Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 In Review

This year has been productive, mostly in the way I planned, although not exactly. I'm holding next year's plans loosely; I have projects planned for the first half of the year, but the 2nd half is unplanned.

In January, I went to the museum and got to experience research first-hand. Lot's of pictures and online research ensued. I started to blog about Neoclassicism (see my post about the Rose-Colored Glasses), but as far as research goes, ideas are hard to pin down. I got derailed almost right after that post was written. I learned a lot, but putting those ideas down with sources is tough because it's been a while.
Photo Credit: Idaho Historical Museum

The Historical Sew Monthly was a complete bust this year. I think I finished two challenges. I didn't forget about it, the challenges just were completely out of what I was working on.

I also got to meet Gina White in person!
Chocolate was such a lamb and SO EXHAUSTED from plunging through 2 foot snow like the unworked maniac she was. Go to Gina's blog to read more about that experience!

In February, I completed my 1860's green plaid evening bodice. I am SO happy with the fit of it, that part turned out perfect. All in all it's not as exciting as a completely new project. As much as I like the bows, I think I may remove the one's on the shoulders for future wearing.

I also completed the Scroop Fantail skirt, which my sister really likes!

Spring was filled with more research than sewing, but in June I started sewing the 1805 dress that was a goal for 2017. It was finished it very quickly; it was a fun project and turned out exactly how I wanted it to. However, I have zero accessories and it's too basic to even photograph without any. So a goal for 2018 is to finish the fichu I started, buy a pair of American Duchess shoes to go with it, and sew a bonnet. I've had the pattern for at least 2 years just sitting around! Here's a preview of the completely hand-sewn ruffles.

In August, I started researching designs for an overdress for the c. 1800 dress I finished last year. The tunic turned out really well; to me, it's not the most amazing thing I've ever sewn, but the photoshoot may be the closest thing to fame I'll ever feel!

I masterminded a project with my sister in September; I won't say I sewed this dress, since she technically did all the actual work, but I drafted the pattern and gave step-by-step instructions. It's basically a replica of the Clio dress; as much as she loves it and all it's graceful twirliness, she had already worn it 4 times, and the armholes had always been really uncomfortable. So it is STILL the dress that never dies, it simply lives on in a different color, with better armholes. Sorry, this is the only picture I have of it!
When asked what she wanted to name it, I think she said, "King Louise XVth." ?!?!

A few months ago, I started volunteering at the Idaho Historical Museum; it's given me the chance to see a LOT of historic garments. Sadly, I can't give any pictures out, because they have a privacy policy.

Another goal for 2017 was to pass on some knowledge in some way; I think I had either online tutorials, or in-person instruction in my mind. I now have a brilliant student, Emily, who has been working with me since June. She's learned how to draft simple patterns, work with a graph, hand-sewing skills like cartridge pleating, techniques like knife-pleating, hand-hemming, darts, piping, binding and corset-making skills like boning, busk-insertion and grommet installation. In 6 months she's sewn a chemise, drawers, corset, ruffled bustle, ruffled petticoat, and now we're working with a really complicated Janet Arnold pattern.
This is just the underskirt, over the bustle and petticoat.

In October, I really wanted a new corset for upcoming later Victorian projects; not that my old one isn't any good, but the bust shaping isn't quite what I want it to be. I've also always wanted a fancy corset. Since it still isn't 100% done (flossing is ALMOST there, and then binding), I'm not going to post any pictures. Also sometime during the year, I finished a lobster tail bustle and petticoat to go over it. The lobster tail bustle might just be my favorite project; it took maybe 10 hours, but it was a ton of fun to make, and it super satisfying to wear! It still needs one more petticoat to hide the ridges.

In 2018, I have plans to attend Costume College! Yay!!!!! So I need to plan outfits to wear there. Most of the undergarments made will be used for dresses this year. I would like to wear the 1805 dress there, but the other 2 dresses that I have planned so far have yet to be started. My list of projects include:

An 1820's corded, bodiced, A-shape petticoat 
1820-29 Petticoat from the V and A

A new Regency chemise (I ripped the sleeves off mine so they wouldn't show, but I need one with sleeves!)

Combination undergarments, and maybe a bustle pad? Both of these things are optional, since I technically have a chemise and drawers I can wear and a bustle pad may not be needed.

Complete dress ensembles are:

An 1879 evening dress, in yellow shot taffeta. I am completely in love with everything natural form. One of my maybe plans from last year was that blue wool natural form dress; as much as I love that design, I honestly love every single 1877-80 design I see. So probably more of that to come either later this year or in 2019.
 December 1879 Peterson's Magazine

An 1825 morning dress in silk, color undetermined (anyone know what Egyptian flame-colour is???)
June 1825 Ladies Monthly Museum

1884 walking dress; I have red wool challis for this project already, but I can't find red and black striped silk! Why!?!** This is a project my friend Tiana and I planned maybe 6 months ago, and that was what initially got me making a new corset and the lobster tail.
1884 Revue de la Mode

An 1860's evening dress in barred turquoise organdy (this was on my to-do list LAST year, sheesh!) **
This design isn't final, but it's about the right color and I LOVE IT! 1862 Les Modes Parisiennes


An 1805 bonnet
November 1807 Ladies Magazine; or something along these lines?

An 1805 fichu (50% finished)
This painting, while undated of Louise Christine Egbertine Francoise Hora Siccama, is a little early for this project, but this style of fichu with the ruche I've seen in portraits dated a little before, and a little after, the 1803-1807 window I've got going.

Maybe a spencer or half-length pelisse to go over the 1805 dress? That's an if-I-have-time project.**
A little blue reticule to go with the 1825 dress
An 1825 lace cap
1884 Bonnet/cap/hat thingy **

** = probably not for Costume College, but hopefully after wards sometime this year.

As much as I would like to make a New Year's resolution about not making any more corsets because they take WAY more time than is warranted, I'm guessing after Costume College I may be inspired to try a new era, so I really am not making any promises. I keep thinking I should branch out of the 1800's (I'm thinking early 1700's at some point), but honestly I could be occupied with the Victorian era my entire life!

While I didn't complete all of my to-do's for 2017, I'm hoping 2018 will be doable, although all the post Costume College projects are questionable and I'm not set on them. I did reach my research goal; I don't know what that was exactly, but I learned A LOT this year. If you want fashion plates, or ideas for fabric, or want the original fashion plate description, come to me! Also a lot on Victorian dress etiquette, which I'm thinking I may turn into a video.

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