Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Or – to add another acronym to the lexicon of sewing terms – Abandoned Un-Finished Object. I’m giving you the punchline at the beginning here.

You know when all of a sudden and out of the blue you need an item of clothing that you do not own but you really, really want to have and so you spend near 100% of your precious shopping time, planning time, thinking time etc etc to find perfection. NO? Just me?

Today the holy grail is……A lightweight summer raincoat/trench: sling on with jeans; slide on over cotton dresses; slip into for shower proofness with pencil skirts and pussy-bow blouses; leave lying in the car for emergencies or pack for weekends away for just in case; pull on regardless just to nip to the shops or just because.

I found one in M&S but it has too many buttons and too elaborate with belt and flaps and other stuff.

I found another in Dunnes which looked perfect from the front but hideous from the back with an long inverted pleat (swing-like) and slightly too dark a colour – I was aiming for stone/off-white/ivory).

Zara had some offerings too but nothing that floated my boat. While they are delicious coats they are just not what I had in mind.

What’s a girl to do? Get a sewing machine, some material, a pattern and a wee bit of time – that’s what.

I found Waffle Patterns and the Bamboo Straight cut coat. – Now this is perfection – it fits all my requirements for a summer trench – now all I have to do is find the perfect fabric. The pattern was purchased, printed and tiled (PDF) and we’re ready to go.bamboo_019_1024x1024

I headed off to Croftmill and purchased some stone coloured, light-weight cotton along with 3m of Barbour (no less) lining.

Over the first week of the Easter holidays, all was cut out and anticipation was high, very high….

And here we have my part in the perfect Trenchcoat downfall.

First advice I can offer you is to follow the instructions – I did not and thought I knew what I was doing and we all know how that goes…

Windowpane pockets with flaps are disasters. Lots of wrinkles, tucks and sloppy sewing – bad, bad, bad. And no amount of pressing is going to get that lot flat!


The cotton that was in stash that was used as interfacing shows through; not really that noticeable but to me it is.

Not everything I cut out and sew is wearable. Wisdom in sewing is knowing when to persevere and when to give up. This is now an abandoned project and I’m moving on to something more inspiring, exciting, colourful and hopefully more successful.

Back to M&S me thinks. Buy a coat and replace all the buttons.

…..or Zara to buy a coat and then cut 12″ off the hem….

Or Dunnes and sew closed the back inverted pleat….

Yeah, go buy and dog and bark yourself!




35 thoughts on “AUFO

  1. Argh, it’s frustrating, isn’t it? And trust M&S to always get that last bit of detail wrong. Then again, this is very much a first-world problem! Have you explored all shopping options, and Ebay too which sometimes comes up with almost-new goodies and you can check sizing. How about Hobbs, Boden or Karen Millen? Not that I want to dissuade you from making your own but this is an eternally useful garment to have and you should slow-sew it, like slow cooking, and get it perfect, just not right now.

  2. Aufo – been there , not infrequently. It’s so hard to find unfussy versions of classics, I sympathise.

  3. No, no. New fabric. New try. Look at all you’ve learned! Go Girl!

  4. Is it terrible that your admission cheers me up a tiny bit? Because this hits close to home. Sometimes I think I need the sewing equivalent of Viagra. Performance anxiety from my AUFOs has made me wary of cutting into any fabric. I do more planning and fantasizing than sewing.

    Every time I talk myself into making a “perfect” version of a close-but-not-quite-right RTW project like a trench coat – so many pieces, so many steps – I come away thinking how much better that item would’ve been to buy. I could’ve used the time to work on items that don’t exist in RTW, or cost the moon if they do.

    Here’s the difference, though. You’ve made many pairs of nicely fitting denim, which I consider a similar challenge. And tailored blazers and French jackets. So you had no reason to doubt this would work well, too.

    Your average success ratio is high. You’re a courageous sewist, with great momentum. Odds are smiling on your next project. Can’t wait to see it.

    Hey: can you turn this AUFO into a muslin (or interlining?) for another coat? The pattern is so nice looking.

  5. My AUFO has been in the bin twice, and is now hanging on Emile pending the final chuck… NOTHING can fix it, but it’s hard to give up. I don’t even like the fabric any more!

  6. We invest so much of ourselves into our sewing.
    Well done for knowing when to give up!
    A lesson I need to learn too.

  7. Ah, you’ve been struck by the damning digit of doom, closely related to the fickle finger of fate. I agree, best to turn your back decisively, circle three times, and head out for greener pastures.

  8. Yes, AUFOs – I have too many of them. Sorry about yours

  9. …and I thought I was the only one!

  10. Ah, so frustrating when sewing plans don’t work out.

  11. It’s always hard when you have to get rid of a project that you’ve lived with for weeks but it’s sewing wisdom to know when to let it go! I’m sure you can make a store bought one look even better!

  12. What a shame Ruth. This happens to me far too often – at least you have far more makes that go well. Seen some nice trench coats in “& other stories”. Think they may be the type of look you want.

  13. Loved the concept too! It usually is when I’ve got the clearest picture of what I want that I make the biggest mess. Just finished a knit Joan dress without a zip. Checked it would go over my head and it does but it’s like a straightjacket on and taking it off takes about 10 minutes and elicits a fair bit of panic! One fir the bin. X

  14. It’s good to know when to walk away. I often weigh making vs. buying + altering. If it’s more cost effective, or I’m too lazy, or I can’t find what I’m looking for in fabric/pattern, then I’m not afraid to purchase and alter to taste.

    And thanks for sharing! I don’t always share my fails on the blog. Perhaps I should!

    • We’re all human Tia and life is not perfect. I’m a little jaded by Bloggers’ posts of perfection. I like the eccentric and wonky, perhaps that’s why I sew…..

  15. Oh no that’s terrible news! I think I have a few AUFO’s hiding under my bed – very scary!

  16. Sorry. Thanks for sharing. But this often happens in real life (not the world of perfect bodies with perfect teeth on Instagram). One soon forgets (I am of course speaking from experience). Sometimes putting it in the bin is the best thing to do. Like you I do RTW without guilt. If it is well designed and looks good, and not too expensive, what is wrong with instant gratification?

  17. We all have some of these in our sewing stash. Waiting for the magic eureka moment when we figure out how to “fix” the mess up. It seems here the pockets messed you up. What about sewing patch pockets to hide the pockets that didn’t turn out, take away the cotton lining that you’re not happy with? Just a thought. Good luck with your sewing!

  18. I feel your pain. It is kind of liberating to finally chuck out a failed project though, is t it? I had a couple of dresses that sat around in my sewing room for literally years.

  19. Thanks for sharing! I will derive inspiration from this…I am afraid I just DON’T know when to retreat honorably. It seldom ends well if I continue with a doomed project and just suck out all the enthusiasm.

  20. Pingback: Start Living… | corecouture

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