my lumberjack chic/affirmation SWAP:

- green minoru jacket made a few years ago (goes with everything)
- love light sweater, inspired by my natural environment and also the pandemic (goes over everything)
- lightweight denim navy blue flares (casual)
- orange and grey plaid shirt
- green silk shirt, inspired by nature (I can dress up my jeans from time to time)
- navy blue button down
- navy blue knit polo shirt
- blue linen shorts
- blue heather knit scoopneck top
- red and blue "tulip" denim skirt
- one final item to be decided, but I think a brown linen skirt I made from a camping-inspired Burda spread a couple of years ago, with wooden buttons and big pockets

See you soon in the photos.