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How to Tackle Your UFOs

Episode 163: A simple 5-step process for tackling all your unfinished sewing projects.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast • October 18, 2023 • Episode 163

In this episode of the podcast, Sarai and Haley talk about a five-step process for tackling all your unfinished sewing projects.

They cover why UFOs feel like such a burden, what common barriers stop you from finishing a project, and the steps you can follow to have fewer unfinished projects taking up space both mentally and physically.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode, and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

5 Steps to Finish Your UFOs

In case you haven't heard, the term UFO is basically an unfinished project that lingers in your sewing room. It's not about little green men. The term UFO stands for unfinished object and while it has origins in the knitting community, we’ve adapted it here in the sewing community as well.

Even though UFO sounds like it's about space aliens, unfinished projects are really more like ghosts that haunt you and mock you from the corner of your sewing room. It’s the perfect topic for a Halloween-themed podcast!

Step 1: Create a UFO Space

The first step is to create a space to store all of your UFOs so they aren’t actually staring you down while you sew all day.

Go around your sewing room, find all of your hidden, unfinished ghouls, and corral them into a box, a basket, or a bag that is out of sight but easy to access so you don’t forget they exist.

Step 2: Get Real About UFOs

You need to go through all of your UFOs and get real. The simplest way to do this is to make three piles.

  • The first is unfinished projects you can donate or give away.

  • The second is a pile of projects you can repurpose. You can cut them down into scraps or turn them into accessories or home dec projects.

  • The third is the pile of unifhished projects you actually plan to finish.

Once you have these three categories, your UFO pile has already shrunk! Now you only have to deal with the ones you plan to finish.

Step 2: Come Up With A Plan for Each UFO

Make a list of all your UFOs, write down what you need to do to finish it, and jot down how much time you think it will take you to finish it.

Step 3: Set a UFO Goal

So you don’t forget about the UFO box haunting your sewing, set a goal for long-term unfinished project management.

  • Every other projects needs to be finishing a UFO

  • Or maybe you finish your UFO pile before you cut anything new

  • Or set a time limit - I need to finish this in the next 3 months or it gets donated

Step 4: Set a UFO Ritual

The final step is to repeat. It can help to create a ritual around your UFOs so they a) don’t accumulate too quickly and b) become less threatening in general.

Some rituals might look like:

  • Going to your UFO box after you finish a project

  • Setting a date on your calendar for every 3 months

  • Or, if you ever find yourself pacing in your sewing room feeling antsy about what to do next, pull out a UFO—it’s satisfying to finish it, so you’ll get an energy boost for your new sewing plans.

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