Clearing my UFO project pile

I’m not a patient creator. I’m also not a consistent creator.

I prefer to have several different projects on the go at the same time and hop between them to get a new burst of enthusiasm. Most of the time these short bursts are enough to keep me going to the end of each project. However, there is a graveyard of unfinished objects (UFOs) that are cluttering both my workspace and my headspace at the moment.

I have a new batch of 1940s sewing projects that I have been planning for the last few weeks. I can’t wait to get started with the mock-ups, fitting, choosing fabrics, combining colours, browsing buttons and the immersive nature of being in the middle of the creative process.

However, this blog post isn’t about the new projects. This blog post is about trying to be a patient creator and a more consistent creator. I need to clear my UFOs

My current UFO projects:

  1. A 1940s style dress that I could never decide how to convert the closure from a zip at the side seam to a front button closure. Then I made the silly mistake of cutting out 2 of the 4 skirt pattern pieces backwards. After some screaming into the void, I put the project to one side and ignored it. Estimated time to complete: 3 hours sewing
  2. A 1950s style slip petticoat. I cut out the pattern pieces and it was all going well unit I sewed a few seams . I realised that the fabric (a light cotton shirting) was far too fine for the needle in my machine and I had to order some more. I gently folded the pattern pieces and waited for a new packet of needles to arrive. When they did arrive, I’d lost all my enthusiasm for metres of ruffles and gathers. Estimated time to complete: 4 hours sewing
  3. My “in-between” weather coat. This is still in the early stages and I’ve not even started cutting out. It’s a UFO though because I really need that coat! Spring has arrived and I’m still wearing my cold weather winter coat. I arrive at every destination very warm and slightly too sweaty to be socially acceptable. This project is at the stage where I have decided to make some major alterations to the original pattern which is a daunting task that is intimidating me not a small amount. Estimated time to complete: 10 hours sewing + time for ordering of materials.
  4. Knitted jumper. These are the most dangerous UFO. I was knitting to a specific lace pattern that I had got into a rhythm with and had all the muscle memory for. Then I put it down and lost my place. This cute little bat wing jumper is about 70% complete, but I will have to take the time to relearn the stitch patter, recount all my stitches and go through the pattern to find out where I was. In short, it will take my full attention, whereas before I mothballed it I could knit the stitch pattern from memory while watching Youtube videos. Estimated time to complete: 4 hours knitting
  5. The Keystone jacket. It feels like I started this project roughly one million years ago but it was actually started in June last year. But it was at the very start of my lockdown induced sewing cocoon transformation so the excitement and wonder of the sewing has faded away significantly. This project has faulted and shuddered to a halt because I realised I needed to do MUCH more research in tailoring techniques to make this into something that was not terrible. I also need to buy tailors canvas and tailors tape and all these other things that start with the name “tailors” to specify that this is not the everyday “canvas” of “tape” but something that behaves completely differently. Just to be confusing. Estimated time to complete: 20 hours sewing + 10 hours research + time for ordering of materials.

As you can see this list gradually escalates in time and effort. The first few projects will be relatively simple. I have all the materials ready and I just have to pull up my sleeves and get stuck in. I have already started to make a bit of an effort with the 1940s dress. It helps that I love the fabric, which is something that has reawakened my passion for the project. While it was tucked away, I couldn’t see it and all my thoughts attached to the dress were negative ones about the wrong pattern pieces and the confusion of closures.

These projects need to be tackled one at a time. I need to give them all of my focus until they are complete, and I can more onto the next with a clear headspace and a clear work desk.

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