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SWAP 2021 anyone?

Started by treefrog, November 04, 2020, 03:58:28 PM

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I've been checking the board fairly regularly lately to check for news of next year's SWAP.  Normally, the rules would be out around this time, but this really hasn't been a normal year.  I'm happy to be the co-coordinator if there are no other volunteers.

Are you interested in SWAP 2021?  What would be your perfect set of rules?

I'm going to tag a few people, just in case you miss the post.  My apologies if I've missed you.

@DragonLady  @indigotiger @mudcat @Sew Ruthie Sews @CCL @kowgiirl.up @Lisanne @sharonspils @Melinda_B @warpjr1965 @stephaniecan @mahgret @boppingbeth @dementedfairy @Medea @Grasshopper @Towanda @ejvc @Turquoise @wenznz


Hi @treefrog  - thank you for this.  I would be interested in SWAP 2021. 

I don't have any record of finishing to the final photo stage but what it does do for me is create a focus and I have always made discoveries as well as useful clothes at the end of the SWAP process.

The energy of the group activity is stimulating and I learn so much from reading the thought processes and seeing the progress of other SWAP participants.  In this crazy year it would be really good to enjoy the community aspect again and have something positive to focus on that is part of what used to be our normal lives.  As I type this we have been put back into lockdown again until December :(

I'm not sure about "perfect rules" - I'll have a think. 


My sewing has really slowed down even for my turtle pace.  But ditto everything Turquoise said.  Not sure it is relevant, but I am trying to use up stash, replace worn out favorites, and make more comfortable...work from home type garments.

Similar to Turquoise, let me give it a think!

Sew Ruthie Sews

I've been working from home since March. I wear trousers, tops/shirts and a cardigan everyday. I have sewn quite a few of them (though not all).
The company I work for is cutting staff, so next week we all have to apply for the jobs that are left after a restructure.
My favoured approach is a neutral and a colour and one or more prints featuring the neutral and the colour.
As I am continually doing wardrobe sewing I'd be happy to join in.
I go round the same colour themes, and found if I stray too far from those they don't get worn.
I'm doing navy with red now, so will probably pick another neutral and colour for SWAP.
I'm greyer than I was so maybe need something a bit softer than the black and red I did last year.
Ruthie in Derbyshire UK


Sorry to hear about the job situation @Sew Ruthie Sews - best of luck with your application.

Good to hear you will join in with a SWAP - your energy and productivity is inspiring and infectious  :)


Thanks for the tag, @treefrog!  I, too, have been checking regularly to see news of the next SWAP.  While I've never completed one, I find that I gain so much from the planning/sewing process, as well as interacting with the group.  I love seeing everyone's ideas and different styles come to life, so I would be in favor of having another go at it this year if there is enough interest.

As far as the perfect set of rules, it's a little hard to say at the moment.  I am in the middle of realizing that what I consider to be an ideal wardrobe for my current life has changed.  I suspect that many of us may be experiencing that right now, for various reasons.  While I am still working in the office and manufacturing facility and not from home, my daily wardrobe has condensed down to a uniform of sorts based on what is comfortable and practical. I've discovered that I probably never will get back to a place of needing traditional business attire.  Almost every day, I wear blue bootcut jeans and Doc Marten lace up steel toe boots because it is just easier to already have the boots on if I need to visit the shop than have to change shoes (and the Doc Martens are more fashionable and fit my narrow feet better than a lot of traditional clunky safety toe shoes).  AND, I have discovered that when I do try to wear more traditional workwear, I feel uncomfortable all day, so I guess I have become accustomed to the more relaxed dress code (or maybe it just fits my personality better).  But, I would like to have some variation in bottoms, so I need to fit a casual, full-length bootcut jean/pant pattern and sew it up in some different fabrics for variety (colored denim, twill, corduroy, etc.) since I haven't really found much in RTW to meet this need.  And the same can be said for needing variations of tops and toppers that give a coordinated but casual look that works with the boots.  So, for me, I need to work on finding/fitting some TNT patterns and then explore variations in color/embellishment/neckline/sleeve length/etc.  I am also settling in to a color palette of sorts, so I am up for working with limitations on color (to an extent  :)) ) but would prefer not to be too limited on print since I'm focusing on solid bottoms.  I like Ruthie's combo of neutral/color/print for building outfits.

@Sew Ruthie Sews, I hope that the application process goes well for you!
Striving to live a full, meaningful country life and carry forward the talents and skills of my ancestors.


Thanks for the tag Treefrog. I'm interested,  although I've never completed a SWAP yet! I love the planning,  and always end up with both new garments and a better understanding of putting together collections.
Melinda<br /><br />Perth, Australia<br />Personal Blog - https://melbrennan.com/


Treefrog, thanks for tagging me. I was wondering if there was going to be a SWAP this year. I love seeing the different ideas and garments that everyone comes up with. I've never finish but I enjoy the process. I have no idea of what would be a perfect set of rules.

My main goal for this year is to sew from the stash. There is something so satisfying when the fabric that has been sitting on the shelves becomes something that I can wear. I still bought fabric so any empty spaces got filled back up, lol. The good thing is that I have become more thoughtful about fabric purchases. Right now, I'm sewing up a bunch of white tops that will work with the black and blue bottoms already in the wardrobe.

One of my goals for SWAP would be to add color to the wardrobe using fabric from the stash. Looking forward to seeing what everyone is thinking. Happy sewing.



Ruthie, best of luck on the restructuring. I'm sure you're too valuable for them to lose. Let us know--my fingers and toes are crossed for you! @Sew Ruthie Sews

My blog: I Made This! at http://imadethis-asewingblog.blogspot.com/
Flickr Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/72428033@N00/albums

2018 Dress a Month count:

Sew Ruthie Sews

SWAP thoughts:-

Various options to consider
- set items to sew/some flexibility/ total flexibility
- limits on no of colours/prints etc
- whether every item needs to be worn with everything else in the collection.
- how dresses are handled (not a big issue for me as don't wear dresses/skirt much).

A twist of some sort
- closure (zippers, buttons)
- collars, pockets
and etc
Ruthie in Derbyshire UK


Quote from: Sew Ruthie Sews on November 06, 2020, 06:43:00 AMSWAP thoughts:-

Various options to consider
- set items to sew/some flexibility/ total flexibility
- limits on no of colours/prints etc
- whether every item needs to be worn with everything else in the collection.
- how dresses are handled (not a big issue for me as don't wear dresses/skirt much).

A twist of some sort
- closure (zippers, buttons)
- collars, pockets
and etc
@Sew Ruthie Sews, these are all excellent points to consider in making the rules. 

I would add:
-type of garment
-number of each type of garment
-how many RTW garments are allowed, if any
-how many previously sewn garments are allowed, if any
-how many garments made by other means (knitting/crochet/weaving/etc) are allowed
-are accessories included

Including a twist or stretch goal of some sort is a good idea. Also, on the matter of dresses...  it isn't a big deal for me either, but because they are such an important garment for some people, I would like for the rules to handle them in a way that makes the contest inclusive for anyone that wants to make them.

One idea I have had in the back of my mind for the last few years is choosing a wardrobe orphan from my closet and planning the SWAP (whether completely or just partially) around making items to go with it to remove it from orphan status.  I can think of a couple of skirts in my closet right now that I love and don't want to get rid of but don't wear much because I don't have various tops and toppers to go with them.  You could create rules to plan a collection around the entire garment or possibly divide into pods with one pod devoted to items that go with your orphan.  Things to consider would include whether the orphan counted as an item in the SWAP collection, and if so, whether it counted against the possible RTW or previously sewn items allowed.
Striving to live a full, meaningful country life and carry forward the talents and skills of my ancestors.


Yay, I'm so glad you are all interested in keeping SWAP going.  I really love seeing how you make your plans and watch them come to life. 

This year has certainly been an interesting one. Starting off with bushfires, then the pandemic.  We are just coming out of our second lockdown.  On a positive note, I bought a new bike and have got back into regular cycling again.  My Sojo has waxed and waned a bit.  Currently I'm sewing some new cycling jerseys and nix.

I'm hoping for a fairly relaxed set of rules, that allows each of us to mold to our needs.  I know many of us don't finish, for one reason or another, so I've been trying to think of a way that keeps us sewing along together and getting to the finish line.

Thinking out loud ---- an option to do a full or partial SWAP.   You could still do the full monty of 11 garments, or you choose to do a half-monty where half the garments come from your existing wardrobe ( eg a wardrobe extension, replacing existing items, adding a new colour, adjusting to working from home).  The planning would still be the same, and we can all have the big reveal at the end. Voting would need to be based on each option.

Would this work for you?

Hilda Rose

Thanks Treefrog for starting this thread.

Awesome 👏 SWAP with a partial option would keep everyone participating to the end & give a sense of achievement that can be celebrated by all!

Maybe the rules can be defined around 2 x Collections (6 + 5 garments) and voting in 2 categories: Full 2 x Collection SWAP or a 1 x Collection SWAP (6 or 5 garments).

Great ideas from Ruthie & Treefrog. Having a new sewing technique goal is good.

Personally, the biggest problem preventing me from entering past SWAPs has been garment type requirements. I live in tropical Australia & have little or no need for layers! I also wear a lot of dresses & some rules have limited them. Being able to make a swimsuit or caftan cover-up would also be great for the climate & my lifestyle. This year's rules would have worked, but sadly I couldn't enter due to other issues.

That said, we need structure to have a contest! Including defined design options may be the way to give flexibility. An example:

SWAP Overall Goal - 11 garments in 2 x Collections

Collection Structure:
1) 6 x garments - can be broken into 2 x Mini Capsules
2) 5 x garments - can be broken into 2 x Mini Capsules

Design Goal - Each Collection or Mini Capsule to be designed around 2 criteria:

* Colour palette (# neutral + # accent)
AND 1 of these options:

* Orphan garment/s
* Fabric from stash (minimum % garments to be made from stash per Collection or Mini Capsule (contrast/lining/embellishments can be bought). Purchased fabric ok for other garments in Collection or Mini Cap.
* Pattern stash (minimum % garments to be made from stash patterns per Collection or Mini Cap.

Garment Types: Free Choice 

In this SWAP example, Free Choice garments would be necessary to enable design criteria to occur. It would get too hard to design around colours + any of the other criteria options if garment type were to also be enforced....i.e. limits orphan garment, stash fabric or stash pattern choice if you have to make a certain garment.

Just my ideas.... 1/2 the fun is coming up with SWAP plans to fit the rules each year! Looking forward to what you come up with!


Thanks @treefrog for starting this thread. Some good ideas have been posted in response.

I already have a number of fabrics pulled from stash and matched up with patterns and a SWAP would really help me to get motivated. I am also in Australia and as @Hilda Rose said, I don't have much need for layered garments and dresses are my favourite for Summer (as opposed to the cold Winter that our northern hemisphere members are coming into). The ability to participate and have the option of making 11 garments or just 6 or 5 appeals to me too.

Good luck with your job application @Sew Ruthie Sews.

I look forward to keeping up with this discussion.
Queensland Australia


OOh I somehow missed the tag and I am so excited I haven't read through the whole thread yet. First, I'm sorry to hear, Ruthie, that you are going through that uncertainty at work. Thinking of you and presuming it will go well as I am sure you are incredibly valuable to your organization.

This year has been a tough one for me - I haven't seen my partner, who has been caring for his mom in Italy, since I got on a plane in Florence on January 7. I don't expect we will be able to see each other until mid-next year. Then, my mom moved to the other side of the country (a good 4,500 km away, at least, or at least 7 hours by plane to get there, so...). And now I am dealing with a multi-week reconstruction of the plumbing in the old house I live in...argh! On the other side of the ledger, I am fortunate that I work directly on economic side of things, so I am both lucky to have a job and love that I can do something to directly assist fellow citizens, although with global politics the way they are things are a bit of a roller coaster and sometimes I am working at 11 p.m. or 6 a.m.! I have always liked my work, but I am grateful for it every day.

Anyway, I am in. I have no idea about the rules, but I must have been thinking about SWAP in my sub-conscious as a small capsule collection of at least six garments just came to me the other evening....Thanks for starting this, treefrog! I'll adapt to any rules there are and look forward to the challenge.

PS I was completely unable to motivate myself creatively from July to basically now, but all of a sudden I feel charged up again to make frivolous, beautiful things, for no reason other than that I want to add something nice to the world.

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. ― Willa Cather, My Ántonia


Just read through the thread and the 2 collection idea or the full/half-monty sounds like a super thought and likely to give people more options. I'm an all over the map planner though so I will bend to the will of the majority. Just happy to be able to participate and cheer everyone on.

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. ― Willa Cather, My Ántonia


My SWAP record is sketchy at best, I think I only completed one with photos, and did all the sewing but no photos twice. But I do feel like SWAP helps us feel like a community and that is always a good thing. I also like the 2 collection or full/half monty ideas.  It would make sewing from stash much easier and I feel like in these times people are trying to more effectively use what they have.  Also the "adopt an orphan" idea is a great way to save a wardrobe item on the brink of donation.


I'm liking the suggestions so far, particularly the mini-collections and a requirement that a part of the SWAP use stash fabrics. I haven't been able to complete a full SWAP yet, but maybe this will be the year ...



Thanks for the tag @treefrog. I'd love to join another SWAP.
   I think everyones suggestions for rules is good and I need some sort of handling of dresses and skirts because I wear them all the time. I maybe wear trousers one day a month or every other month.

I look forward to see the rules come out!

I'm at Instagram @ medeasgarderob (Medea's Wardrobe)


I don't think I could sit by and not participate in SWAP.  :D

But I am so, so tired, I don't know if I have 11 garments in me.

I love the idea of partial/full SWAP, and like the neutral/color/print ideas. I am most likely to participate if the rules are fairly flexible.

So twist my arm a little, and I'm likely in.

Ruthie, I do hope your job application goes well, and you get the outcome you desire.


I have never completed a SWAP but every year I get one or two new garments out of it and the immense pleasure of planning and reading about everyone else's plans!


So nice to see so many people able to participate!

Wendy: So sorry to hear you are so tired.
That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. ― Willa Cather, My Ántonia

Helen M

Maybe a partial SWAP would work for me as well. Our lives have changed so much but it's nice to be able to think of a small pack of clothes to go forward.
Sewing in Cheshire

luz clara

We are in the process of packing up EVERYTHING in our house - some of it is going to a storage unit, some is getting donated, and some is going with us to an apartment for 10 or 11 months while we get some serious repairs and renovations on our house. It's slightly sinking in the back, and for some reason in 1950, someone thought that not putting gutters on a house in Seattle would be a good idea. . . someone with a serious "house in the desert" fantasy. So, in the last few days I have looked at and touched every kilometer of fabric I have. . . I went through it a few months ago, so only the treasures are going to the apartment. Furthermore, I HATE all of my clothes. I haven't made anything new in at least a year, and my t-shirts, pants and tank tops actually have holes from being worn over and over. So, depending upon the rules of SWAP, I'm ready to take the plunge. I have two patterns on the top of the rotation - the Apron Dress (https://theassemblylineshop.com/collections/modern-sewing-patterns/products/apron-dress-sewing-pattern) and a recent Butterick pattern (6784). I've always admired Indigo Tiger's look w/pinafore tops and pants or leggings and as long as a new wardrobe is called for it will be fun to take up a different look. W/plenty of pockets. I haven't seen much discussion here but the whole "Simply Delightful" rebranding makes my skin crawl. Plus I ordered several patterns, and when they didn't come and didn't come I contacted S. D-ful. who told me they have had "system outages" that are delaying orders. I get the feeling that serious sewing isn't really their focus. Sigh. Good thing I have a nice collection of patterns from previous years that I still like a lot.


Congrats @treefrog for being the moderator for this SWAP.

Thank you too for the tag. I am not sure if I will join in or not but if I did it would be for the "half monty". If I don't join then I will be on the sidelines cheering everyone along.  :smiles-pom2:

Susan in Saint John

Thanks for volunteering treefrog!

I think with this pandemic, people's lives have and are changing -- working from home, changes/challenges at work, not working, less exercise, less money to spend or saving money by not commuting.  I've worked from home for years so that's not a change for me.  However, face to face meetings have basically ceased.  Covid fatigue has set in plus the days are getting shorter and it's getting colder.  I really need a vacation but that's not happening anytime soon.

A trip plan is a major sewing motivation for me and an incentive to assemble a well coordinated and flexible set of garments -- SWAP is perfect for a travel wardrobe as far as I am concerned.  That said, I've made plans many years but I've never actually completed a SWAP.  I've sewn garments that I do wear and have certainly learned about coordinating styles and fabrics.  I am going to try again this year.

As for rules, last year was particularly flexible and seemed to be working for most participants.  Perhaps a theme for 2021 would be "sew clothes that make you happy"


Hi Everyone, it great to see so many people interested.  DragonLady has kindly set up a new section for SWAP 2021.  I hope to get the rules posted Monday or Tuesday (Oz Time).

I'm tending toward a very open set of rules, that you can adapt to your own needs.  I'd love to see as many people  as possible join in and  finish their plans; and have a big show & tell at the end.

If you have any last minute requests or suggestions, I'm all ears  :thumbsup: