Planning for SWAP 2018 – Classy Casual Capsule Wardrobe

I mentioned Sewing with a Plan 2018  in my Plans for 2018 post. But what is this SWAP and why would you want to participate?

SWAP is the brainchild of the gifted and talented folks over at the Stitcher’s Guild. You have to be a member to participate, which is free and easy to do. Now in its 16th year, the 2018 theme is Seasonal Designer Collection.

The whole description is pasted below in case you want to check it out before signing up, but the gist is that one creates 11 garments from a limited palette: 2 neutrals and either 1 accent color/2 prints, or 2 accent colors/1 print. All garments must work in at least 2 outfits together, and there are a specific number of garments that must be made from each color:

  • Make at least three garments from each neutral color
  • Make at least one garment from each accent color
  • Make at least one garment from each print
  • Remaining two garments may be made from any one or combination of your neutrals, accent(s) and/or print(s)

Talk about narrowing your focus! I’ve never been one to try to create a capsule wardrobe, but I was intrigued by the idea of adding some missing colors to my closet. After reviewing what’s in it and what items I might want to wear in spring (and summer), I decided I need more green and and sand hues in my life. I really wanted to go with a shade in the Greenery family (that was the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year), but it’s damn hard to find that color in fabric stores right now. There are a lot of dark greens or green-blues, but not much in the yellow-green family. I finally settled on the next closest available: a dark sea foam/sage color I found in the rib knit section of Michael Levine.

Then I found a deliciously soft and stretchy microsuede, and knew immediately it would be perfect for the lounge pants I want. It’s a tad darker than the original creamy cotton sateen I was going to use (and bought 6 yards of), but the shades are close enough. And if that disqualifies me, so be it.

I know I want to have 2 prints and only 1 accent color (prints = variety), and I’ve settled on what I think is periwinkle. It’s a color firmly in the light purple family, just a touch more lavender than blue but definitely NOT blue. What is that called? I’m calling it periwinkle for now. Or bluvender. Yeah, bluvender.

I picked up a crinkle chiffon in varigated shades of bluvender, and have enough for about 2 blouses.

Now that the colors are decided upon (I’m leaving the prints until a later date, when it comes time to make those garments, based on whatever is available in store), time to choose patterns!

That begins with the questions of what do I need and what do I want to tackle?

I have a really laid back, casual style. Most days I’m in a t-shirt and jeans, or yoga pants if I’m really feeling lazy. Long gone are the days when I had to dress up to meet with clients, wear heels, blah blah blah.

But lately I’ve been digging into the back of my closet and wearing a lot from my old life, most of it acquired at NY&Co. I like their budget-friendly classy casual style, which I guess is my style. And since I’ve pledged myself to the 2018 RTW Fast, I won’t be shopping there anymore. I’m also slowly shrinking, so those clothes will soon cease to fit properly (though if I get good enough, I may be able to alter them to fit!).

To this end, the patterns for my Classy Casual capsule wardrobe are illustrated below.

From top to bottom, left to right:

CardiganSimplicity 1668 View Egreen knit
Loose draw string pantsNew Look 6399 View Abeige micro suede
Slim fit/cigarette pantsSimplicity 8514 Curvy Viewsand cotton sateen
Yoga band skirtSimplicity 1616 View Agreen knit
Vintage blouseSimplicity 8452print TBD OR
cream crepe de chine
Ruffle blouseMcCall’s 6467 View Cperiwinkle chiffon
V-neck tunicNew Look 6025 View Dgreen knit OR
print TBD
Cap sleeve peasant blouseNew Look 6891 View Dprint TBD
3/4 sleeve peasant blouseNew Look 6892 View Bprint TBD

If all goes well (and I’m hoping that taking Cashmerette’s Jean Making Class will allow for this), I want to make two pairs each of the pants and that will round out the list to a full 11 garments. Jeans are just denim pants, right?

I have plenty of the green knit to pull it off, I think. If not, I definitely have enough cotton sateen for several pants. And then maybe I’ll have to get another material in either the green or beige.

If I can’t get the pants right, then I’ll make another skirt in the micro suede and a variation of one of the 5 blouses in either the green knit, periwinkle chiffon, or a perfectly matched cream/sand crepe de chine I found in TWO stores in the DTLA fashion district.

Lots of people are using this as a chance to bust fabric stashes, which is a cool idea but not one I can make work within the color limitations. I AM, however, only using patterns I already own! And I’ve even made the one ruffle blouse once before, though the fit was horrible so…

Yeah, 8 new patterns…that won’t be difficult. At all!

Based on my calculations of being able to knock out about 6-7 garments a month, knowing one of those has to be a #sewmystyle and at least one should be from #menswearmakenine or #2018makenine, I can probably make at least 3 of these a month. I best start yesterday!

Full description from SWAP 2018 Official Rules:

You are the Designer. Create a cohesive seasonal collection of eleven garments of your choice.


Consider designer collections like Eileen Fisher, Karen Kane, Kaliyana, Bryn Walker,  Eskandar, etc  and how they work with a few neutrals, add an accent color or two and some prints.  Multiple styles of pants, tops, jacket/cardigan, dresses, accessories, etc are made from the limited color/print palette. New seasons bring new items that work with some of the garments from prior seasons. Your goal is to create a collection that looks like it belongs together and that you can easily add new pieces to in the future.

This plan will work quite well with 3 pack or 4 core concepts but provides more flexibility. If you primarily make separates you could plan out your outfits using the Sudoku grid by including extra accessories and/or shoes to fill the gaps.  If you prefer mostly dresses or pinafores you’ll need some pieces to layer them with even if you are able to wear the garment as a stand alone.


Choose two neutral colors

Add one accent color and two prints OR two accent colors and one print

Make at least three garments from each neutral color

Make at least one garment from each accent color

Make at least one garment from each print

Remaining two garments may be made from any one or combination of your neutrals, accent(s) and/or print(s)

Create multiple outfits of at least two garments that work for your personal style

Each garment must work with a minimum of two outfits

Optional Accessory: add one self-made accessory as a signature piece that works with at least two of  your outfits


Sewing begins on 26 December 2017 and ends 30 April 2018

One garment may be started on 1 November 2017 and completed prior to 26 December 2017

One garment may be completed prior to 1 November 2017

One RTW garment may be included

Garments knitted, crocheted or woven by you may be included (limit of two since we are a sewing site)

Garments such as poncho, cape or wrap must include at least two pattern pieces, be one of your knitted, crocheted or woven items or have stitch work done by you to be considered a garment (otherwise it’s an accessory)

Neutrals do not need to be the same fabric, however, they do need to work together  **


I will award a $25 gift certificate to EOS or another online fabric store to the winner

Guidelines (not required but recommended)

Use TNT patterns as much as possible

Limit the number of patterns used since Designer Collections include the same garments made in different colors/prints

Consider using some textured neutrals to add more interest especially if you are a print person

Consider including one trend item based on your chosen season


garment: an article of clothing: pants/trousers, skirt, dress, pinafore, cardigan, camisole, tunic, leggings, jacket, shorts, poncho, vest, cape, etc

accessory: an object that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience or effectiveness of something else: scarf, jewelry, footwear, wrap, bag, belt, etc

print: a non-solid color such as geometric, novelty, floral, plaid, check, stripes, multi-colored hand dyed/batik, multi-colored brocade, polka dots, etc

neutral color: typically black, gray, navy, brown, cream/white/oatmeal but you are the designer so it’s your choice (denim blue, plum, teal, etc)

accent color:  a color that pops but still works with your neutrals such as golden yellow, safety orange, bright red, lime green, etc

stitch work: for the purpose of SWAP this means beading, adding trim, hand embroidery and/or Alabama Chanin type techniques

** Regarding neutrals: Using 2-3 different fabrics in the same neutral color is fine however they do need to be roughly the same shade and work together.  While this is easy to do with typical neutrals such as black, navy or white it may be more difficult with other colors so plan carefully.

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Feb 16, 2018 2:44 pm

What a lovely plan. It will be good to see it all come together.