The UFO Catalogue (complete and unabridged)

We’ve all got them, haven’t we? UFOs or UnFinished Objects.

Projects lying around the house that just need a hem or buttonholes – maybe you lost interest, or lost weight….or it didn’t turn out how you expected and you screwed it up in a ball and threw it at the wall.

I regret to admit that my UFO collection has been building up (for various reasons).

Here’s a catalogue of all ten, complete with excuses:

1. Pleated tops (two)

These are early samples of the pleated top from the December zine. At the time, I was still working out how to construct the top and sorting out the details (eg pleating, neckline, how to get it on, sleeves or sleeveless, low or zero waste, will the instructions fit in a zine? etc). These two tops weren’t suitable to use as finished samples, but they can be easily finished off and worn. They need neck & armhole binding, side seams and hems.

2. Pink corduroy jeans

The zero waste Carpenter trousers by Maison Deis. This is a trial I ran up in pink corduroy, which were then claimed by my teen who looks unspeakably cool in them. Unfortunately, I did this just before getting much worse with Long Covid (a reinfection? who knows?) and was too unwell to keep going. Then the weather got too hot to wear them.

3. Pocket on peanut dress

This is the bias cut top from the September zine, sewn onto the (free pattern) wrap skirt.

I’ve had a single patch pocket for it, pressed and ready to go, sitting by my machine the past several months.

4. Underarm gussets in orange top

The first and only pattern test for someone else I’ve ever done – a zero waste base layer top by Emily of Empty Hanger patterns. The underarm was too high but everything else was great, including the fabric I used. Ultimately abandoned by Emily due to underarm and grading issues. I still think it has potential.

I could wear this top if I added an underarm gusset, hemmed it, and added a neckband (I have perfect colour-matching ribbing to use).

5. Orange dress (complete remake)

Beautiful Japanese cotton, unwisely chosen for this dress. It’s a short-sleeved Eura dress that came out too small, but nothing a complete re-make won’t fix.

6. Bias cut tweed pinafore

Zero waste pinafore dress, from Birgitta Helmersson’s Zero Waste Patterns, cut on the bias.

Harsh reality: I really like it however probably will never wear it, but it should cut down to an A-line bias skirt very nicely (with in-seam pockets? Yes!).

7. Black top – needs sleeves

Holly McQuillan’s zero waste Arc T-shirt from the Zero Waste Fashion Design book. I had sleeve issues, but now have a way forward. This will look fab on my sister, who wear groovy black clothes.

8. Silk scarf – needs hem

An indigo dyed square of silk – just needs hemming! This has been sitting around since the fibre craft retreat we went to back in April 2023.

9. Zero waste coat

A quest for a zero waste coat with really great shoulders. Got as far as cutting it out, but then decided to write a book and the project got put aside (2 years ago!). A zero waste coat is on the agenda for 2024, but I don’t think it will look like this one.

Sorry, there’s not much to see in this photo.

10. Denim jacket with sashiko stitching

So embarrassed this one is on the list – it was the subject of numerous blog posts in November and December. I’ve since bound the hem, stitched the fastenings on and sewn the collar. It’s so very nearly done, and just needs a giant press stud on the collar, the topstitching threads fastening off and a little extra sashiko stitching.

I know what you’re thinking: finish these all off and it’s practically a capsule wardrobe!

I, Elizabeth M Haywood, formally pledge to the witness of all reading this blog post, that I will finish these UFO projects.

Cheers! Liz


  1. juliana bendandi on February 5, 2024 at 8:25 pm

    Dear Liz, Oh how I love this blog post! You are so kind to share your UFOs with us. I love seeing how even an experienced dressmaker and pattern cutter has cool stuff lying about taunting them to „go ahead and make me wearable“! Very much looking forward to the zero waste coat…just saying…❤️

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 10:22 am

      Many thanks Juliana. Just keepin’ it real 🙂

  2. Janie Hampton on February 5, 2024 at 11:14 pm

    I recently found an unfinished Vogue-pattern jacket in the attic, started in 1967! I abandoned it because I’d sewn the pockets too low, and then hid it because the fabric was a birthday present from my mum and I felt guilty. Revisiting it I realised it hadn’t been a complete waste of time – I had learned to make a welt pocket, and to be more careful about placing them.

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 9:39 am

      1967! Wow – is that some sort of a record in UFOs?? Did you end up finishing it?

      • Janie Hampton on February 6, 2024 at 11:47 pm

        My oldest UFO is my grandmother’s 1908 satin wedding dress, half made into a party frock by my mother circa 1930. I can’t bear to throw it away!
        No, never finished. It’s OK to accept that creativity means making mistakes – Picasso didn’t finish every painting, but they all led somewhere.

  3. Sandy on February 6, 2024 at 12:28 am

    I look forward to seeing the finished garments! And I’m impressed that you only have 10 UFOs!

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 10:21 am

      Only 10? How many do other people have????
      Some of these are bound to turn up in blog posts later 🙂

  4. Lesley on February 6, 2024 at 2:40 am

    A lovely list Liz, as you say practically a capsule wardrobe. Although are they for real life? What ever you do please allow yourself the luxury of time – recovering from covid you need time and no pressure, certainly not self imposed. Wishing you all the best – thank goodness, slow stitch is fashionable.

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 9:42 am

      Yes, totally for real life! They all live either on coathangers or folded up in a big bag by the sewing machine. I’m giving myself a year, and starting with some easy wins like the pocket on the peanut skirt.

  5. Nicola on February 6, 2024 at 6:33 am

    I do find these UFOs can go one way or the other – so once sorted they either become firm favourites or they languish at the back of the wardrobe. But yours are a beautiful selection of clothing, so I hope you manage to sort them out and they find their rightful place and you get wearing pleasure from them!

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 9:43 am

      Yes, agree – they can go either way, but isn’t it great when they become favourites?! Some of them will go to other people’s wardrobes 🙂

  6. Laurinda on February 6, 2024 at 6:58 am

    You can do it!

    • lizhaywood on February 6, 2024 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Laurinda 🙂 I feel like there’s some sort of equilibrium point where it’s less hassle to finish them than continually have them lying around the house.

  7. Anthea Martin on February 6, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    Loved this Liz, but you did not give yourself a deadline!! Look forward to following your progress on finishing your UFOs.
    Very reassuring that you too have UFOs. Back to finishing some of my UFOs.
    Take care
    Much love Anthea

    • lizhaywood on February 7, 2024 at 4:32 pm

      I’m giving it a year, and hopefully won’t generate any new ones in that time!

  8. Pippa on March 7, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    A cousin of my husband gave me a vintage UFO, a smocked baby dress that she abandandoned when her second child was born prematurely. Almost 30 years later it was passed to me for my then 10 month old and conveniently forgotten about until the kid turned 4 and I acknowledged that dark red tartan would never have suited my kid. It has instead been converted into stuffing for a yoga bolster. Now that I primarily sew zero waste patterns it is a much slower business accumulating fabric scraps for stuffing.

    Also on my UFO pile is the jockey print zero waste shirt that I self-drafted a pattern for. It is a wearable sample, but still needs buttonholes and the now bought buttons attached.

    • lizhaywood on March 8, 2024 at 7:56 pm

      “Vintage UFO” – I love that! Maybe one day someone will open up the yoga bolster and come across the tartan dress? If you put it in whole, that is.

      Since writing this post I’ve crossed 4 things off the list.

  9. Julie on May 1, 2024 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks Liz for “keeping it real”. I’ve delighted in reading everyone’s comments (albeit, very late!) … and particularly loved the Picasso reflection, Janie. It uncovered a memory… A few years ago, perhaps five, I finished a thick fleecy zippered jacket that I had cut out for my daughter to wear to school…. However, it was her son that got to wear it twenty-five years later! Somehow those pieces followed me through all my many moves. But the big joy is that my grandson loved wearing it.

    • lizhaywood on May 2, 2024 at 10:08 am

      I love that jacket story! It’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing the memory.

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