Saturday, October 13, 2007

UFO's or Unfinished Objects

Several years ago Threads (October/November 2003 issue) did an article on felting wool jersey. In response to that article and the buzz it generated almost every online fabric store carried yards and yards of wool jersey in a multitude of colors. Since I am particularly enamoured of fabric manipulation, felting wool jersey was right up my alley. I mean it was simple - the washing machine and dryer do all the work! All I had to do was purchase enough fabric and then move it from machine to machine.

The other thing that is so wonderful about working with felted wool jersey is that the color becomes even more vivid and you do not need to do any seam finishing on the resulting garments.

When I felted a medium weight wool jersey piece, I used the method described in the Threads article so the resulting piece of fabric was very heavy. The jackets made from the fabric are very, very warm and since the winter that I made them was an extremely cold winter the jackets worked well in my business casual wardrobe. You can see the collection of them here.

Today I was in my coat closet because yes, it is finally cooler here in the Northeast - I had to turn my heat on last night - and I moved some things around. I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before but pinned up against the side of the closet was this jacket.

This was one of the last felted jackets that I made. I used an OOP Butterick pattern - 6771. It has moleskin accents and it was made around March. Not a smart move if you want to wear it as an outerwear jacket. So I pulled it out and realized that it was unfinished. Now, I must stop here and tell you that I don't have a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects). If a garment isn't working for me, I usually ditch it. Or if it's hanging around, its because it needs something simple like a hem or I'm holding onto it because I want to take it in another direction. I have exactly 4 UFOs in my sewing area.

One is a wool jersey twinset that just needs buttons and buttonholes...Why is it still there?

Another is a jacket that I started and meant to finish last year but I wasn't sure that it would go with my corporate environment - it a beigey/tan cashmere/wool blend. I think I am going to finish it this year because it really is me. I just won't wear it on "big" meeting days!

The third is a thigh length cardigan that needs a lot of work - just the shell is made - and I have hung onto it because it is a beautiful piece of wool cut into a classic jacket pattern that I need to figure out a way to make it work.

The final piece is a dress that was cut out in a blue silk crepe to go with the Burda Six pieces that I made two summers ago. I am going to repurpose the fabric into a top and skirt to go with some wool pieces this fall.

Otherwise, I don't hold onto UFOs. These four pieces are neatly hanging waiting for their turn to come out of oblivion. I can see them when I'm in my sewing area and when I make new sewing lists, I always revisit them. So I was really surprised to find this piece in the coat closet and a little annoyed when I pulled it out and realized that it needs to be hemmed, the shoulder pads sewn in and a button or two attached. The only reason I can think of for forgetting it is that it was placed in the coat closet when I moved into this apartment and not into the closet by my sewing nook.

The coat has some very nice details - lots of topstitched seams, moleskin accents, ties on the sleeves and it is the perfect time in the season for a new topper.

Moleskin accents around the v-neckline....

Moleskin ties inserted into the seam and a button attached to the tie to secure it to the sleeve.

So I sat down to finish up what I thought was some quick sewing and discovered the real reason the jacket was a UFO. After all the work that went into making the jacket, I couldn't make regular buttonholes on the jacket fronts - the felted wool was too thick! I am sure that at the time I probably had a plan to do some kind of buttonhole treatment on the front of the jacket, but I have forgotten it since! *smile*

What to do? What to do? See I've already tried the jacket on and it fits still, *LOL* and its warm. I can already picture myself waiting at the bus stop in it with a brightly colored scarf around my neck. Mmmm, to the trimmings drawer I head and there I find buried in the bottom a plastic bag with several chinese frogs. Laying them down on the jacket, they work and give the jacket a different kinda feel...

Now when I say the felted wool jersey is thick...believe me it is. I had to hand baste the frogs onto the front of the jacket and then slowly zigzag stitch them down to the jacket fronts. The jacket also has side slits so as a finishing touch I added a button on either side at the top of the slit.

I covered the shoulder pads which was a small adventure in itself, since my serger decides that it wants to unthread itself then! Why does that happen? And isn't amazing that it always manages to happen right at the end of the project when you most want to finish it and move onto something else?! But with a little ingenuity (I am leaving the serger alone to rethread when I am not so pressed) I got the shoulder pads covered and inserted into the jacket.

Monday morning I will be standing at the bus stop in my new topper with a brightly colored scarf wearing my finished UFO.

Now back to working on the jacket...hopefully I will have an update tomorrow!


  1. Love the coat. The little touches make is so special.

  2. *giggle* that sooo reminds me of ufos that hide somewhere until you forgot them :) in my cast mostly knitting, not so much sewing :)
    Thumbs up for finishing the coat!

  3. Nice creative finish! Even though it annoyed you, wasn't that a great find in your closet?

    Yes, I find that I run out of bobbin with 2" left to sew, when I!

  4. What a neat find! I love the moleskin details.

    Thanks for sharing all your felting jackets as well. Can you felt wool crepe as well?

  5. Great save and the jacket loves you for coming up with such a creative finish for it. Now, what will you pair it with?

  6. I can't believe this fabulous jacket was hidding in your closet!

  7. Love the jacket! Saw photos on Flickr. Loved the collections also. You looked great in the black jacket!

  8. I saw this on Flickr! What a great jacket!

  9. I like the detail on the buttons! Good job!

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