UFO progress – eight (small) projects down, it’s so satisfying!

27 Jan

Since my last post I have been working on my UFOs pile…

I have never tackled my UFO pile before this week, so there were about a dozen items in there. I did all the non-clothes ones (eight) which I think is pretty good going!

Mostly I was surprised at how simple all of these were – I basically spent all week wondering why on earth I ever abandoned these instead of finishing them. I won’t be too hard on myself as it’s possible my fluctuating illness played a part, but it was so satisfying to finish these all off that I might now try to have an annual (or twice-annual) UFO session – maybe January and July?

1. Minion finger puppets!

My niece and nephew love the minions, so to go with the Doorway Puppet Theatre that I made for them a while back, I made a couple of minion finger puppets at the same time – but my 2 yo niece broke the hand-sewn seams quickly. Lesson learned! I cut out some new yellow and blue bits, but they soon got lost in my WIP pile… I’m going to say its while I was waiting for more googly eyes to arrive… yeah…

So I came back to them this week! And I used the machine for the yellow bits, and glue for the rest – nice and strong!

When I started cutting out these pieces, I wanted to use the tutorial from sustain my craft habit, but the PDF wasn’t working. Instead, I made them using the pictures in her post plus the pictures in crafts on sea. I recommend both, for some useful tips, but I think the PDF templates would make life a lot easier so would definitely recommend using that if you can!

2. Hot water bottle

A while back I asked for advice on what to do with this thick wintry woven fabric. I think I will use the bulk of it to make a quillow as suggested in the comments by Rosie House, but for a quick win I decided to make a hot water bottle. I started it before Christmas, to prepare for the cold spell, trying to quilt it first to make it look more interesting. My sewing machine HATED the combination of this fabric with the batting, and just would not sew a stable stitch. It drove me insane, and went into the WIP/UFO pile.

So this week, when working through my UFOs, I fished it out again and finished it off, using washi tape to stabilise the fabric so the machine would accept it…. only to find that the cover was a liiiitle bit too small, and I’d put the overlap at the back far too low down so I was going to have to peel off a lot of that super snug cover every time I wanted to refill it.

Or, to save myself that hassle, I could just make another. So I did. I left off the batting, instead making it just the outer fabric lined with some leftover grey fleece (which used to be a blanket until about five years a go my then-puppy chewed it to bits and I salvaged what I could and added it to my stash). I made it much wider than needed, and made the gap for refilling just three inches from the top.

It’s so much better and I have already consigned the too-small one to the fabric scrap recycling.

Maybe this was a cheat in my UFO week, since technically I cut out a new project, but I reckon I was just salvaging a UFO to make sure my efforts weren’t wasted, and to make sure I got what I wanted (I.e. a hot water bottle!) so I am happy :)

I do need to put some snaps on the back closure to keep it more closed, I’ll order some online. I could use velcro, or metal snaps, but I’d really like some black plastic snaps. It’s usable now anyway so it doesn’t matter how long they take to arrive in the post.

3. Hemming a towel scrap to use as a face towel

Back in late 2017 (can you tell this is my first every UFO-busting attempt?!) I made this fun hooded and appliqued towel for my niece, and it leaves you with half a towel left over.

I bought some binding to finish the raw edge so it could become a face towel, but I didn’t like it when it arrived (in the post) so left it, pinned, in my WIP bag for two years, apparently.

Today I finally just did a double rolled hem with a zip zag stitch, then attached some 3/4 inch wide white twill tape to it so it can be hung up in the bathroom.

It took five to ten minutes, and was equally embarrassing and satisfying to FINALLY have it done!

4. Pencil case

I started this pencil case two, maybe three, years ago. The fabric is from an old skirt (which itself was made out of some short culottes that I thought would look better as a skirt), so I was initially chuffed to give it a new life.

Once I had sewn the outside together (including the zip), and sewn the lining together, the tutorial said to hand sew the lining to the outside fabric. For some reason, this seemed like an impossible task at the time, and it sat in my WIP pile since. Last night, I finally sat down and just did it. I popped Netflix on, got a cup of tea and a nice strong light, and just did it. What was all the fuss about?! It looks great, and I now have a place to store my washable colour markers (that I use to copy patterns, or when I know I’ll be washing the finished product so don’t worry about the ink).

Now that I am feeling a bit less dramatic about the hand sewing (honestly, I have no idea what that was about, I used to hand sew everything) I recommend this as it’s a great shape and super quick and easy. The tutorial was from A Spoonful of Sugar Designs.

5. Unpicking an attempt at quilted placemats

I previously mentioned that I had tried to make quilted placemats but they just didn’t work with my chosen fabrics, so I made some plain ones. No regrets, it was a nice idea but I love the plainer ones I made, and we use them daily.

But I had all these sewn together tops stuffed into my WIP bag, waiting for me to unpick them to turn them into something else later. I FINALLY unpicked them today – and added them to my stash pile to be re-used another day. I love the fabrics so have no doubt I will use them soon :D

I also had one placemat all quilted together with the fusible interfacing on the backing (thankfully NOT onto the tops) so I will use that to make a little zipped pouch :)

6. Correcting an upside-down Christmas decoration

I think this is a great tutorial, from The Sewing Directory. It was easy and quick BUT I put the gold strap at the bottom instead of the top, so the reindeer and tree were upside down – whoops!

It looked nice enough so I displayed it anyway, hiding the white side, but instead of packing it away with the other decorations I added it to my WIP pile, fully expecting it to still be there next Christmas… but I did it!

Again, this took about twenty minutes. I have no idea why I didn’t just do it at the time…

7. Making cushion inserts

A while back, I bought 1kg of stuffing. I only wanted to make one or two of those christmas stars above, but ordering online I apparently completely failed to comprehend the volume that would be required to get 1kg of the stuff (and also assumed that £5.99 wouldn’t get me a very big package). Obviously, a huge packet arrived and I picked out some scrap white fabric (from toiles) and an old pillowcase to make 17″ cushion inserts.

Well, finally today I used those scraps, and the pillowcase, to make the two cushion inserts (and salvaged a zip from the pillowcase). One is already in a 17″ cushion cover that a friend bought me (from Senegal! I should have photographed it, it’s beautiful), and I will make another one soon (with a lapped zipper like I made for my sister)

8. Fixing a too-big kindle case, and making a matching eye mask

I made a kindle case for my boyfriend to thank him for letting me use his kindle while I had lent mine to my sister (she was recovering from eye surgery, so this was easier on her eyes than using a tablet/phone for reading books and the news). But, it was about a quarter of an inch too tall, and the elastic closing needed about an inch taken off. That’s it. A fifteen minute job. Done. The tutorial is from Whip Stitch and is perfect (I just made my seams slightly too small this time) – I’ve used it twice before, once for me and once I shortened it a bit for a friend’s kobo. [I’ll add photo later – I thought I had one!]

I wanted him to have a matching eye mask, he borrows mine but I thought it could be nice for him to have one that is made to fit his head exactly. I pinned this together maybe eight months ago, and only this weekend finally sewed it together, and made him try it on so I could adjust it, then finished it off. Ta-da! As with all the others I made, this used the tutorial and template from The Red Kitchen.

The remainders….

That wasn’t bad for a week, especially as I was away from my machine for a couple of nights! But there’s a few bigger WIPs left over:

  • Elastic-waisted skirts. In spring 2017, to prepare for a trip to Taiwan when it would be very hot, I bought these fabrics, with linings and elastic, to make some skirts without a pattern. The fabric didn’t work with my rolled hem foot, I got frustrated, and left them. I think it’s about time I tried again, with this pattern I got for £1 in my local charity shop…
  • Sewaholic Cambie. I cut out this toile back when I was about 25lb lighter, so I will look at the sizes and ease to determine if there is any point in trying to put this together as a toile, or if I should recycle the fabric (a basic but lovely-feeling cotton, plus lining) and cut a new one in a different fabric in my new size.
  • Black work dress. You can’t see in this photo but there’s a lovely subtle pattern on that black cotton fabric, which I think will suit View B of that pattern (again £1 from a charity shop). The fabric was £4/m so I won’t worry too much – it can be a (hopefully wearable) toile! I guess this isn’t a real UFO as it isn’t even started, but I’m amazed by how many times I picked up this fabric to use it…

I’ll make it my target to have done any two of these five in February… wish me luck!

I now feel all ready to start my 2019 sewing! :D

When did you last try to clear your UFO pile? Is it normal for it to be SO FULL of easy (if slightly dull) tasks? Please help vindicate me if you can …!

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