Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Oldest UFO

I just completed my oldest UFO!  For those of you who don’t sew, UFO is the term we use for our unfinished objects (sewing projects).  Most sewists have at least one if not more.  My projects become UFOs if I get bored with them or run into a problem that appears to be unsolvable or the project requires a lot of careful ripping of stitches.

The UFO I just finished is a coat I started many years ago after a fabric shopping trip in Canada.  I purchased a beautiful piece of light pink wool fabric and I let it “age” in my sewing stash for many years while I decided what to make with it.  Finally, I decided it was time to actually cut the fabric and make a coat.  I took all the pieces and other supplies with me to a sewing retreat at Pleasant Lake, Michigan.   I also took my serger so I could finish the seams as I sewed them.  I had some problems with my serger, so I rethreaded it and grabbed a scrap of leftover fabric to test the stitches.  After I got the serger back on track with a decent stitch, I reached for the front facing to attach to the coat only to find it was missing.  After moving everything on my table and looking on the floor, I realized the fabric scrap I used to test the serger was not a scrap at all.  It was the front facing for my coat!  There was no way to obtain more fabric.  I salvaged the bottom 2/3 of each front facing and found a small scrap to attach to each to complete them.  The rest of the coat went together without a problem.  I decided to wait until I got home to make the buttonholes.

After I got home I realized I there could be a problem trying to make machine buttonholes on the coat because of the thickness of the fabric. So I avoided the problem by letting the coat hang in my closet and become my oldest UFO.  Occasionally, I would take the coat out and look at it.  I even bought some beautiful buttons for it, but for many years it remained a UFO.    

In October of this year, I decided I was going to finish that coat regardless of what it took!  I looked for my buttons, but I could find only two.  I went to Fabrications in Richland and purchased four buttons that would work for the coat.  Now I was ready for the next step.  I had to make those buttonholes if I was ever going to finish the coat.  It was late November when I tried the first buttonhole.  I started with the one at the top and opted for a lengthwise buttonhole to try to avoid the problem of the buttonhole foot getting hung up on the front edge of the coat.  Unfortunately, it got hung up on the neckline of the coat, so I had some ripping to do.  It was not easy to rip the stitches in this fabric, but I got all of the stitches out.  I gave some thought to making loops for the buttons instead of buttonholes.  I quickly realized I would need to rip out the top stitching down the front of the coat as well as the stitching that held the facing to the front of the coat.  I knew I was not going there!

My options were to make bound buttonholes or let the coat beat me and simply throw it away.  I chose the first option because I do not like to waste money or energy.  I knew what it takes to make bound buttonholes after a coat is already sewn together because I just did that with my “boo boo” coat.   I know history repeats itself but I did not expect it this soon.  I did not have any fabric to make the lips of the bound buttonholes, so I purchased a bright pink to contrast with the light pink coat fabric.  After I got past the top buttonhole, the rest were a little easier to make. 

You may be wondering just how long ago I started this coat.  I asked Joan Harris, who was the historian for our sewing guild chapter for many years, if she knew when we took that trip to Canada.   She searched her records and found we went to Canada in August of 2000.  So, I purchased the fabric 17 years ago, but I did not start the coat for a few years after that.  My best guess is I started this coat about 10 -12 years ago.

My advice to you is not to wait that long to cut any fabric you buy.  I have discovered the longer you keep your fabric in your stash, the uglier it gets and the more difficult it is to handle!  Have fun sewing.