It’s January, so time for the annual re-cap of the last year! I always like these re-caps because they typically show that I did more than I thought. The big projects always take over a bit in my mind, but with all the ‘smaller’ things the work adds up!
I started the year finishing some 1830’s accessories. I started the bonnet at the end of 2020, and finished the covering and trimming. The pelerine was actually started before I finished my gold 1830’s dress as I wanted to know how much fabric I had left. I left it just cut and not sewn, as I didn’t need it at that time. I finished it over the holidays, and although I haven’t worn it yet, it is nice to have another option to play with when wearing 1830’s things!
Next up were two other unfinished projects. These two dresses got thrown into the ‘naughty-basket’ at some point, and I finally took time to take them out again. The first is a winter dress with a lovely fabric of 17th century skaters on it. The other one is a 1940’s model I was happy to finally finish.
My next project was a quick, unplanned one. I joined in filming for a TV series in Febuary (it will actually start airing next week!). However, based on pictures they choose for me to wear my dark green ball gown, even though it was freezing that week, and it should be around 0 Celcius on the day of filming. Cue: me sewing a bodice in a weekend. I had enough fabric left to make something with a high collar and long sleeves to wear, which would actually work with extra warm layers underneath. The plus side: we got some very nice pictures in the snow when I finished it!
After this quick project, I went back to the other thing I had been working on, which was a late 1900’s vest to match my split skirt. This was a real tailoring project, the first time using canvas interfacing or pad stitching, and I’m still really happy with how it turned out. It took quite a bit of time for a ‘simple’ garment, but it was a lot of fun to learn new stuff. I finished it just in time for a photoshoot, so thanks to Martijn van Huffelen for the pictures!
Then, in April, I joined as a pattern tester for the Selina blouse from Scroop Patterns. I’d had this pale blue fabric for a while with exactly such a blouse in mind, so it was nice timing. I haven’t worn this as much as I probably should, perhaps there’ll be some 1910’s events in the future to wear it also in a more historical setting?
After a spring of small projects, it was time for the long-term again. I had an event in October, and although I didn’t absolutely need a new dress, it was the perfect timing to finally use a gorgeous gold silk I’d had for a couple of years. I worked on this project for about four months, to make an underskirt, overskirt, train and two bodices. I really love how this fabric flows, and I loved wearing both the evening and the ball version.
The weekend before this same event, I decided to try to churn out a morning gown as well. It was an event with sleep-over, and there’s nothing better than a simple flowly gown for fancy breakfasts. I got this beautiful hand-print fabric from an Indian shop a bit before, and it made for a beautiful flowy gown. I might still go back and add some trim to this at some point, but I loved lounging around in it already.
Throughout the entire year, the thing I probably worked on most was actually not something historical, and not something for myself. In November 2020, I started on the wedding dress for my sister-in-law. This was such a lovely thing to work on. There were a lot of new things from me, from the tulle skirts to the mesh overlay on the bodice and the little pieces of lace. I took my time on this one, and finished it about 2 weeks before the wedding without needing to rush. It’s definitely one of the most neatly finished things I ever made, and one of the most special projects I’ve done. There’s posts on the skirt, bodice, lace, and the finished thing for who’s interested.
After the two big projects I finished in October, I took a little break. In November, I started sewing again and I made a second version of the split skirt, this time in black wool. This was a relatively simple project (I’d already made one before, which always helps), and something I think I’ll really enjoy wearing in daily life situations as well.
And that was it for finished projects in 2021!
Looking at what I planned at the beginning of the year, most of the concrete plans got done (there weren’t that many: the 1830s accessories, modern dresses, 1890s vest and wedding dress). The main thing which didn’t get finished are the hand-sewn 18th century stays. I did work on them, and I’m practically finished with the boning channels now, but I’ve been delaying the next step. I also didn’t do any of the ‘maybe’s’ I put in that post, but instead I did make the gold/black gown, which had also been on the wishlist for a while. And I made an 1890s bodice, a 1910’s blouse, a 1890’s wrapper and 1900 split skirt, none of which were planned. All in all it was a pretty good sewing year, especially considering the time that went into the wedding dress!
Everything is lovely, of course, but the two projects that I particularly enjoyed revisiting (or possibly seeing for the first time, I can’t remember?) are the pelerine and the green 1890s bodice. I love that the trim on the pelerine is both scalloped and gathered. It creates a nice, solid edge to the sweeping curves of the pelerine body. The green 1890s bodice is a great silhouette. I love the sleeves and I believe I can see a fabulous back of the neck bow, which is also a silly element of that period that I love!
Happy new year!