Wednesday, 17 January 2018

2017 in Review

Time for the annual year in review post! And this blog turns 5 years old today!

2017 was a much better year than 2016, but I still feel like I only sewed a tiny number of garments. There are 29 photos in my 2017 projects folder, but only about 16 of them are garments of any substantial size. This year I hope I will sew a bit more, and continue to decrease the pile of unfinished things.

I think, out of all of the projects I did this year, the greatest accomplishment was finally finishing my 1789 fashion plate outfit. Everything but the breeches was made in 2017.
Of course I have complaints about the coat, as the materials were not good, but I'm very pleased with how it looks from a distance. I think the hat was very good for a first attempt, and I would like to make more. The stockings are also much better than the first horrible attempt at them several years ago.
I finished those darn strawberry pockets! Finally! They've been sitting in a trunk ever since, but I'm just glad they're done.
My Beardsley inspired waistcoat isn't really a 2017 project since almost all of it was done in the previous 2 years, but it is another thing I'm glad to have finished! I hadn't learned how to do covered buttons properly when I did it though, so I might have to carefully unpick and re-cover them sometime...
Another darn waistcoat from that ridiculously thick secondhand coat. It's warm and I wear it fairly regularly, but the fabric really is far too bulky for it.
The dinosaur waistcoat was awful!! It didn't fit at all! Foolish me, using a pattern that was fitted to someone else and altering it without mocking it up.
I've taken the lining apart, and will re-use it in a better waistcoat that is actually fitted to me.
Good things about my grey breeches: They fit, they're a nice colour, the material cost very little, and they're my first pair that actually buckles at the knee.
Bad things about my grey breeches: They are so, so very synthetic. They make a shwip shwip shwip sound when I walk, just like the snow pants I had when I was a little kid. I do not like that!

The black breeches I made earlier are also rather awful, as they button at the knee and are unlined cheap poly-cotton. This year my breeches will be nicer.
I quite like my block printed fishy banyan! I do wish I hadn't done button tabs though, as they make the already wide overlap very slouchy and rumply. I should have just put interfacing and buttonholes on the edge.
The indoor linen cap is very nice to wear around the house when it's chilly, and I think more indoor caps are definitely in order.
The Nelson undershirt is so warm!! It is pilling a bit, but other than that I have no complaints about it.
I hated these monster slippers when I first made them, but after a while I got over the minor imperfections and have been wearing them every day for about 9 or 10 months. They've become quite worn and dirty, and I will need to make new slippers sometime this year.
The ruffly bed jacket was a sort of trial run for a second one which I have still not finished. It's quite good for when my arms get cold in the summertime when I'm wearing a sleeveless nightgown.
Speaking of nightgowns, I love my dye paste hem monsters very much!
Oh, right. I forgot about this costumey shirt. I still have a mostly complete felt doublet thingy to go with it that I need to finish.
This was an awfully good year for my unfinished things pile! These stays aren't something I'm likely to ever wear, but they were started several years ago and now they're finally done.

I still need more shirts, but I made two new linen ones this year, which is good.
I forget exactly how much of the stuff in my surface design post was done in the past year. I haven't made anything out of my printed fabric, aside from the fish robe, and a pillowcase and sleeve board cover that I made for school.

I also made 4 brown suits for a theatre company, about 80 or little velcro pouches for a friend, a bathrobe for my mother, eight fleece monsters for a local children's author (and there's many more to come), and 30 block printed heart cards for a doctor.

I also made a few small un-blogged things, like these handkerchiefs.
5 of them have monsters on the corners, so they are monstergrammed.
And some embroidery samples! Here are my two favorites.
Copied from a suit embroidery pattern from 18th century embroidery techniques.
I have a lot more little silk squares that I'd like to do more samples on!

Monster friend on a scrap of soft, slubby cotton.
So, hmm. I guess I'll post a list of some things I'd like to do in 2018:
  • More shirts and pants, because I'm still rather low on shirts, and am down to 2 pairs of wearable pants again. Though I do have more breeches than pants, so hopefully I will make a habit of wearing them more regularly.
  • Death's head buttons. I keep meaning to learn how to do them but haven't yet.
  • More HSM submissions than last year. Which should be easy, because last year I only did 3. I want to focus mostly on the 1780's-90's, so as to have more outfit options.
  • More accessories! I need gaiters, better cravats & stocks, and at least one or two more hats.
  • A 1730's outfit. I already have good fabrics for the coat & waistcoat in my stash. (Actually I have good stuff for 3 different waistcoat options...)
  • I want to finish more of my unfinished things. I've shrunk the pile but there are still quite a few things left. Especially the black wool overcoat that I started several years ago.
  • I'd also like to get into the habit of keeping time sheets on things. I've been terrible about tracking my time in the past, and consequently I don't know how long anything I make takes.


  1. I love it! You've made (or finished) a number of beautiful things over the last year.

    I also need to learn how to do death's head buttons...if you make a tutorial, let me know.

    On time sheets, I keep track in my journal entries, like so:(Paletot: 40:25 hours). Right now I'm also using a stopwatch app on my phone which can keep track of 8 different timers, and doesn't seem to have a limit--previously, my stopwatch only went to an hour.

    1. Thank you! You made beautiful things too!

      I've seen a couple tutorials on other sites for making death's head buttons, so I'll probably just leave a link to them.

      A stopwatch would be very useful. I tried using a mechanical one a few years ago, but it was sticky and the hands kept jamming, which was no good. For now I'm writing down start and stop times on scrap paper. A bit of a bother, but at least in encourages me to work on stuff for longer chunks of time.

  2. A little late to the party, but your stays look lovely, your monstergrams are adorable, and your embroidery is beautiful!