Challenges Issued

Several times a year, and more often in recent years than past, the Guild issues sewing challenges in which Guild members can participate.

These challenges are often announced in meetings, then in our ASG Facebook group, and sometimes get documented as a blog post should items be presented as such in batches, rather than as part of our general Sew & Tell meeting feature. Below are a list of some past challenges issued, and what members made in response.

(April 2021)

(March 2021)

(Fall 2020)

(Summer 2019)

(Feb 2019)

(Jan 2016)

(Oct 2015)

(Summer 2014)

(Summer 2013)

(Mar 2013)

(Feb 2013)


Up to December 2011, members were encouraged to donate fabrics with which they could bear to part from their stashes, with 1 metre minimum being the only requirement. These were then bundled together by some members for picking by members who identified themselves as wanting to participate in the Bundles Challenge. Bundles were created with no particular criteria in mind. However, they tended to be challenging to use together, whether by awkward colour combinations, textures, weight and/or other properties. Hence the “challenge”. Having to use each fabric in the bundle was the only requirement of the challenge, with notions and highlighting materials being available to be drawn from elsewhere.

On draft night, participants picked a number to indicate their order to choose available bundles. There were more bundles than participants so the last person was not forced into the bundle left over.

Participants then had two months to make whatever they desired from their bundles of fabric. The results were presented in March 2012, from which pictures, comments and other information will be presented soon.

Sewing with a Plan (SWAP)

Are you interested in improving your sewing skills, having a coordinated, wearable wardrobe that reflects your taste and lifestyle, and having fun? If so, the SWAP Project may interest you. Just in case you are not familiar with the idea, it is described below.

Last year we had a group of about 16 people who participated in the Project. We present our “SWAP Collections” at the June Guild Meeting. They were very impressive. We all had a lot of fun working together, learned a great deal, improved our sewing skills and above all, had clothes to wear that worked together. It is more fun to sew with the support, inspiration, expertise and camaraderie of a group of other passionate sewers.


Make several garments, all of which must coordinate with each other. There are two ways to do this. The first is to pick two compatible solid colours as the basis of your wardrobe plus a coordinating print, plaid or tweed to add interest, accent and variety. The other is to begin with a print you love and find solids that coordinate with it. Use a variety of fabric types and textures, whatever you like, as long as they all combine in a pleasing manner. Pick patterns with which you are familiar. This will make the project easier. This is not the time to experiment with patterns but with wardrobe planning. Use a variety of patterns but make sure that garments you make will look good together. For example, you don’t want a top to overwhelm a bottom or visa versa. Consider length, style, silhouettes, etc.


None. This is for us. We all have different amounts of time, sewing skills and lifestyles. Make what suits you, your time, your life and your budget.

Number of Garments

I would suggest a goal of five pieces, but even three or four coordinated garments would be a good foundation for a wardrobe. With 5 pieces, one can put together at least 8 different outfits. 11 pieces will give you at least 48 outfits and 12, at least 72. Imagine what 13 pieces could give you!

Types of garments

I would suggest the following for a five piece wardrobe: one jacket (tailored, cardigan style, or whatever suits you), one skirt, one pant (or two pants if you prefer), and two tops. For a three piece wardrobe, a jacket, pant or skirt and top would provide a good beginning. Another top and/or skirt and pant could be added later. The rules for the SWAP Contest (see Timmel website) were as follows: 11 garments, all of which must coordinate, consisting of two skirts, two pants (or any combination you prefer), four simple tops, and two shirts which again coordinate with all the bottoms and one jacket that works with everything.

Once you begin to think about how your garments will work together, there is no end to the pieces you can add. You will never have what I call “one-off” garments that don’t really work with anything and therefore sit in the closet – a waste of your precious time and money.


Go shopping but don’t buy. Try things on. Look at clothing collections. Remember price is no object because you are not spending money, just getting ideas, so look everywhere.  The Shopping Channel on television has coordinating collections. The sewing pattern catalogues have great pattern collections guaranteed to work together. Look in mail order catalogues, fashion and sewing magazines. Burda World of Fashion has a section called “Basics”, a group of several patterns that work together. The pattern catalogues also have patterns that include several different pieces, all of which coordinate. Check the library for books on wardrobe building. Try to develop an eye for what works. Look at what other people wear.


One thought on “Challenges Issued”

  1. I personally want to give a shout out to Tory for the wonderful job she did at organizing the Sewing With Knits Challenge. Her dedication to us is so very much appreciated.


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