Yesterday did not include as much scrubbing as I had intended, which is not surprising, I suppose. It is summer, after all. I spent some time with my boys, went walking with Partygirl, got in a bit of reading, caught up on the laundry…

swapII 001I did finish the two tops for my SWAP Part II — all but the hems, because I did not have the right color of hem tape. Both are Simplicity 4076, view D.

This top is wildly popular among the sewing bloggers, and justly so. It is fashionable without being overly trendy, the gathers at the neckline are flattering without drawing excessive attention to the bosom, and the shape is feminine without being revealing or fussy.

It is also very easy to make. It took me 1.5 hours to do the machine work on the first. 30 minutes on the second. If I make a third, it will probably have even gathers. This is the thing about TNT (“tried and true”) patterns, and the reason that a SWAP is supposed to be made with such patterns. I hadn’t sewn enough to do that before, but I might, next time around.swapII 002

I did make some changes. First, I found the directions for sewing the neck band very confusing. I checked some of the 56 reviews of this pattern at sewing pattern review and found that most people said they had ignored those instructions, and that method worked well for me too. The pattern was designed with flighty little cap sleeves. I wore those the last time they were in fashion, and I think the rule is that you can’t wear things again if you remember them from the last time around, so I just used the pattern piece for the long sleeve and cut it shorter.

The fabric is an inexpensive synthetic knit from Hancock fabrics, in two good colors. I rarely wear synthetics, and generally don’t like to sew with them, but these will be great for the summer, and good layering pieces the rest of the year. I may make this again in a better quality fabric for the long term.

If you are willing to overlook the hems (which I intend to finish in the next day or two after work, when I won’t have time for photographs), I have completed my SWAP Part II.

collage2 The jacket is McCalls 4972 in a plum wool-linen-rayon blend. The two skirts and two pants are all from Simplicity 4950– one of each in gray-green Tencel, one in charcoal Tencel, and one in lilac linen-Tencel blend. The six tops: a tunic in Egyptian lawn in a batik print, Simplicity 3786; the two Ts from yesterday in synthetic knit in wine and green; a turtleneck in the same synthetic knit in plum from KwikSew 3093; a tank from Butterick 3383 in blue and green paisley sateen; and the Bijoux Blouse, a knitted tunic, in peach cotton. 

My fashion photography hasn’t improved any, though my sewing skills have. I thought I would try these in the heap on the bed approach. You can tell how the shapes and colors work together, if nothing else.

swapII 003 These colors also look great with the foundation print for my SWAP Part III.

The space between SWAP Part II and SWAP Part III, according to Australian Stitches, is the time to take stock and figure out what else you need so you don’t end up with duplicates or gaps in your wardrobe.

When I started my first SWAP just over a year ago, I wore khakis to work and jeans the rest of the time. I made a ladylike SWAP to cover church and social events.

Having done that, I found that I didn’t want to wear the same thing to work every day any more, and so I did a SWAP Part II to cover my needs for work.

With the SWAP Part I, I didn’t have the option of making TNT patterns, and there are some pieces that don’t fit as well as they should and could benefit from a re-fashioning, so that will be part of my SWAP Part III. For the SWAP Part II, I didn’t do as good a job of planning as I should have, and not all the pieces work together (the tunics and the jacket, for example) so I want to take that into account when doing the Part III.

So while hemming I will start planning for the SWAP Part III.