an actual finished project!

IMG_2093It’s been a while since I’ve had anything sewing-related to show off. It’s not because I haven’t been sewing at all, because I have. But I’ve done that ridiculous thing of starting too many projects, and getting nearly to the end of them all, but never quite managing to finish them off.

This weekend I decided enough was enough. ‘I’m bored of unfinished things!’ I shouted, and declared that I was going to spend Friday doing nothing but sewing, and finish at least one project.

Where to start? The birthday presents that are six months late? The bedroom blind that I took down in February and never replaced? The hat I made in August which doesn’t quite fit properly? Peter’s robe that I started making for Christmas 2009 and never finished? Aarrgghh!

I decided to start with the project that was taking up the most room, and that I’d been working on most recently. Some friends got married back in June, and we planned to make them a celebratory picnic blanket. I started it, and it didn’t look right, so I took it apart and started again, and then it got too difficult, so I abandoned it, right in the middle of the attic floor. It’s not really picnic weather any more, so it’s now a snuggling-on-the-sofa blanket instead.

IMG_2095The idea was simple – nine large fleece squares, edged with a contrasting material. I cut the squares, cut the strips to go between them, and sewed the first couple on.

Then I hit the first problem. It’s actually quite difficult to sew strips onto squares like that. I can’t really explain why, because I’m not entirely sure I understand why, but I could not figure out how to do them in the right order.

Then we decided the colour of the strips was all wrong, and had to start again. I didn’t even take any photographs at that stage because I was too busy despairing and wishing I’d just donated to their honeymoon fund.

Eventually I sewed the front, and it started to look quite like a blanket.

IMG_2094Of course the seams weren’t straight, and somewhere along the line my squares had mysteriously become not square any more, but there was a certain rustic charm.

Until I turned it over to do the back.

IMG_2096Gah! One of the advantages of using fleece was that it didn’t need to be backed with a different fabric, but it turned out that this was also quite a major disadvantage. All those nice neat strips on the front had to be matched with nice neat strips on the back. Which would probably have been easier if I’d properly measured the strips and the squares, and sewn straight lines – none of which I managed.

First I had to sort out those gaping holes. The dragon fabric strips are quite lightweight, and a bit stretchy, and just would not sit flat. I ended up loosely sewing them together so I get the backing strips on.

IMG_2099By this point I’d been going for around six hours, not including the countless hours before Friday. I’m afraid I swore quite a lot. But I can be pretty determined when I put my mind to it, and I wasn’t giving up without a fight.

And so the strips on the back were sewn on, and the edging done, and finally the blanket started to look like a blanket.

IMG_2104IMG_2105Ok, so the seams aren’t straight, and the squares aren’t square, and the whole thing is considerably smaller than when I started because I had to keep slicing the ends off to make it straight, but it’s cosy with a hint of glamour, and by the end I was actually starting to quite like it.

IMG_2106In fact, I was almost sad when I had to give it away. I think it would have looked better in my living room actually.


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6 Responses to an actual finished project!

  1. Hazel says:

    Well done! It looks fabulous. And I know that ‘why on earth did I start this?’ feeling. In my case my sewing aspirations are better developed than my abilities or my patience…

    I also have a house full of *almost* finished projects of all descriptions. Spending a day concentrating on them is a very good idea.

    • Thanks Hazel! I know very well that feeling of aspirations being much better than abilities and patience…

      I’m actually starting to think it’s a good idea to put aside a day a month or something to work on unfinished projects…

  2. essexhebridean says:

    Oh that’s brave! Any sort of patchwork totally defeats me I have to confess, so I applaud you for even thinking of this project! I applaud you even more for turning out such a beautiful finished article though!

  3. I’m so glad I read this post today. I too have a lot of unfinished sewing projects and I had half planned to spend tomorrow (a child free day) to try and finish some of them. This post has now inspired me to PROPERLY plan to have a sewing day tomorrow. Thank you.
    The blanket looks fab too. I bet they were over the moon with it x

  4. Helena Romanowska says:

    I love that blanket! Summer picnic but also Christmassy colours. I would be over the moon with a pressie like that.

  5. Gill says:

    Doing some catching up….that blanket is beautiful, and yes I have lots of what I call UFO’s too!

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