Progress Report | A New Winter Coat

We’ve experienced a bit of a cold snap here in Chicago so I decided to pull out the coat that I started *cough* last January *cough* and try to finish that beast up. I pulled it out of the bag and literally stared at it for about 30 minutes trying to figure out what the heck I was doing and what the next step was. I eventually decided that the next step was taking out the Thinsulate I was interlining the coat with. If I had to be honest with myself, which I did, it was just too bulky and I knew I wasn’t going to wear it even it it was the warmest coat on the planet. It doesn’t matter how cute or warm the coat will end up if I’m going to feel awkward / like the Michelin man in it I’m not going to wear it. This post is also about something else though…

Hi, my name is Jen and I am addicted to starting projects. I love finishing projects and getting lots of use from them, but starting them is my all time fav. So many ideas and I want to work on them all right now all the time! My intern Maggie and I just made each other a challenge yesterday, we are giving ourselves a week to complete our winter coats and if we both have them done by Wednesday we are taking the day off to celebrate the holidays by doing a winter coat photoshoot, stopping at Davids Tea and whatever else we feel like doing. Here’s my question for you, am I the only one with this starting things obsession? There must be others, please tell me I’m not alone!!!

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36 Responses to Progress Report | A New Winter Coat

  1. Anke says:

    A winter coat!? I think it’s so so brave of you guys to tackle such a daunting project! I also tend to start things and then get bored or frustrated half way through… sometimes it helps to put a project aside and continue after a couple of weeks (…or months – although there is the frustrating side-effect of not knowing what you were doing when you stopped). Anyway, I think there is nothing better than finally finishing a long-term project, so fingers crossed for you and Maggie – can’t wait to see the final products!

    • Luckily we’re both winter coat making veterans of the thought of finishing them in a week would be a bit daunting for sure! I totally agree with the feeling of finishing projects, that’s the weirdest part for me, I love finishing things and crossing them off my list and nonstop stress about unfinished things, yet the unfinished things persist! Ha, oh well…

  2. Mary says:

    At one point, I took stock, because I knew that there were more projects than I could believe, and I was right. Over 50 half-finished projects. And that wasn’t counting the knitting. So I’m trying to be more disciplined with the starting and the finishing. I think it has to do with that inevitable moment when you realize that the picture in your head isn’t lining up with what’s in front of you. I’m working on my winter coat today too!

    • Right now I have 3 unfinished projects, one personal sewing, one personal knitting and a downloadable pattern I’m working on for here, though we all know that I’ve been sewing and knitting other things in the mean time. Bad bad bad!!! If we’re counting projects that we have fabric for but haven’t started cutting then I don’t even want to go there….MORTIFYING how many it is! Ha!

  3. Amanda says:

    I am the worst about starting things, getting them almost done, and then getting distracted when there are one or two things left to do–probably because I hate hemming, hate weaving in ends on knitting projects, etc. I am even worse about planning projects, getting everything I need, and then not starting! Way too many plans and not enough time.

    • Oh man, don’t get me started about weaving in ends. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong and they’re going to come out eventually so I just stall out on that. Caitlin of The Story Girl just coined the term Weaving Ends Syndrome (WES) and I am definitely infected. Hahaha. Planning is just so much fun though, gah!!!

  4. sallie says:

    I guess I’m odd, but I have trouble STARTING a project! I know I’ve probably talked about this before, but when I’m staring down yardage of beautiful fabric and considering a drawer full of patterns, or an internet full of patterns, or the possibility of drafting my own I get overwhelmed by the options and caught in idea gridlock, looking for “perfection”. Sometimes looking for inspiration helps, but mostly I just need to trust my gut and plow forward. I usually find the middle parts of a project pretty smooth sailing. But I hate hemming. So sometimes I stall again at the very end, but usually not for long because I can usually tell myself, “come one, you’re SO close! Just hem the damn thing and you’ll have a new (fill in the blank)!” I also think that since I really only buy supplies for about one month at a time I really don’t have the option of starting a new project when I get bored with the one I’m working on. That’s it! It’s all I’ve got! So if I want to keep my fingers moving I better find some enjoyment in inserting this zipper, or whatever!

    The coat looks like its going to be fantastic – is that a buffalo check lining I spy? You always have the best taste.

    • sallie says:

      Oh, P.S. I really love the idea of you and your intern motivating each other with the “carrot” of a day off of work to just hang and have a girls day.

    • Ah yeah…I used to be that person, I know where you’re coming from! I don’t really have any feelings about hemming, sewing on buttons or those things people usually hate at the end I think that’s because I’m the master at doing as little hand sewing as humanly possible on my garments. What’s stopping me most of the time is that I screwed something up (Icelandic sweater) or I need to seam rip (winter coat) and I just can’t even think about it! Maybe we need to consult on starting and finishing projects for some moral support…enablersssssss.

      It is a buffalo check lining, it’s flannel and is actually more desaturated than in this photo, more of a salmon color. I am SO in love with it!!

  5. Michelle says:

    I start new projects anytime I’m feeling restless. I can’t help myself.

    I’m interested to know, what are you going to use to interline your coat with in place of the thinsulate? Chicago winters can get pretty brutal; I would love to make outwear I can use past November, but I’m short on ideas and fear the inevitability of another season in my puffy down-filled sleeping bag, er… coat.

    • I’m not totally sure, I was thinking about trying to find thinner Thinsulate, but I may just go with the wool and lining and puffy up when the time comes.

      Are you in Chicago also? They keep forecasting a cold winter this year but who knows after last year…hardly needed the puffy at all!

  6. Caitlin says:

    Dude! I am the same way. I always have a bunch of projects going and then when I get sick of one, I’ll stash it away until I forget about it then one day pick it up and finish it (maybe). It’s totally normal but sometimes frustrating.

    It looks like you’ve gotten a good part of your coat done from the photos, so maybe not too much left? Did you make the pattern for this one?

    • Definitely frustrating but I guess that’s just how it goes. I don’t always feel like working on a certain thing so I’ll start another…maybe we’ve just got it all figured out!

      Mmm it’s all cut out but basically that’s where I’m at. I did make the pattern, so lets hope it all works out, haha only made a partial muslin of this sucker.

  7. maddie says:

    yes! My mind gets going with future projects and I always have to take a step back and remember how busy I am on a day to day basis. “Oh, I could make the ball gown,” I say to myself. Nevermind that I can barely get my laundry done every week! I think starting projects are fun because everything makes sense at the beginning. When you get into a projects, that’s when things start going awry.

    • Haha yeah, always too many ideas and never enough time and that’s so true about pushing past a hiccup. I like when things go smoothly and I don’t have to worry about whether or not I look like a giant puffy snowman in a tailored wool coat!

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  9. Jane says:

    Yes the same here- Mary’s comment rings true for me, if it doesn’t look like the idea in my head I put it to one side and procrastinate or start something else to get over that slightly defeated feeling.

  10. crab&bee says:

    I did the same thing last month and finally pulled out the Minoru coat I started in April last month! Good luck on your winter coat 🙂

  11. Jenn S says:

    I’m with Sallie on this one. I have trouble starting projects! I’ll spend weeks planning, finding patterns, shopping for fabric, but once I get to pre-washing I stall. I’m really good at finishing projects though! I’ll block off an entire weekend just to get a project done. I’m also good at procrastinating school work to sew 🙂
    Good luck finishing your coat!

    • Hahaha, if there’s something I can procrastinate and sew instead I’ll totally do it, that’s when I get my best sewing done! I actually think my forte is buying the fabric for the project, that is something I need to stop doing for a while.

  12. My weakness is too many projects in my head, getting side-tracked with the latest idea, buying too much fabric and never having the right one! But I only have one project going at the time… Till it’s done I don’t start the next because I want to see it finished too badly. Funny because in other stuff I always jump from one thing to the next. Hope you get the day off 😉

  13. sarah says:

    my problem is that i have discovered that i am SUCH a project starter…and i guess i enable myself to be that because it is deeply engrained in my nature.
    i have complete project ADD but luckily it isn’t as bad with sewing as it was when i used to knit. sewing “finishing” is less annoying to me than knitting “finishing”.
    and if i hit a bump in the road during the project that definitely hinders it ever being completed!
    good luck!

  14. I’m guilty of this. Mostly because I’ll see some garment I want to knock off, get all excited by it and drop what I’m doing. Then I see some other garment and the cycle happens again. This also happens when I hit some sort of fitting problem I wasn’t expecting. Much rather be sewing than seam ripping.

  15. Oh yes, you are not alone! I love the planning, buying the materials, and starting…as well as imagining what it will look like when I’m done. This happens to all sorts of craft projects for me, not just knitting or sewing. I guess I have too many ideas of things I want to make and my attention span to one project is so short.

  16. Amy says:

    I start things and don’t flnish them all the time. It’s what half of my fabric bins are- not yardage, but cut-out-and-ready-to-go projects that I already feel done and over with. Every once in a while I pick up an old project and force myself to complete it, which then leads to me actually wanting to finish everything else. I think for me it’s more of an issue of feeling burnt out. When you sew for a living, it’s really hard to turn to your own projects at the end of the night and sew even more.

  17. Stephanie says:

    HA HA HA! Omg, I’m the exact same way. My started objects to finished objects ratio is embarrassing. I’m challenging myself too! I’m busy with jewelry and knitting a few holiday gifts, but I’m hoping tomorrow I get the chance to turn on my sewing machine.

    I can’t wait to see your coat!

    • I am not even going to publish my started to finished ratio, the most embarrassing is my projects i have fabric for vs projects I have finished ratio. Yikes!!!!! Your knitting and jewelry look so good, you’re totally finishing things up!

  18. gingermakes says:

    Hahahaha, I have a pile of stuff gathered for a jacket… a gray jacket… with a red flannel buffalo check lining. Now I’m going to look like a real copycat! Although mine is a darker gray twill, so not identical.

    I start so many projects and abandon them! I have to force myself to finish things. It takes me so long to finish projects that I often pass the date or season that I wanted them for, then it’s realllly hard to motivate myself to finish. :/

    • Hahaha I doubt people will think that, I can’t wait to see it. What kind of jacket is it going to be?

      Oh yeah, that is the worst, when you start making something and then the weather immediately changes…ugh such a bummer! We need to start some sort of group for people like us. Project Starters Anonymous or something like that, haha!

  19. Krista says:

    You are soooo not alone! My studio is packed with unfinished projects. I have a quilt I made in high school that is finished except for the final hand stitching of the edges. It’s been sitting in a box for over 12 years! I made it and never used it because it’s not finished… there’s just so many other amazing projects I want to start! Haha! I’m inspired by your post to finish them…that’s if I don’t start something else in the meantime. 🙂 This jacket looks like it’s going to be great!

  20. Unfinished projects = life stasis; the projects I start and then abandon for awhile I always manage to complete, but it may indeed take awhile. But with time I may be getting better. Now to start cutting down that fabric collection.

  21. Hi there, just found your blog from your convo on Twitter about other Chicago bloggers and your ‘follow’. 🙂 I definitely have startitis. For sewing, sometimes my ideas and project plans outpace my skills, I often have a couple of things going when I know I really shouldn’t. For knitting, sometimes I just want to knit everything-all-at-once!

  22. Amy says:

    I’m with you on this. I start a million things, trace patterns, whatever, and have a mountain of unfinished sewing projects, but I try not to let that nag me. I love inspiration and learning and some of my sewing projects were started with the intention of learning and I got bored once I got enough of what I came for. I think I’ve had to make peace with this part of my personality and not just in sewing. I like check lists, though–weird.

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