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Sewing Mojo, UFOs & a Giveaway!

I had a few days off at the first of July and spent the time organizing my sewing space. I went through my fabric and pattern stash, happily making plans to get both under control. After completing several items though, I feel like I really should finish all of my UFO’s before starting something else. I am not looking forward to fixing all of the issues that prevented me from finishing each garment in the first place so I keep putting them off. The pile is growing and at my current rate the UFO pile will be bigger than my fabric stash soon! Any ideas on how to keep my sewing mojo (or sewjo as  Lizzy calls it!) going while also reducing the UFO pile?

As an added incentive for both you and me, I am going to give away a pattern of your choice from my “willing to share” stash to the person with the best idea for keeping my sewjo going and conquering my UFO pile. The giveaway will close on next Wednesday, August 14 and I will announce the winner next Thursday so get those ideas coming!

My current UFO’s include:

Colette Crepe in vintage navy dotted swiss. This dress has been in the UFO pile since early 2012. I got as far as adding the piping then got stuck. The dress has a sweetheart neckline so it requires some finesse to get the piping and facing to lie flat. After trying a couple of times, I got frustrated and tossed it. In order to finish the dress, I would need to unpick the neckline and restitch the piping then sew the sides seams and hand hem.

Colette Crepe

Colette Ginger in embossed suede microfiber. This was my second attempt at this skirt and has been in my UFO pile since mid 2012. The first one is a tad too tight in the hips so it rides up. In an effort to correct that issue, I cut a larger size expecting to simply add a few back darts so the waist would fit appropriately. Unfortunately the fabric is so thick and stiff I can’t get the waistband to lie flat and get all these weird puckers. In order to finish the skirt, I would need to unpick the waist darts and figure out how to get the waistband to fit properly. The skirt also needs to be hemmed.

Embossed Ginger

In House Patterns Blossom in Amy Butler sketchbook voile. This blouse has only been in my UFO pile since early spring but the fabric is so lovely it is a shame to have it languish. There are a couple of issues with getting this one finished. First the back neckline gapes so somehow I need to find a way to “tighten” it up without removing fabric from the shoulder area. I also didn’t have enough fabric to grade up the sleeves as the pattern is written so I opted for a tulip style instead. I got the first side on correctly but struggled with the other sleeve so much I put the whole blouse away and never came back to it.

In House Blossom

Colette Hawthorn in minty green eyelet. Not so much a UFO as a hard to get started. I have all of the pieces cut out but can’t seem to wrap my head around how to line and add the facings. The fabric is scalloped along the button edge instead of the hem so any ideas on how to get the facings and lining stitched without losing the scallops would be most appreciated!

Colette Hawthorn

About sullivan1970

40 something wife and mother of 3 Dog lover. Crafter. List maker

21 responses »

  1. Honestly if you don’t 100% love all these UFO’s, I would get rid of them. If you really love the fabric, cut it up and make something else. I think sometimes we just have to chalk some projects up to learning experiences. A few years ago I actually threw away several UFO’S. While I hated to waste the fabric, it made me feel so much better not having these projects glaring at me.

    • Good point. I guess I just cringe to “waste” the fabric but if it isn’t getting worn then it is wasted anyway right?

      • Kathi Sorensen

        I have some spectacular UFOs- the oldest being a skirt I started in 1959! The fabric is beautiful, but has a 6″ plaid design which I realized, at 16, was a terrible mistake. I hid it in a closet, but discovered it in a trunk when we moved my mom out of her home. There it was, a symbol of my lack of fashion sense.

      • And I thought my UFOs were old 🙂
        Have you kept it for sentimental reasons or to remind yourself of what NOT to buy?

    • I agree with Ginger. Get rid of reuse fabric

  2. My tip is to do a session of unpicking in the morning when your brain is most fresh and it’s the start of a new day. Maybe 15 mins, or 1/2 an hour. If you wake knowing that is what you’ll be doing first thing it can be a motivating mind-set to be in. Then as a reward you can do anything else you like – including starting on a new project if you want to. But you may find that after that “must do 15 mins” you may find yourself in a groove and just keep on tackling it.
    Start with the item that you would most like to actually wear in the near future. You’ve got to love it in order to put in the kind of work that it sounds like your items need.
    Good luck! And remember, we do this because we like the process. If you know you won’t like the process on one of these, then don’t do it. Sewing is no longer a chore.

    • I like the idea of a reward and you are absolutely correct about the chore thing. I started sewing to create an original, well-fitting wardrobe but as a hobby, not a job. When it seems like work, sewing is no fun!

  3. I also agree with Ginger. Some of these UFOs may be UFOs for a reason. And to throw in a poker reference, there is no need to go “all in” if you are just throwing good money after bad. I would look at each UFO critically and decide whether or not they CAN be finished with a good result, and if they are, do you still WANT them finished. You could even make it fun and have us vote yay or nay if you are on the fence. Then you have two piles, one of fabric to salvage and one of UFOs to finish. Then, I would rank the UFOs in order that you want to wear them. Make a list and post in somewhere visible in your sewing space. Then, set aside 20-30 minutes each time you sit down to sew to work first on the UFO. After the 20-30 minutes you can move on to another project if you feel your sewjo waning (move on to a TNT pattern or a project you are really excited about), or continue if it is still there. Before you know it all the UFOs will be finished, you will have others projects sewn as well, and still have your sewjo!

    • A bit of voting may definitely be in order Melanie. As you know, I love sewing challenges so perhaps not only voting on my UFOs but a contest for all of us. I am not the only one with UFOs as Kathi can confirm!

  4. I agree with Ginger if you don’t really want to finish then, don’t make yourself miserable. That’s a sure fire way to kill Sewjo!
    If you really want to finish them, create a reward for yourself as incentive, a new pattern or something like that.
    Sewing should be a guilty pleasure – not just guilty!

    • Lizzy I think I do feel guilty about having these languishing. Some of the guilt is the cost of the materials, but more so the time already invested. Part of my intent regarding sewing is also to reduce waste so I feel like just tossing would be so wrong…

      • Well then you better get sewing!

      • The other thing I do is fiddly with my mistakes & corrections at night – nod doing to ‘fix up’ sewing step by step – but not allowing it to take over my precious sewing time. You will get through the pile. Just slowly but at least it doesn’t kill the joy.

      • Good idea, maybe I should consider this more like repairs (fixing pant hems, sewing missing buttons, etc) instead of sewing. If I reserve these UFOs for short stretches of “non-sewing” time and do just a bit each sitting, it won’t seem like I’m intruding on the relaxing and fun part of sewing!

  5. Someone that participated on the Coletterie Hawthorn Sew Along used eyelet with scallops for the buttonholes, I can’t seem to find it (yet) but I am work (psssstttt.. dont tell the boss). Perhaps you can check out Colette’s Flickr group and find it. I would think that you could cut out an identical border piece and use it for the facing (and attached any interfacing required to the facing piece, sewing around the scallops with fine thread and fine stitches. But then again I am no expert. I have so many UFO’s now that I am too embarrassed to admit it much less post them on my blog. I have a Vogue Jacket (V8333) that I can’t seem to get past the pleats by the pockets. My daughter quietly reminds me that another winter is coming and she would love to have it done. Grrrr….Good luck !

    • I may try cutting my lining into a scallop edge to see how that works. Obviously I’m not the best to ask about finishing UFOs but are the pocket pleats a skill you haven’t accomplished yet or is there something you can’t figure out how to do? I often find tutorials on you tube or sewing blogs that help if it is a specific technique (as opposed to some sort of fit issue)

  6. My tip is useless for your present situation, but may help in the future, and that’s do the unpicking before I toss something on the UFO pile. That way, I get all the negative feelings over and done with in one fell swoop, and when I come back to try and finish it, I haven’t got that one-step-back thing to deal with, making me feel bad about coming back to the project. I can get started on it again full of hope and readiness to love it!

    • Actually that’s a pretty good idea but usually by the time I toss it in the UFO pile I’m too frustrated to mess with it. I do think handling all the unpicking at one time then actually fixing another day might help!

  7. Pingback: It’s Elementary My Dear Watson | The Monthly Stitch

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