Happy New Year, everyone!
I was a little disappointed at first when I looked back at the posts from this year and realized how few there were, but it was a good time to remind myself that this was a crazy year, and that’s ok! I only completed three major projects, plus a few smaller ones, but all three are things I’m extremely proud of. Sometimes I forget that quality is better than quantity (and also fits better in my little house!). I think back to a few years ago, when it seemed like I was cranking something out every week or two, but then I remember that the things I’m making are becoming ever more complex and time consuming!
It was also a weird year for starting one project, and then having something else more urgent come up, so hopefully this year I will have time to go back and revisit some of the things that had to drop off the schedule in 2019.
So let me take a minute to look back at the things I made this year, and check in on a few UFOs (un-finished objects) that may pop up again in 2020!
Daenerys Dragonstone Dress
Actually, looking back, this is the reason I only got three big projects done! Meet the dress that, in my hubris, I thought I could crank out in a month or two, and which then took nearly half the year to make! That’s what I get for being an embroidery nut…
I started the corset for this outfit in January, and over the course of the next five-and-a-bit months made the dress, cape, boot covers, wig, ring, and hairpiece. I have also now made leggings to go under it. In this photo I was just wearing black jeans. As much as it frustrated me at times, and as many times as I was tempted to just throw in the towel, I’m really thrilled with how it turned out, and glad that I pushed through. You can read all about it here.
Checked Silk Waistcoat
This waistcoat is the only other thing that I managed to complete during the five month Daenerys marathon! I got Brandon the fabric from Burnley & Trowbridge for his birthday in December, and I wanted him to have a nice, new waistcoat to wear to the winter ball at Locust Grove in February. The waistcoat is all handsewn, and pairs great with our 1820s outfits! It’s one of too many things this year that haven’t gotten a write up on the blog.
UFO: Yellow 1780s Stays
And here we come to the first un-finished object of the year. I had, of course, intended to start these stays much sooner than I did, but then my life was subsumed by the Mother of Dragons. I don’t care for my current 18th century stays at all–they’re too large and not very flattering. I made a valiant effort to complete these in order to wear them with the next project, but ran out of time. In the end, I had to drop the stays for the time being so that I could finish my new chemise à la Reine in time to wear it to Jane Austen Festival along with the other Custom Wig Company ladies.
I cannot wait to get these babies done this year! All the boning channels are sewn (by hand!), so really, the worst is over.
My old rump was looking pretty sad and deflated, so I really amped things up! Learn how to make your own stuffing out of used wine corks here:
Chemise à la Reine
This was a project I’ve been excited to make for a while! For years at Custom Wig Company we’ve talked about doing a set of coordinated chemise dresses to wear to the Jane Austen Festival, and this year we finally did it! I chose to do one with a fitted, pleated back and gathered front. It is entirely handsewn, and I enjoyed every second of it. It was really satisfying to combine a lot of handsewing skills and construction techniques that I’ve been picking up over the last few years. The other best thing about it after I’d just spent 5 months on a single project? It only took 9 days! Read about the construction here.
1850s Underpinnings (Corset, Hoops, and Petticoat)
It’s always a fun adventure to embark on a new period! I particularly like this corset (made from a Redthreaded pattern). The hoop and petticoat patterns came from Truly Victorian. Most of the materials came from my stash, too, which is always a joy. You can read about these three pieces here.
These pieces went to support the third big dress of the year:
1850s Cotton Day Dress
This dress hasn’t gotten a write up because I finished it up at four in the morning the night before I needed to wear it, and I still have some modifications to make, and trim to add, so I’ll wait until it’s fully complete to blog about it. 1850’s was a period I would never have gotten into if it wasn’t for my friend Amy playing Queen Victoria at events. I’ve taken on the roll of one of her Maids of Honour, and so I needed a dress to fit the roll! I’m so glad I made this one, because as soon as I put it on, I was in love! I can’t wait to bring more 1850s plans to fruition in the future!
UFO: Late 18th Century Frock Coat
This one barely rates a mention, really. But, I have cut it out and sewn the center back seam, so it’s technically a work-in-progress. I basically didn’t exist in October, because I was playing a costumed character at the zoo for their month-long Halloween festivities in addition to my regular job, and I hugely overestimated how much costuming I would be able to do while also doing that. Brandon was more in need of a new waistcoat than a new coat for our trip to Williamsburg in November, so the coat got set aside to make room for that.
18th Century Bits (Two Projects, Really)
Best laid plans… At the beginning of the year, I was planning to have so many lovely new things for our trip to Williamsburg, where I was teaching a tambour embroidery workshop. New stays, new dress, cloak, new hat, new full suit for Brandon. In the end, he got a new blue waistcoat, and I got a red short cloak, and we both had a wonderful time! All those projects are back on the slate for 2020, though!
And that’s all! After that, it was Christmas presents all the way for the rest of the year!
What’s coming in 2020?
That wraps up the journey of 2019, so what’s in store for 2020? Big plans, but also an exciting new pledge.
There are a lot of reasons to use up your stash. I’d like to save money to do something big for my 30th birthday next year. I’d also like to open up some space in our tiny house. Plus, it’s certainly better for the planet all around if we use the things we have instead of buying new ones.
So, in case you haven’t guessed yet: 2020 is the year of the stash! From today, I will not be buying any fabric for myself for at least a year. I am allowing myself to buy notions, trimmings, linings, etc… as necessary so that I don’t have to compromise the quality of my work, but all main fashion fabrics and as many other things as possible have to come from the stash.
I went through my stash a few months ago, and counted up 35 potential projects. Some are UFOs; some are projects that have been on the docket for ages, but keep getting delayed; some are re-makes of older things I’m not as happy with; some are just ideas for what to do with fabric I picked up just because I liked it; and some are ideas for leftover fabric from old projects. Considering I only finished 9 pieces total in 2019, I think I’ll have plenty to keep me busy and then some!
There are lots of plans, but here are the first few things on my list: Brandon’s new 18th century suit (UFO), my new 18th century stays (UFO), 1850s ball gown with fabric Brandon got me for Christmas, and the elusive multi-year project that is the tambour’d Regency ball gown (UFO).
I’m actually really excited for this. I’m sure I’ll be distracted and tempted by other things, but this will give me a chance to work on projects that I’ve been really looking forward to, but that keep getting pushed to the back of the queue.
Wish me luck, and I hope that your 2020 is bright!