Once or twice a year, the Guild has challenges in which Guild members can participate.

These challenges are often announced and documented in our Facebook group or as a blog post on our main page.

CLOSET REFRESHER Jan 2016 Challenge

Please see this post for details.

THINK BLUE Summer 2014 Sewing Challenge

The theme for this year’s Guild Sewing Challenge is BLUE, as suggested by Tory LeBlanc.

Think blue jeans. Indigo. Denim jackets and skirts. Crazy, dramatic up-cycled/refashioned denim with lace and embroidery and beading.

Or go in the opposite direction, fabric-wise. Blue velvet. Blue satin. Blue sequins.

Blue has so shades and intensities. Baby blue. Sky blue. Teal blue. Turquoise blue. Rich purply royal blue. Midnight blue so dark it looks black.

Blue is also an emotion. When you’re feeling sad and blue, what clothes you pull on for comfort?

Lady Sings the Blues – the jazzy glamour that burns hot.

What about when something comes out of the blue? Unexpected. Be it fabric that falls into your hands, or an idea/design that suddenly pops in your head.

The fun in this Challenge is the way you interpret the word BLUE. Play with it, twist it, make it yours. Then sew it up and show it to us at the October 2014 meeting. Plain and practical, or creative and clever, we want to see
them all!

Knits Challenge (2012-13)

Sew a garment made out of knits, from one of two patterns. You may customize as you see fit, and make any number of garments in the multiple garment patterns.

McCall’s 5890
The fitted pattern. It has a cap-sleeve, princess seam top and dress (in 3 lengths: hip, knee and long), pants (capri and long) and a sweater jacket similar to the Jalie cardi that everyone loves. According to Nancy Z, the pants take an hour to sew. Who doesn’t have an hour? The dress/top takes 70 minutes, the jacket is the longest, taking just under 2 hrs. After reading the Pattern Review reviews, there is one cranky point with the pattern – the reverse side of the jacket fabric shows, so care must be taken in picking a fabric that looks good from both sides and in finishing. I’ve seen this a lot on RTW, so I don’t think it’s a deal killer – just something to be aware of.

McCall’s 6247
This is the simpler option as it is the unfitted pattern.  The t-shirt style top is tunic-length with a v-neckline and can be long sleeved or sleeveless. There are also a straight skirt, long pants and a cardi jacket included. The jacket has a easy buttonhole that is cleverly worked in the neckband seam. Nancy Z estimates it will take 80 minutes to make the jacket, 90 minutes to make the sleeved top (she allows 30 minutes for sewing the v-neck binding), 40 minutes for the straight skirt, and 60 minutes for the pants.

Bundles Challenge (2011-12)

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 2011, 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

  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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