by Ramona on January 9, 2015

I made a post to our Facebook page a couple weeks ago asking whether or not it would be of interest to have me finish some of my unfinished sewing projects to spur others on to do the same.  I suggested I would discuss why the project was started, why it was set aside, and my plans to complete it. The response was an overwhelming, “YES!”  I think I struck a chord among many.

So, I thought I’d do this blog to get us all started. I think there are several excuses…err reasons.. why we have these unfinished projects in the first place.

We all have “good sewing intentions”. We get inspired and purchase the fabrics, pattern and notions with the best intention of getting a project completed to the best of our ability…then, at least for me, life gets in the way. Does this happen to you?

I’ll start something, and then all of the sudden a family member, friend or neighbor has a request of my skills. It may be mending a glove, putting a new zipper into a leather jacket, help on an embroidery project, or any number of things. I happily set aside my project to help. Maybe there is an illness in the family, and of course bills need to get paid, I have to run to the grocery store so dinner can be cooked. The garden needs tending after work. I want to call my Mom. The kids are Skyping me. Yup, life gets in the way and those things are more important that the project I set aside.

First the project gets set aside to the ironing board. Then the work week begins. I pick up the project and look at it thinking to myself, “Nope, no time this week” so the project gets set to the end of the cutting board. More pressing projects need to get done; after all, the project I started doesn’t have a deadline so I package up all the parts and pieces so nothing gets lost – telling myself I’ll get to it in a couple of weeks. I tidy my sewing room, the bagged project now gets moved to the “file” pile. There it will sit until the deep cleaning of the sewing area which happens about once a quarter; out of sight, out of mind.

Unless something is actually scheduled into my calendar it tends not to get done. I’m a person who has always worked via deadlines. Deadlines run my life. When I did custom dressmaking there were always deadlines: a wedding, a formal dance, those special pants a customer needed for a New Year’s Eve party. So I think that is number one on my list of reasons I have UFO’s. When sewing gets interrupted and set aside, it is because there is no deadline for that project.

For others, perhaps it is because the requisite skill level in sewing has not been obtained. We may look at a project thinking it is within our skill level, but perhaps there is a new technique or term in the pattern that stumps us. So, we set the project aside until we’ve learned the skill or can look up the term.

Then of course after projects have lingered long enough (dare I say not only weeks but YEARS!) we come across the project which has been in hiding, long forgotten, and now it is no longer of interest. The pattern or fabric has become dated, and it gets set aside again and we wonder why we even started it in the first place. Now we feel guilty because we spent good money and time on something that lingers.

With all these “guilty” feelings of uncompleted projects, I say, turn over a new leaf! Clean out! Gift away and start anew!  Get rid of the guilt!

I think the first place to start recapturing the enthusiasm for UFO’s is first to rename them. The name UFOs (unfinished objects) or USOs (unfinished sewing objects) does not invite me to want to finish the project; so, let’s give them a new, “positive” sounding name. I asked for name suggestions on our ASG Facebook page, and one great suggestion was PhDs—projects half done. I like the thought of working on a PhD! It makes me think I’m working toward and accomplishing something grand. I put a bit of a twist on it and suggested Ph-D: Projects half—DONE! The projects are no longer half way completed, they are FINISHED! They are COMPLETED!  They are DONE! Now this makes me want to get into the pile and see what I can work on and actually finish.

So, in the next blog let’s talk about getting organized. For me, if I’m not organized nothing, and I mean NOTHING get accomplished in my sewing room. I feel overwhelmed and things seem unsettled. I’ll show you what I do and hopefully on our Fb page we can get suggestions on how others organize their Ph-Ds to get them completed. Let’s start a dialog and let’s encourage each other to get working on our Ph-Ds! This week if you feel like it, please share your reasons for the unfinished projects you have. The sharing may actually be a cathartic release for beginning anew.

Sew ‘til next time…enjoy the journey of sewing!


Note: We’ll use the ASG Facebook page to carry on the conversation. We were getting too many spam comments so we shut the comments section for this blog. Just go on over to the Fb page and make suggestions and tell us what you are doing to finish projects this year.

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