ufo spring cleaning

Happy Easter everyone! I hope these days off are a welcome break, filled with all the things you want to fill them with. For me, its crime shows on tv (a Norwegian must! I don’t know why, but Easter is all about the murder mystery books and the who-dunnit on tv), chocolate, reading, knitting, and…. spring cleaning.

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There are several reasons why the cabinet with my in-progress sewing projects is getting emptied and scrutinized these days. One is of course that I have a very generous two weeks off from working, thanks to the local school system adding winter break onto this years early Easter. Another is (exciting things up ahead!) I’m looking to move soon – this time into my own apartment! Nothing is finalized yet, but I’m making every effort to become a homeowner this spring! This is beyond exciting and also terrifying, but mostly I’m feeling the happy feelings. This is also an excellent opportunity to sort through my things, and in the spirit of Marie Kondo and her life-changing tidying magic – only bring with me what sparks joy.

So, unfinished sewing objects… Some of these are years old, and have felt like a cloud hanging over my sewing time – “I should be working on that dress that only needs buttons, but…” I wanted to clear out the projects that no longer thrill me, and at the same time I was a bit curious why exactly I stalled. This might be more to my benefit than of interest to others, but here is an overview of the projects I found lurking – and why I’m giving away two incomplete dresses if there is someone who wants them and finish them. 

There were three categories I found:
– Simple projects that really just needed 20 minutes of attention. I tried to knock these out straight away, and managed to hem a dress that has been waiting for 5 months, mend a hole in a knit sweater, and patch up a pair of jeans.
– Slightly more involved projects that should still be doable in a few hours, like the several pouches below, a pair of zippered welt pockets in an otherwise finished jersey dress, a leather bag that needs assembly, and an umbrella destined to become a reusable shopping bag.
– The bigger projects I found were a trenchcoat with a partially assembled muslin, a lace skirt, a muslin for a bias cut silk slip, and a pair of pants with serious fit issues.

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What: First up, a ufo I’ve tackled and want to show off as a finished object! I’ve had a scrap of black pleather lying around for ages, and at one point decided I wanted to make a lined clutch with gold teeth zippers and a gorgeous golden-green dupioni silk.
Why did I stall: I didn’t have a pattern, and the odd shapes of the scraps meant this was an excersise in creative patterncutting, and it just required too much brain power to get started.
What now: Yesterday I was finally in the right mood to figure out construction details and cut out pieces. I really like how it came out! Save from a small corner of the lining that I left open to pull everything through, this is all machine stitched, and the challenge of finding the right order of operation was a lot of fun and very satisfying. The proportions are a tiny bit off I think, and the top zipper is really a bit too long for the edge I sewed it to (see the slight puckering?), but for the satisfaction of those colors together and the top stitching, I can live very well with the imperfections. Mostly it just feels good to have finally finished it and not have it “waiting”!

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What: Next up, the two smallest pieces of the Grainline Studio Portside travel set. I made the dufflebag itself last summer, before my sailing trip on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, and it was great.
Why did I stall: I had all the self/outside patternpieces cut and interfaced, but not the lining. I think also I lost the sense of urgency as I barely managed to finish the dufflebag before my trip, and that’s why I was making the set.
What now: I lost a couple of the self pieces, so I had to recut those, and then I cut the lining pieces. They now just need to be slip-stitched to the zipper, and anchor the corners. Also, I forgot that I had added an extra inch of width, so the bottom of the dopp-kit is a little wonky. This is why leaving projects for months and years suck – you totally forget all the little changes and choices you’ve made!

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What: Smaller repairs – zippered welt pockets, and interfacing a floppy collar and buttonstand on a blouse.
Why did I stall: Tedious unpicking ahead. Decisionmaking – where to place the zippers? How much of the buttonstand to interface? Remove the  buttons and the collarstand to really get access? Annoyance – why is this blouse made without interfacing? It’s so floppy and unsymmetrical! Impracticality – I actually wear the blouse quite a lot, now it will be out of commission for a while (well, given my track record at least! I’m hoping to change that!)
What now: Just do it.

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What: Oh, wow. This is an oldie. I’ve had this bag planned since my senior thesis collection (in 2011!). I didn’t have time to make it for the fashion show, and I don’t remember when I actually cut it, but.. here it is.
Why did I stall: It’s like a kit that didn’t come with instructions. Last time I had it out I got totally overwhelmed with trying to figure out the spacing for the holes along the edge that I need to punch out, so I just put it away again. Also, I’m not in a very dire need of a small leather bag, even though it will be cute.
What now: Well, some math and a good album is maybe what this requires?

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What: Lace skirt, from pattern testing Sewaholics Rae skirt pattern.
Why did I stall: I want to make this into an underlined pencilskirt (check out my asking for input on lining choice here), but that means unpicking 8 serged seams, drafting a panelled pencil skirt pattern and underlining each panel piece.
What now: I know, I could make this much easier on myself, but I think this is a project I would enjoy doing very thoughtfully and thoroughly. I should probably start by seeing if I have a suitable skirt pattern in my stash somewhere – that feels like the biggest hurdle to keep going. I almost decided to get rid of this project, but something keeps holding me back. I think I will like this skirt once I finish it!

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What: This is also from last summer – a pair of Named Patterns Alexandria pants.
Why did I stall: I really did not like working with this pattern. It put me in a bad mood. Then the fit was not good, so I tried to slim the legs down and made it worse.
What now: I’ve decided I think a crotch gusset might be the solution. I’m wondering if the width across the hips and… crotch width perhaps? is not wide enough, making a very unflattering “tent” when I sit down. This will need some trial and error to get it to fit, and that requires patience on my part.

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What: Sewaholic Robson coat! I’m actually really looking forward to working on this! I bought the fabric several years ago in London specifically for this coat.
Why did I stall: That lovely printed cotton voile is to become bias binding. Something like 14 metres of it. That is stalling me, as is the fact that I made the decision to grade between several sizes while cutting out the pattern for the muslin, and now I don’t remember what sizes I used and where. Once I have the muslin sewn up I anticipate fitting changes that needs to be transferred to the paper pattern. Also, the amount of fabric is a little daunting!
What now: Now that I write this out, it doesn’t feel all that undoable actually. I think when I work on this coat it needs to be the only project I’m working on – or else I will lose track and get confused.

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What: Pattern Runways Gathered sundress. I blogged about it here.
Why did I stall: I’ve worn this twice. I really love the fabric, a soft cotton silk in lovely colors. It’s just that the fabric reads very differently at a bit of a distance, as a garment, than it does up close. I used a gold-colored silk as an accent in piping along the waistline and the pockets, and I thought changing out the waistband itself would break up the print a bit. I did a lot of unpicking, and then… I don’t think this is my style anymore.
What now: I loved making this dress – I put a lot of effort and care into it, but it’s not for me anymore. If anyone wants this, and put it back together, I will be happy to ship anywhere. (The zipper is included, it needs to have the waistband reattached to the bodice and the skirt, and the lower portion of the zipper attached again. It measures 98 cm/ 38,5 inches in the bust, 75,5 cm/ 29,5 inches at the waist, and is 94 / 37″ cm long in total from top of shoulderstrap to hem)

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What: 0451/2246 Traveler dresses by Lisetteblogged about in progress here.
Why did I stall: My sewing machine doesn’t make button holes. Or, it does, but it’s totally anti-automatic. I’ve been waiting for a chance to borrow someones machine and make the buttonholes, but it’s become clear now to me that even if I finish the dress, I won’t wear it. So, again – if anyone wants this and finish it, I will be happy to ship anywhere in the world.
What now: I really enjoyed making this dress as well – as you can see, I took great care to match stripes, made interfaced bias sections for sleeves and hem, and I did a small FBA as well. I made alterations to the pattern, which I’m glad for – if I want a shirt dress, I have a fitted pattern ready to go! But the colors and the plaid isn’t for me anymore, so it’s free to a good home if anyone wants it! It measures 98,5 cm/ 38,75 inches in the bust, 77,5 cm/ 30,5 inches at the waist, and is 95,5 cm / 37,5 inches long in total from shoulderseam to hem). The fabric feels like a wool/linen blend, but there could also be some polyester in there. It’s a tiny bit scratchy, in other words. 😉

What is the main thing I’ve realized going through my UFO’s? For one, I think I should try to only have one sewing project going at a time – maybe two if the second is a fairly simple one. The choices and changes I make as I’m underways will be forgotten if I put away a project for too long. Another thing I’m realizing is that I stall out when things veer off course. Some days I’m up for the challenge of figuring out things, and other days I just want to follow directions and use sewing as my meditation time. It feels really good to go through these old projects and sort out the ones I actually want to finish! And maybe I can be a bit more mindful about new projects that I start – that I am exited enough about them to work through any problems that might arise?

How about you out there – any spring cleaning or finishing up projects? Regardless – Happy Easter!

around here – summer edition

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2014-07-04 12.46.042014-07-04 10.30.142014-07-03 13.42.022014-07-02 14.01.572014-07-10 20.41.38

Quite the picture-dump! This is my summer vacation (more or less) summed up in pictures of plants and colors, travels to Italy and Copenhagen and the quick rock-climbing/tenting trip to coastal Telavåg, and eating and biking and friends, and finally a very tired little kitty. We’ve had absolutely amazing weather here in Bergen for what is starting to feel like months, and for a city know for its incessant rain that is a huge deal! Ironically in this hot weather I’ve picked up my Bayview Street Cardigan again, but then it’ll be ready for the fall. Good planning! The plaid shirtdress is also almost done – I just need to sew in the sleeves and add buttons and buttonholes. The fit is looking really good, but I’m a little concerned all that earth-colored plaid is looking a bit “Little House on the Prairie”! We shall see.

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Since last time, I have been…
travelling to Kristiansand and their impressive culture house Kilden, for a folkdance and folkmusic performance I did the costume design for. I really enjoy getting out and seeing a part of my country I’m unfamiliar with!
– watching the little kitten grow bigger and bolder. She is adorable and playful and a handful, but mostly adorable.
– taking it slow. I’ve needed to really step back and not be working on something *all the time*.
– sewing, still. A few things made not for myself to share here, and some things that just need that last row of double stitching that is on hold until my sewing machine is back from a tune-up.
– planning my summer vacation, which will include a girl’s trip to Copenhagen, and a week at our place in Italy where eating mozarella and sweeping leaves of the patio will be the only solid plans. Mmm, looking forward to that already!
– celebrating 17th of May (constitution day) yesterday with friends, food, drink, ice cream, flags and fireworks. Not having my bunad close by this year, I wore my grandma dress instead and felt nice and festive!

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Since last time, I have been…
living quietly. I’ve been feeling like I had to be working on a project all the time, so that a day was wasted if I didn’t sew after work or improve my website or something. I’m working on telling myself that reading and playing with the cat are perfectly acceptable and worthy after-work-activities too.
cuddling a lot with our brand new cat! We’ve only had her for a few weeks, but she’s a funny and sweet little thing. And loves to sit on my lap and watch (and swat) what I’m doing.
reading my newspaper and loving it. It’s a weekly newspaper, but without sports or tv-guides or the like, and pretty much every page is an interesting read. Plus a weekly quiz, and I like quizzes.
eating poached eggs for the first time. Yummy!
visiting a brand new baby wearing some jersey pants I made him. I used this pattern, and it was very easy, fit right (or so the mama tells me!), and used a stupidly small amount of fabric.
watching sunsets and sunrises and thrilled that we can see them at all on precious clear days. I’m so glad my work has a view of the water and the outside, so I can watch the weather and the boats roll by. I so enjoy that. And when I’m not watching water, I can watch the galaxy that appear on my wall from light breaking through glass building blocks. It’s kind of magic.

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Since last time, I have been…
taking a weekend trip to Haarlem, 15 minutes from Amsterdam. We had a concert to go to, and followed it up with museums, postmodern architecture towns, good food and lots of strolling. I so recommend visiting here! (I actually enjoyed my time in Haarlem more than the hours we spent in Amsterdam, it is such a beautiful and charming little town).
enjoying all the bikes and trains in the Netherlands. I know this is a total cliche, but man – bikes everywhere! Bikes among cars, bikes among pedestrians, bikes by train stations, bikes everywhere! It was actually quite a wonder to see everyone in action, like an intricate dance where nobody gets run over, surprisingly enough. Oh, and the train system is pretty awesome – they run on schedule, they run often, and you can get close to anywhere in the country with them.
wearing my newly finished Minoru jacket like nobodys business. Pictures (in two posts!) coming later this week.
– wanting
to start these socks for John – he doesn’t often say “cool” about sock-designs, but he did about these!
– reading books on loan from my local library on my new tablet (a Christmas present – thanks dad!). You can check out electronic books from the library! I love it. This is a fairly new title from Norwegian author Helene Uri, and actually the first of her books I’ve read. The narrative switches between a biographical and a more traditional third person all-knowing narrator. I didn’t know this, or anything else about the book when I started reading it, but I don’t want to put it down. She writes so recognizably (and, because of that, painfully) about loss.
entertaining myself with finding how many things match my mint-colored nails. So far I have a museum wall, a tram ticket, my jacket lining and the phone display at work. I’m sure I’ll find even more before being done having mint-colored nails. Mint is a sort of magical color I think.

 

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 These past weeks, I have been…
accepting that winter has come. It is bringing with it a little snow, and if we’re lucky, some sunny days. It’s time to bundle up with layers of sweaters and scarves and mittens and hats, and seek out winter-activities; sculpture spotting, gingerbread cities, hot chocolate in abundance…
eating soups made with our fancy new stick blender. Those things are awesome! Hummus is super quick to make now, and of course… the soups. In the picture is a sellery root & potato soup with mushrooms and a whole lot of fresh olive oil.
– marvelling at the intense green color of our fresh oil. It’s peppery like nothing else, and has a kick like a neat whiskey.
– knitting
along on the hat that I mentioned. I am so thrilled with the fancy looking cables I’m managing. It’s in a delicious merino & alpacca yarn that I think will be perfect for the winter.
getting some smaller sewing projects out of the way before digging into a bigger project. I have a couple of Grainline Tiny Tanks going and a portrait blouse, and a few secret-for-now gifts.
– reading newspapers, since I started a subscription to a weekly paper. I love having subscriptions!

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These past weeks, I have been…
travelling down to Italy. I flew cross-country to meet my dad, then we took the boat to Germany and drove the rest of the way to Italy.
working hard on picking olives. It’s that time of the year again, and the reason for travelling in the first place. It’s been olives from morning to night, olives, olives, everywhere. It was the first time I got to participate in the entire process – from prepping to picking to gathering to pressing…. to bringing jugs of olive oil with me home in my suitcase. It is so cool to get play hunter/gatherer/farmer and produce your own foodstuff!
– blocking a sweater while down there, taking advantage of the beautiful weather we were having. I finished it in August, but haven’t bothered blocking it until now. Look out for a finished sweater post in the next few days!
reading “The Great Gatsby”, the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. My local library is having a booknight with this book, and since I had a copy on my bookshelf, I thought it would be an excellent reason to re-read it.  It is strange though – I think your first experience reading a book stays with you upon re-readings. I definitely felt like a high schooler or college kid again reading this.
planning some sewing-projects after a lot of knitting (besides the mittens and the finished sweater I have a cardigan on the needles). I’m thinking a Gertie Portrait Blouse and a panelled ikat/plain fabric miniskirt.

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