UFOs are taking over my life!

Wednesday 12 March 2008
Sally commented on my last post that quilters use the term UFOs to describe those WIPs that never get finished - trust me I know that term very well! But here’s a question for you: when does a WIP become a UFO? For me, it’s when I put aside a project because of some frustration, and start on a new project or three. A few months will go by, I will have a clean up of the sewing room, and the WIP in progress will enter what I like to call the cupboard of limbo – much like the waiting room for ghosts in that crappy movie Beetlejuice the cupboard in my sewing room is full of unfinished objects hanging there, taunting me…..

Some of the UFOs only need minor work to finish them, such as hemming or a button and it’s just plain laziness on my part that I haven’t finished them. Others need taking apart and major fixing such as resetting a sleeve cap or taking in to make them wearable. However, with so much fabric and patterns, I do get somewhat impatient with the difficult child and like to move on.

You know how the fabulous Erin over at A Dress A Day writes her drabbles about the Secret Lives of Dresses, stories of how they were once worn and loved but now are left behind as fashions change and their owners fade? Well I often think that about UFOs: such high hopes were had when pinning the pattern, cutting out the fabric and sewing up those first seams, but something changed, went wrong, and the dress that was once meant to be entered that realm of never was, maybe never will be.

Maybe I just think too much, but feeling guilty at wastage of time, fabric and money, I entered sewing purgatory, retrieved the garments waiting for some attention and the opportunity to be worn in the sunlight and made a list (I’m good at list making, completing the task is another matter). There are well over 45 projects on that list, excluding a few complete wadders and a few ‘what was I thinking with that fabric/style’ and will now endeavour to complete a UFO for every new project that I do. Plus the success with the white shift dress that was twelve years in the transition phase of UFO to completed object inspired me.

So first up was a relatively simple UFO: this skirt just needed a lining and some serious shortening (from mid calf length to knee length). I actually wore this once, before I realized the faults that needed said rectifications. It’s a vintage Style pattern, made from tropical weight black wool with an inverted pleat front and back made from a narrow piece of Amy Butler cotton in yellow. The pleat back and front gives the skirt a nice swish to it when I walk:

I used this 1980 Style pattern, which indeed was sew simple (just love their pun), but also turned out to be much longer than I imagined, but I think this was because I tend to wear my skirts below the waist and vintage patterns are designed to sit at the waist.

And a big thank you to all those who came over from Sew Retro and posted comments both here and at Sew Retro - it made me so excited and grateful to get all those nice comments! And in response to Karen's question about vintage sizing, I find the sizing runs a little large, but since the older patterns don't often give finished garment size I check using flat pattern measurements, a tissue fitting and a lot of finger crossing.


  1. Thanks for answering my question!

    I'm *thinking* about trying a simple shift dress for myself. Scares the bejeebers out of me, but you and the other Sew Retro gals are inspiring.

  2. Girlfriend do I know about UFOs! Everyone thinks I am a prolific crafter when meanwhile back at the ranch I am just finishing lingering projects before I start more! Good on you for finishing what your started! Have a good weekend!