Unfinished Projects, Part 1: On the Agenda

Unfinished projects, a.k.a, UFOs, or works in progress (WIP)?  This is the first of three blog posts about the status of my semi-abandoned projects.  I’ve been sewing, but I also spent time reorganizing my sewing closet, including the pile of UFOs. In this post, I write about my plans for what I’m calling works in progress, since these are back on the agenda for 2019. In the second part of this series, I look for advice about what to do with other unfinished projects.  I seek advice regarding refashioning several projects in the final post.

 1. The Vintage Vogue Long Coat (Vogue 1083):

I started this project in 2010.  I remember buying this fabric at Rosen and Chaddick’s in New York City.  It was such a fun experience.  The fabric is a merlot colored wool-cashmere blend and boy, was it expensive. The pattern calls for an interlining – I used cotton flannel – and lining (I used black warmback coat lining).  This is a heavy coat, both in weight and in warmth.  It’s too heavy for most Florida days, but I was living outside Washington, DC, when I started this project.

I looked at where I stopped, and I’m ALMOST DONE!  I need to finish attaching the lining at the sleeves and hem, and finish the bound buttonhole.  I remember it taking me a long time, and I stopped because Spring had come.  I also didn’t like the collar, and for some reason it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be that warm because, it only had one button at the neck.  How did I not see that before?  However, we do get some very cold (below freezing) mornings here, so it will be useful for that, even if it doesn’t get much wear.  In addition, when I draped it on the dress form, I liked the unbuttoned, shawl collar effect.  Again, an open coat isn’t an issue here in Florida, so I like the style again.

2. The Short Trench (Vogue 8884):

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Started:  2013.  Another project that should be complete, but is not.  I had trouble easing the sleeves into the armscye properly.  I’ve already cut the lining, so there is no reason I can’t finish this one in 2019.  This coat would get considerably more wear here in Florida in the winter, except for the cold, cold days.

The fabric is a coated cotton from Marcy Tilton, the lining is a black silk twill.

3. The Butterick Tote (Butterick 5540):

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Started: 2013.  I started this project when we introduced my then toddler to the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay.  I got distracted and never finished it.  All I need to do is add the lining.  We go to the beach regularly now (it’s only an hour away) and I’ve got plenty of totes that are more beach-appropriate.  But this one will be useful for day trips in the car.  The fabrics are cotton twill and linen, both from the old Gorgeous Fabrics, and the lining is rayon acetate.

4. The Matthew Williamson Caftan:

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Started:  maybe 2014?  This one never really hit UFO status.  I pick it up every summer and work on it in spurts.  I finished the caftan last summer, 2018, but decided it was too plain (in spite of the fabulous fabric).  I need to add the trim, as in the photo.  That’s it.  I’m definitely finishing this for this summer.  The neckline is too low, so it’s a layering piece.  The fabric is a stretch double georgette that I am almost certain I purchased from the old Gorgeous Fabrics, but it could have been Emma One Sock.

5. The slim, very fitted, tank dress (Vogue 9184):

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Started:  2016.  This dress is more fitted than the pattern let on. It’s also when I realized I was gaining weight (but went into denial).  I let this one out as much as it can go, but it’s a no go.  I held onto it thinking, maybe if I lose the weight…  The plan with this is to finish the armholes and the hem and donate it.  It’s too nice a fabric to just throw away (a linen from Britex Fabrics, underlined in cotton batiste).    I do plan to make this dress again this year, but in a larger size, and after a muslin.

6. The McCall pieced top (McCall 7390, view B, adding a sleeve):

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Started: 2017.  I had made this top before, but decided to make another with the flared bottom and sleeves.  I thought my work was sloppy, so I stopped, disgusted with myself.  After examining it, I think I was being too critical.  Yes, the fabric (a soft silk cotton voile from the old Gorgeous Fabrics) is soft and difficult, but it’s worth finishing.   However, I’ve decided the sleeves are a bad idea.  I only need to finish the armscye and the neckline.  It will be a lightweight summer top.

7. The Carolyn PJs

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Started:  2018.  This one technically never made the UFO pile – it stayed on the sewing table, staring me down.  I started it last February, but kept making error after error. I knew I needed to work on something else and/or take a sewing break.  This was at the beginning of my dad’s precipitous decline, so I think I was struggling to focus, and maybe having a little too much wine.  I’m better know, and desperately need pjs, so it’s back on the agenda.  The Japanese cotton is from Farmhouse Fabrics.

Seven old projects, back on the agenda, many near completion.  I think I can do it, as long as  I remember to intersperse them, along with the mending, with new projects.  Of course, that’s easier said than done!  And, which to finish first?

 

 

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A UFO no more: Butterick 6134

A cute combination of raglan sleeves and princess seams, I chose Butterick 6134 early this summer as a great wardrobe basic.  It’s an easy pattern, but I fell into trouble with it – fabric choice and fitting!

IMG_3604I’ve been cleaning out things around home (including donating 7 amazing RTW designer suits from my suit days to charity and 20 yards of fabric to the art program at my son’s school).  I came across this project I abandoned over the summer and decided to finish it for the lessons learned.  And, voila it works.  While this version is just okay, I have high hopes for the next version!

The pattern:  Butterick 6134, released 2014.  Fitted top with raised neckline.  I chose view B, but with view C’s short sleeves.

The fabric:  The pattern calls for faille, challis, or crepe.  Crisp and architectural or soft and drapey?  I chose a soft white tiny pique cotton woven I bought from Sawyer Brook at least 5 or 6 years ago.  Spoiler:  the fabric doesn’t really work.

Construction: Nothing complicated here.  Except the fit. I cut and stitched a 14 through to adding the sleeves (a 14 – how’d that happen?).  I basted in the raglan sleeves and tried it on.  I thought I was being generous cutting a 14 … but … my midsection …  too tight.  In a fit, I took it off and threw it in the sewing closet where it stayed until I found it last week.

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I tried it on again, now that I soberly realize that I need to fit the body I have, not the body I once had, or think I’ll get with exercise.  It wasn’t so bad.  I let out all the seams in the front and sides (where I needed room), and re-stitched with 1/2 inch seams up until the first darts, where I eased back to 5/8ths.  It fits. I added about 1 inch doing so.

I also noticed when I finished the top that I need to think about one more fitting measure (at least).  I had marked the bust point with tailors tacks, and I noted that the bust point was low.  I pinched out the fabric above the bust between the sleeve seams (but not in the back), and the fit was much better.  I’ve noticed “saggy extra fabric”  in this area before, which leads me to believe that I need to muslin all my tops to check for the hollow chest adjustment.

Would I make it again and what would I change?  Yes, but I would change the fabric (and fit adjustments).  This fabric wrinkles too much, and it’s not “firm” enough.  It doesn’t have the body it needs to look just right. It’s very fitted, so I’d recommend a stable knit (like a ponte).  My next version will be in a grey rayon ponte remnant I picked up from Marcy Tilton.  This version is fine as a layering piece, but I’m not thrilled with it as a stand alone.