Chasing UFOs

No, it’s not a new show on the History Channel. It’s my current sewing dilemma: unfinished objects, or UFOs as they are called in the sewing community.

Over the past year or two, sewing projects have been stacking up. Part of it is because I don’t have as much time to sew now that I have a child underfoot. Part of it is because I keep finding neat fabric and patterns or I develop a need to sew a certain garment for myself or others. Unfortunately, a big part of it is that I have sewing ADD.

I’ve had no shortage of ideas for sewing, but I’m very indecisive, unfocused, and overwhelmed. I’ve also run into problems with fitting, FBAs, and patterns that end up creating garments that are very unflattering on me. All of these are common problems seamstresses face on a regular basis, but I feel like things are getting out of control for me and it’s making me dread sewing. I’ve been jumping from one project to another in hopes of finding something, ANYTHING, that worked, but I can’t complete any of them. I thought that overcoming the FBA hurdle would help me feel excited about sewing again (instead of feeling burned out and frustrated), but I intentionally avoided putting my new skills to work for some strange reason. I know…it doesn’t make much sense.

There are all kinds of excuses I can make right now. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and constantly distracted because I have a 3-year-old. I don’t have a lot of time to sew. I have a lot to deal with every day. But I can’t keep making excuses because when I do have time to sew, when my daughter behaves well and I don’t have little helping hands trying to grab a pair of scissors or a pincushion, when I feel good and not tired or frustrated…I still can’t sew. I can’t focus anymore. I can’t read and comprehend instructions without getting intimidated or annoyed. I overthink everything I do and I miss the days when I sewed fearlessly with a clear mind.

Obviously there’s a lot more going on in my head and I’m not willing to discuss it openly on this blog, but I want to confess about the UFOs I have right now.


Here’s the first set of UFOs.

  • Top row, starting at the left: three cuts of fabric with three patterns for three blouses; I probably won’t make up the 1950s pattern in any of these fabrics though.
  • Top row, right: cuts of fabric for a vintage-style kaleidoscope quilt for the guest bedroom.
  • Middle row, left: the “oh my goodness, I could really use some decent knit shirts” endeavor, currently languishing in the stash because, after ruining two knit shirts and nearly botching a third, I’m scared of knits.
  • Middle row, center: the “I really should replace that worn-out RTW black poplin shirt” project.
  • Middle row, right: the “I need more summer pajamas” silky-soft knit fabric.
  • Bottom row, left: my daughter’s half-assembled chiffon play skirt.
  • Bottom row, right: super-cute flannel dress that can wait until the fall.


Here’s the other half of the table.

  • Top row: lovely 1950s border print fabric, a great ebay find at a great price, requires a frankenpattern to assemble into a cute vintage-style dress for myself, so I didn’t bother putting all the pieces out there.
  • Middle row, left: 1940s rayon, another great ebay find, with a Butterick retro print that I might actually feel brave enough to attempt someday once I’ve had more practice at fitting garments properly.
  • Middle row, right: Peek-a-boo Pattern for bubble shorts with bicycle print twill, coordinating yellow fabric and Burda blouse, and a fuchsia floral rayon print that might work with that Burda blouse pattern as well.
  • Bottom row, left: the “robot dress,” a take on 1950s novelty print dresses.
  • Bottom row, right: matryoshka fabric and tiered dress pattern, a take on the peasant-style dresses of the 1940s and 1950s.

After taking these photos, I found two more UFOs.

ufos_04Left: 1950s blouse pattern that I am hesitant to make. I think the collar will irritate me, so I’d have to find a way to remove it. I’d also have to drastically alter it because it’s a 40 bust. As I have learned, I actually need 36 bust patterns with FBAs, so a 40 bust will have serious fitting issues all over. Right: awesome 1950s rose print fabric (yet another ebay find). I was going to make this blouse in this fabric, but I’ll have to use it for something else.


This is my 1930s housewife dress. It’s a UFO that was almost finished (seriously, I was down to putting in the side zipper, finishing the seams, and hemming it!) except for one problem: the pattern I used (the one on the left) does NOT work in cotton reproduction feedsack. The sleeves and jabot look stiff and awkward, and the pattern really needs something with better drape to work. Ugh. I swear, it looked fine in the muslin mockup. So I’m going to take it apart and rework it using the pattern on the right…which should work with cotton.

And that’s not all! I have three more UFOs that aren’t even pictured. One involves knit and it’s a special project for my husband. The other two are cosplay pieces for a friend that require some creative thinking. I am not counting the other patterns in my stash that I really want to make up or the projects that I hope to do some day. Those aren’t unfinished objects, but they nag me very quietly in the background.

Now that I’ve looked over all my UFOs, I’ve sorted them and started rethinking my priorities. Some of them, like the quilt and the flannel dress, can wait. Others can’t or shouldn’t. I have a shortage of summer clothes, so I know I should get a blouse or two out of the way. I also feel that projects that have the most progress or deadlines should be completed as soon as possible.

With all that in mind, I know that should finish my daughter’s chiffon play skirt first. It’s halfway done and it shouldn’t be hard to finish. Once that is out of the way, I’ll decide what to do next. I have to start taking these things one at a time and stop planning ahead to the next project because that makes me want to skip around and rush ahead.

Above all, I have to remember: sewing should be fun.


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