UFO fiasco!

This is no joke – I started this smocking project back in 2006 while I was taking a trip to the East Coast.  It was my “trip project”.  Back then, I really thought I had a loooooong time before needing to get this dress done.  But of course that was 6 years ago, and a lot has happened in the last 6 years…


I got most of the smocking done way back when, except for one of the front pieces.  I am trying to get the remaining unsmocked piece smocked, and have just had the hardest time matching the threads — because airhead here (aka problem child when it comes to sewing) did not have things organized with the actual threads or information on the thread color attached with the fabrics anywhere.  Bad girl — and now bad girl is facing the consequence.  I think I got that light purple thread right, but for some reason I just feel like the stitching on the smocked pieced looks finer than the one I am trying to do.  I have tried smocking with one less strand, and verified that that wasn’t what is causing the stitching to look finer.  I am thinking I might have used a different needle… maybe that’s it.


I even brought out the “crystal ball” to try to get to the bottom of things.  The crystal ball is this magnifying thingamagic my husband uses to look at electronic circuit board… things seem to look fine.  And… you will notice the blue row isn’t stitch, because the jury is still out exactly which shade of blue that is, even after hours of looking at things through the crystal ball!


At this point, I just want this dress smocked for the next step because pretty soon, it will be too small for Miss Baby.  And I hope people wouldn’t look too closely at how close the color shades match or how symmetrical the stitches are when the dress is on Miss Baby.

The moral of the story is don’t do I what do and always keep your UFO’s organized.  This post is lovingly dedicated to my heirloom sewing teacher Annelle!  She has known me in my sewing journey as one who will “invent” a problem when there is none, and so here I am again!

Now, please tell me you don’t have episodes like this when you work with your UPF’s…, but if you do, please share so that I can feel better about myself.  Thanks for stopping by.  Love you all!

29 thoughts on “UFO fiasco!

  1. This should make you feel much better. My first quilt was started in 1970 as I was pregnant with my first child. My mother-in-law bought some of the supplies for me—Mother Goose nursery rhyme stencils to be embroidered while I waited for the baby. Three of the panels were embroidered then. I picked up the project again in 2002!! I finished the embroidery, pieced it, and then my mother did most of the quilting, and I did the binding. The baby quilt is now in a drawer hoping for the day I have a grandchild to give it to. Hopefully it won’t disintegrate before that happens!

  2. I have a fiasco. This past Christmas break I got out an old UFO quilt pieced in the 90’s, sad to say. The backing and matching thread for hand quilting were all together. So I pinned and began machine quilting. I wanted to finish this as a practice using an embroidery card quilting design. Not quite finished with the quilting, I decided to look for the scraps so I could work on the binding. No scraps anywhere for this quilt top. And in the back of my mind I remember going through my scrap closet and pulling those fabrics out to give to a missionary who was using scraps to crochet pot holders, a missionary in Africa. I was thinking these fabrics are out of date and won’t show when cut into strips and then crocheted. The 6 inch wide outer border is not quilted yet. I think I will have to cut it back very short, then cut the border into strips to make the binding. Lesson to be learned-finish a project before starting the next. Easy to say but hard to do.

  3. I pieced a sampler block quilt back in 1979 or 80, did 3/4th of the hand quilting on a jumbo homemade frame, then abruptly was transferred and the quilt packed away until recently. I’m retired now, quilting again, and desperately want to finish this 30+ year old project but…hand-quilting isn’t even an option, I didn’t save the thread, and I’m not sure machine-quilting on the last quarter of the quilt won’t just ruin the whole thing! Woe is me!

  4. I agree with Sandie — no one is going to be looking through a magnifying glass at your gorgeous smocking!
    I’ve learned the hard way to make the binding for a top as soon as it’s done (or even before) as many times I’ve gone back to find the fabric I wanted to use and found I had used it in another project.

  5. Oh yes, lots of episodes. I put pattern and fabs in a big zip lock. Might be in there 5 years and then I wonder why didn’t I do it before. Then I find I’ve lost interest in it so I give it to a woman that will do it for cancer charity.

  6. Wendy, we all pull those bone head fiascos. No one is going to dissect you stitching. If they would do such a thing, you have our permission to never speak to them again. They aren’t worth it. Cut yourself a little slack, sweetie. We would all love to accomplish what you do on a regular basis.

  7. It’s sad but true, we all do these things. But like the others said, no one will be examining the garment that closely. So enjoy finishing the smocking and don’t be so hard on yourself.

  8. I have had to make due on a fabric piece in the past, but I remind myself that was so often done by our predecessors, I’m just following my sewing heritage…gee, I wonder if it was because they came back to finish something up from a UFO… ;-} Really, your work and standard is so high, I doubt the average sewist will ever see!
    hugs, pokey

  9. Will Miss Baby care if the threads don’t match exactly? I doubt it! She’ll just know that you made her dress with care and love. That’s what counts.

  10. Oh, of course I’ve done such a thing with long-term UFOs! Fortunately for you – this one is such a pretty print, it’s going to be fairly forgiving if you can’t match that blue absolutely perfectly or stitches aren’t completely in tune with those of 2006. :D

  11. What lovely smocking! I can relate to your comment on matching thread. I started an embroidery project some time ago. I would like to finish it, but I can’t find the exact colors. Grrrr!

  12. Well, I am almost to embarassed to talk about the things I have started. When I was trying to raise four babies (when I gave birth to my fourth baby my oldest was not yet five — I started many projects and didn’t finish them. Unlike you, I don’t know where 98% of these projects are. Even just a few days ago when cleaning a second area to quilt in, I found a cross-stitch project I started when my oldest daughter was in high school. She will be 36 years old in April. I had to throw it away, because it was stained from all the years of sitting around. So Wendy, don’t feel badly anymore — you are getting yours done anyway. Good job!

  13. When we moved in January of last year, in my packing up I came across my youngest baby’s cross-stitched name, which only had the “Ty” of Tyler completed. Yep…I tossed it! That “baby” turned 28 yesterday…don’t think he’ll mind too much! Isn’t there a smocking rule, like the 3 ft. quilting rule?? I’m positive it will be beautifully done as always!

  14. Shamefully, I never did finish many projects I started, i.e., the smocked dresses during smocking classes that I went with you, small or big cross stitches, etc… :)

    I cant forget to mention the “bau busuk” cross stitch we found in my wardrobe after n-years!

  15. I do believe that we are often our own worst critics. We see things that others would not because we are so closely attached to them. Your smocking is beautiful, Wendy.

    I started a 6 step mystery quilt and set it aside for some years. When I took it out to start on it again one of the steps was missing. For the time being that quilt will remain a mystery.

    Have a good week!

  16. Well, you have to remember no one else will be taking a magnifying glass to it. I’d just go with the closest color blue you can find and not worry about it. I can’t tell a difference in the fineness just from the photos.

    I do have a couple of cross stitch projects started when my boys were little that never have been finished. But thankfully they and the floss for them are in plastic bags. One of them had red hearts, and I was trying to decide if I should make the hearts pink instead, but with boys maybe not…going back and forth in my mind until they got too old for “baby” stuff in their rooms. :-( Maybe I can finish it up for a grandchild some day. I also have fabric for a little outfit I had planned to make that never got started. Part of it is real life taking up time, part of it for me is I get stuck in indecision and then it’s too late.

  17. I think you are the only one who will ever notice. The smocking is gorgeous on it.

    I tend to do the same sort of thing. Those UFOs seem to be my worst thorn.

  18. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it looks great! BUT that being said, I tend to fixate on color. If I’m setting a table, that becomes even worse. But I love that cute dress. Finish it, and I guarantee ooooohs and aaaaaahs over that cute Miss Baby in it.

    Sending you a hug, too. Thank you SO much for your kind words and prayers. I love you, Wendy. You are a sweetheart with more talent than should be legal!



  19. Guess what came in yesterday’s mail??!! Easy Quilts!!! I LOVE what you did with Paula’s fabrics! So creative! I paper-pieced a pineapple star from one of her collections when I first started quilting…it turned out quite pretty, if I do say so; hard for anything from her designs to not have a “Wow” factor. I just love getting my magazines and finding a quilt by you…it’s like getting to visit with a friend!! {{Hugs}}

  20. Pingback: Pam’s Star Quilts! | Ivory Spring

  21. Don’t worry. No-one will notice any difference in the stitching because the overall effect will look so pretty. Your daughter will look gorgeous in it and that material is very pretty.

  22. Have just read some of the other comments. In reply to Barbara H, I have a cross stitch card that I made for a cousin and never sent. Those twins are both off to Uni this year. Needless to say, I am hoping someone else has twins one day, just as long as its not one my two!!!!

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