Thursday, October 13, 2011

UFO's

I was reading Kathryn's blog, I Made This!  She recently completed this amazing halter dress that she'd started earlier this summer...but even though she probably won't get much wear out of it this season, she completed it because it was in danger of becoming a UFO.


I use to be like Kathryn.  I had maybe 2 or 3 UFO's over the course of five years.  If something didn't work, I tore it apart and reworked it or I pulled the fabric apart and added it back into the collection.


However, this year I've had at least four UFO's (5 if you include that disastrous affair with the CC dress) and even though I'm holding onto them hoping that I will be able to reuse or rework them, if I don't that will be okay.




Puzzled?  Wondering why I'm so accepting of my UFO fate?  Well it's because I have sooooo many ideas and sooooo much fabric that I'm finally realizing that I can let some of these "failed" pieces go.  Lately trying to finish or thinking about fixing unfinished garments is sucking all of the joy out of my sewing.  Which isn't good...because I need the balance that sewing provides in my life.  So I've decided that if I get to them, I get to them...and if I don't...I don't.  Sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do for your creativity.


So tell me, what do you do with UFOs?  How do you handle them?  Are they holding places of honor in your sewing room waiting for their chance to be completed?  Or do you trash them?  Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day!


On another note, can I just tell you that I appreciated you talking back to me on my last Question of the Day!  I really loved this comment by Patti (fourkid),


"I know I will never measure up to the abilities of some of the ladies whose blogs I read, but neither do I feel I need to.  I am happy with what I do - and always learning more - from those very ladies.  I need them in front to inspire me, and I need to extend a hand to those following me."


Thanks for perfectly stating how I feel about my sewing and sharing this precious gift with others...


...as always, more later!

34 comments:

  1. My UFO's go in to a large (2.5 gallon) ziplock bag with the pattern, any notions, notes, and other stuff I bought for the project. Then they are thrown/stored in the midden of my fabric stash. When they surface (usually several months later) I decide if I want to finish it, throw it away or toss it back into fabric midden.

    Rose in SV

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  2. I recently finished a bunch of UFOs, but it would probably help if I didn't create more new ones faster than I finish the old ones. I put them in the closet until I either forgive them for being difficult and take another try at them, or just throw them away. Sometimes the closet quarantine period is a year or more.

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  3. I usually force myself to finish a project, because I do not like having UFOs. I currently have one though, a costume piece that did not live up to my imagination. It is currently sitting in a bag with the pattern under the notions table. The fabric is pretty much not useable for anything else, so eventually I will finish it or junk it. I still want to make that costume... I was just not happy with the current version. The fabric looked good in the store lighting, but not so great at home. Currently I have so many other things that I need or want to make first that it probably won't get finished anytime soon.

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  4. I've only recently started sewing and already have too many UFOs. I keep them in my sewing area in the hopes that I'll come back to them and learn something useful in the process of fixing whatever's wrong with them... But I don't like their chances. I might fix a couple, but more likely they'll be taken over by all the other things on my list!

    And what a lovely statement from Patti. It's those others "in front" of me, like yourself, who have inspired me to start and keep sewing. There's no way I'll be able to compare my own skills to the many wonderful bloggers whose work I admire, but I'm still excited and proud of what I do and so thankful that you all share your skills and creations with the rest of us!

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  6. I finish stuff come hell or high water! In part because I don't have a dedicated sewing space, and I need to get things out of the way. Also, because I am still a beginner and seeing things through even if they fail in the end, helps me build up experience. I can see myself getting to the point you are at someday. But I am definitely not there yet.

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  7. If I get something near completion that I just can't make work for my body, I finish it and give it to the Sally Ann. If I can't finish it to the degree where someone somewhere can wear it, I toss it. Sometimes while chanting and rocking back and forth.

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  8. What constitutes a UFO? There are a gang of projects I abandoned during the pattern alts stage because I couldn't figure it out. They are saved for posterity (hanging on the back of my door)and I'll come back to them as my skills progress.

    There are two muslins that are so wrong (because of the pattern alts), I just need to start over. I'm looking forward to those the least. They've been hanging for about a year.

    I'm really slow with this sewing stuff, so a couple of times, I've started stuff and the seasons change, so I get bored with the project. Those get resurrected in the appropriate season. Although I think I'll get a kick out of working on a maxi dress during a snow storm. I think it will perk up my snow blues.

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  9. I'm with you. Either I'll finish it, or I won't. No big deal. Sort of related, I decided the other day that my box of Too Big is not going to get a going-through to see what I can remake smaller. I've got too many other new projects waiting and exciting me to want to bother with those old clothes anymore. ;-)

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  10. I have two UFOs at the moment from the last year of sewing. One I am treating as a muslin - I used a stiff fabric when the pattern really required a wool suiting. But it was practice making welt pockets, etc. So no loss. I am keeping it until I remake it in a wool suiting in the next two months or so - so I don't forget anything. The other is a knit. I didn't finish it because I made a fundamental fitting mistake but there is enough fabric in it to repurpose as a draped T-shirt. I intend to do that in the next two weeks (after a whole other bunch of knits I am ploughing through right now). Generally I don't keep UFOs. I finish everything. Then I make myself wear it a few times. If I don't like it, I trash it. Same for garments I muck up. I am ruthless because UFOs and failures demoralize me. So I am kind to myself! Also I hate clutter anywhere in the house. I just see it as "dust-gathering" so it's also kind to myself to get rid of it.

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  11. Sometimes I keep them and go back to them at a later date. Sometimes I'm able to finish a garment and wear it, sometimes I make something else out of it, but more often than not I toss them. I find that if I wasn't feeling the love for a garment during the first attempt, I probably never will. I feel a great sense of relief when I let go of a UFO. It frees up creativity for something else!

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  12. I finish them up quickly and donate them. I keep a bag in my sewing area just to accumulate discards and when it's full, I drop it off in one of those boxes.

    Typically, these are mock-ups that failed for some reason. I only have one true UFO right now, but it's the trim that's holding me up, not a fitting or manufacture issue.

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  13. I always finish a garment before starting the next one, unless it doesn't work out for whatever unfixable reason. Then, I figure out what went wrong and dispose of it. I don't consider the time or fabric wasted if I learned something from the experience.

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  14. I am so ADD in my sewing. I have actually begun forcing myself to do better at finishing things up that have sat too long. Sometimes it is because I overestimated my abilities and got stuck on something. I have come back to some projects a year or two later and fixed them right up - a measure of how my abilities progressed. But sometimes I just got bored with the details of something and found another project I wanted to start. I always have more in my head than my hands can actually do. At a blog once I read where someone called them "potential clothes" (maybe that was you, Carolyn!). I ended up with so many "potential clothes" last year that about 2 months ago I committed to being much more diligent to finish what I have begun - and I am making headway! Thanks for this very timely blog entry to re-motivate me!!
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  15. It depends how precious the fabric or original idea was. If I don't give rats ass about either, I just chuck it. If the fabric is still usable for something else (even doll clothes) it gets thrown in a rag pile or back into the stash. But if it's really special I'll save is for a couple months then decide if it's still worth the trouble, you know - after it's been in time out for being bad!

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  16. I have one UFO because I just got back to sewing a few months ago. It's sitting in my scrap bucket, and it will probably end up most of it being a lining for makeup bags I found a pattern for and coin purses. It became a UFO because the pattern of the fabric does not suit me and it fits awful.

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  17. I'm coming around to letting them go. I fussed with a blouse for maybe 2 years; finally finished it and have never worn it. I'm letting it go; don't need the reminder hanging in my closet. I don't make many mistake pieces so when I do it stings more. There is lots more fabric and patterns waiting for me to do something with I don't have to be concerned over an occasional failure.

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  18. I'm in the finish-and-donate camp, mostly. Even if the garment is unsellable (unsaleable?) as clothing, the charity can sell it to papermakers for a profit. I do sometimes re-cut fabrics if I can use them elsewhere. And sometimes shredding a hated project for rag yarn is very satisfying. Am fighting a longterm tendency to hoard, so getting the UFOs in my life out the door is therapeutic.

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  19. As I've said, I love the process of sewing. I can't tolerate UFO's. The UFO's I do have are quilt tops or partially finished quilt tops. I'm trying to remember where I read that that you should finish UFOs and donate them to a homeless shelter. One persons wadder is another persons great find.

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  20. I've only had one UFO in the last I don't know how many years. The one I did have I simply tossed in the trash because to just have one laying around would have made me feel I had to do something with it.

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  21. I really don't have much pile of UFOs, I try to finish a project before I move to the next, but sometimes stuffs happen. The last one I had was a bias dress from a vogue pattern, after sitting in my stash for almost two months, I cut the skirt part off to make an a line biased skirt and the top....TRASHED. I dont like UFO getting in my way I always get frustrated...because I want to cut and sew new thing right away

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  22. I have many UFOs of as I like to call them, W.I.Ps(works in progress). Because I have many hobbies, I have many WIPS. I try to keep these projects along with the materials I will need in a large ziplock bag. Sometimes that doesn't happen so I use any handy bag I have around, bags I've bought, made, etc... I have such limited space available to me that things don't always stay together but I try.

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  23. Another great post! I usually force myself to finish, but just last weekend I cleaned up the Craft Lounge and found my UFO's - some still with pins in 'em (ouch) - in the back of a drawer where I was trying to make room for some new fabric. They are now sitting in a stack on a table (coincidentally right next to the stack of things to alter), waiting for... for... well, something... either for me to make a decision to toss them or finish them. I'm telling myself that I'm just holding on to them to retrieve the pins. On a similar note, in four years I have yet to get rid of anything that I've sewn, even if it has never been worn or is worn out. It's becoming a problem.

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  24. I don't know what it was, but I was determined to finish up my summer sewing a couple weeks ago so I wouldn't have any UFO's. Before, some things have been thrown because I was no longer interested or just couldn't bring myself to finish. And, if it is complete, it may never be used. Someone said they donate their UFOs once they're sewn up. I think that is an excellent idea. I know there will be more in my future and I think I will try to sew those when trying to get back into the mood of sewing.

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  25. I sew and I make stained glass windows and lamps. Some of my "worst" UFOs have been in glass. I only have room for one project at a time on my workbench, so having a project that is unfinished is really hard to deal with! I had a large window panel that was just sooo hard and probably over my skill level too and it sat and sat and really weighed on me. One day I just swept it all off the bench into the trash. And it was so freeing!! I moved on to other projects and in the years since have really improved my skills, and I'm so glad I gave myself permission to move on from that project.

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  26. Funny you should mention this. I keep my UFO's in drawers that are supposed to hold current projects, you know all the notions and the patters for them. Looking through those drawers for something I realized they really need to go out. I am never going to make them and that's ok. My dd is coming home for a visit and offered to do some organizing for me in exchange for some mending and hems. Maybe I'll get her to start with those drawers.

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  27. Thanks for asking the question, Carolyn. I enjoyed reading the responses. As for me, I have an entire shelf with bags of UFO's and various quilts-in-progress stashed around the house. It's pathetic! I must do something about it SOON. I'll have more room to store fabric. :) I'm finishing 2 projects from summer because I don't have storage room and don't want to throw them away. Now, that's discipline when Fall projects are talking to me.

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  28. Don't fret about the UFO's. You are like me in that we have way more ideas and not enough time to utilize them.

    If my UFO's just need hemming, I hem them and give to Salvation Army or Goodwill. Otherwise, they go to the trash.

    There is just too much to do to struggle with the UFO's. It will be very freeing to get rid of them.

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  29. I gave something that needed to be altered down to a friend whom it fit perfectly as is the other day, and just organized lots of UFOs seasonally because they're things I WILL wear if I finish them. I have decided not to start anything new till I check at least one UFO off- just buttons! I finally found them, so I'm even a little excited about it.
    I really want for these to be finished objects, which I think makes all the difference.

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  30. I tend to have several projects going at the same time. Both sewing and knitting are things I do because I enjoy the various aspects-the creative part of the design, the mastering of new techniques, the nitpicky technical of turning something into what I envision, and the zen of straight knitting or handsewing. Sometimes I really need the repetitive zen part and sometimes I'm in the mood to tackle something challenging, so the particular project I work on at any given time depends on which aspect I feel like doing. And life is full. It takes me forever to actually finish a project. So I have what looks like a lot of UFOs. However, I prefer to think of them as NYFOs (not yet finished objects). If I truly lose interest in something, I recycle or chuck out the materials. Sewing and knitting are what I do to feed my soul, and feeling guilty over yarn or fabric isn't nourishing.

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  31. I have several UFO's that sit around without bothering me. A few years ago, it would have been a different story and I'd have felt pressured to get back to them.

    Back then, I think I was still building my confidence and I felt like UFOs undermined my belief that I could finish them.

    Nowadays, I know I will get back to them when the time is right. Last weekend I pulled out a shirt I must have cut 6 months ago. I sewed the plackets on the sleeves and I'll get back to it this weekend- I am in no rush.

    Another thing I have learned is the sewing mojo can be very delicate sometimes. I can't push things if my mojo is off, kwim?

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  32. UFOs. It all depends. If it is truly a fitting nightmare, something I will have to make several muslins of, and it's not a statement piece (not that I have a life which calls for statement pieces) I toss it. No sense being reminded of past "learning experiences".

    If it's something that only needs a little tweaking (take in the waist, adjust x, y or z) then I'll fix it.

    If it's gathered enough dust that I look at it and wonder "what was I thinking" it's tossed.

    Long answer for a short question.

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  33. UFO's... well, it depends... sometimes I manage them fine, not so much other times... they take up time, thought, and just plain room! I hate to waste so there are times that I've put all the pieces, pattern and all into a bag and donated it! It made me feel better... hopefully it won't be a total loss... then again, maybe I just needed to get it outta the house and not know what happens in the end to it! It was a burden that I needed to get off of my shoulders! LoL... most times I get back to things and either revamp/rework or cut them up to make quilts (depending on the fabric).

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  34. My UFOs are in a closet donned Area 51. I have *zero* qualms about sending these wretched items to the garbage. I have way too much going on outside of sewing to get hung up on a project that doesn't bring me joy.

    L

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