2017 Sewing Year in Review

This year’s sewing was definitely dominated by historical makes. There’s just always at least one event seemingly after another to sew for around here! My costume closet is getting pretty stuffed since it wasn’t just new dresses/outerwear pieces being made but also several new skirt foundations. And I’m also starting to run out of room on the hat shelves because for most of my new outfits I also made matching or coordinating hats!

Around this time last year I posted my 2017 sewing plans and I managed to complete everything on the list – and then some! (which isn’t helping with the space issue, haha)

In chronological order we have:

1780s Cutaway Front Anglaise + Big-Ass Hat

I put so much effort into the bodice back/en fourreau pleats but, of course, it was the hat that stole the show! I also have yet to figure out how/where to properly store said H.O.U.S. (hat of unusual size) in my house!

Raspberry Mint Sorbet 1880s Bustle Dress + Hat

Victorian Picnic 2017

This was a UFO from the previous summer that I was super happy to get off my plate and a dress that I just LOVE wearing!

c.1867/8 Sesquicentennial Dress + Hat

Probably the single most elaborate make of this year with the most tribulations in the process but very satisfying in the end! I hope I’ll get several more opportunities to wear it in future!

One of the maid events this year for me was going to Costume College in LA for the very first time!

I didn’t make a large number of new things for this. It being my first time I haven’t worn any of my stuff to CoCo yet – the benefit of being a newbie.

I did make a new gown for the Saturday evening gala, this c.1880 teal silk duchess number based on the painting “The Accomplice”

Teal Silk Duchess c. 1880 Evening Gown

To be honest, I’m not sure this bodice style is terribly flattering on me so I think I may alter it or just make a new one, probably with more of a v-neck and either short sleeves or a 3/4 sleeve dinner bodice. But this fabric is just glorious to work with and it was exciting to have the exact perfect fabric for re-creating something like a painting!

Natural Form Polonaise

I felt very clever re-using the underskirt from my gala gown for my Sunday ensemble and I just love the coordinating little silk c.1880 polonaise I made to go with it (the other major piece of sewing I did for CoCo). I actually like this outfit quite a lot more than the gala gown! And I’ll actually be re-wearing it for a historical fashion shown in North Carolina in early March!

Big Bustle Birthday Dress + Hat


Another big project – for a big/milestone birthday in 2017! I’d had this plaid silk for several years knowing I wanted it to be some kind of ruffly, bustle-y confection and was so happy (and not a little relieved) to have hit upon the perfect use and opportunity for it!

This ensemble also marked the completion of my list of 2017 sewing plans – and I still had 3 months of the year left! So I felt totally justified in taking on more projects, lol.

c. 1794 Striped Silk Open Robe + Hat

This project is a continuation of the fascination I’ve developed with mid-late 1790s open robes. After having made 2 sleeveless ones I had really wanted to try a sleeved one and The Lady Detalle’s November Pumpkin Tea provided the perfect excuse opportunity!

c. 1800 Grecian Tunic

Evening Soiree

Photo courtesy of In the Long Run Designs

This was a fairly quick little project, just a tunic to wear over a dress I already had – the same dress that I wore with the open-robe above and had made as part of my DAR-repro outfit with the little sleeveless vest/spencer. I totally forgot to ask for a full-length shot of this outfit, so hopefully I’ll get to wear it again in the not-too-distant future and get some more photos of it.

It was inspired by this fashion plate:

Costume Parisien. Love the turban, love the over dress.

18th Century Silk Muff

I started this at a workshop back last February and finally finished it this fall when I wanted a little break between large projects. I think it looks like a bon bon and I love it!

1780s Mint Wool Redingote + Hat

Modern Sewing

Not surprisingly, the volume of historical sewing left little time for modern/regular clothes sewing. This is actually starting to become a bit of an issue for my wardrobe, particularly for fall/winter. I actually really need some new clothes and really hope I can squeeze more regular sewing into 2018!

However, I’m really pleased with the very few things I did make – and really should have blogged about them!

First up was a new, heavy wool winter coat:

I had bought the fabric in Florence, Italy in September 2016 and while it’s a little scratchy to the touch it’s beautifully heavy and warm – enough, I think, to keep me toasty after we eventually move back up to Canada.

I finally made myself a spring jacket with the Luzerne Trench coat pattern from Deer & Doe. The main reason I haven’t blogged this one is that I really want to get pictures of it with the cherry blossoms in the spring and I finished this just a little too late for that last year, so hopefully it can work for this year. I think the colour will be just perfect with the cherry blossoms and have a feeling this coat is always going to remind me of my time here in DC!

I used some vintage plastic floral buttons on it that I love to death!!

and happily discovered that a small piece of lilac/pink print cotton I had coordinated perfectly to use as bias binding for finishing all the seams, since this is meant to be an unlined coat.

This past summer’s dress sewing was the total opposite of 2016’s Summer Dress Parade. *sad face* I made only one new summer dress, and even that was a UFO from 2016. However, it felt great to get it off the UFO pile and it became a go-to dress for summer 2017. I love the clean, sharp style and it’s really comfortable.

Perhaps the make I’m most proud of this year was a good friend’s wedding dress. This gown was a year+ in planning, fabric sourcing, designing, drafting, mock-ups & fittings and finally actually making but I think it was totally worth all the time and effort. Not only because I’m so pleased with how it turned out but also because I was so grateful to have been able to be part of my beautiful friends’ wedding in this way!

Sarelle Photos

It was a western/Chinese fusion wedding and I loved incorporating the pop of red into the western-style gown (the bride had 3 outfits for the day!) to reflect that.

Sarelle Photos

And I just loved working with Jill, she was so open to ideas and didn’t question me when I insisted on using only silk for the entire dress (apart from the cotton sateen lining and cotton organdy ruffles under the train).


She didn’t even flinch when, just over a month before the wedding I suggested we scrap the one-shoulder strapless bodice we were planning for this plunging v-neck style with pleated mid-riff instead, which I think was totally the right decision!

Sarelle Photos

Sarelle Photos

Sarelle Photos

And despite not being able to see the dress at all here, I do think this is my favourite photo of them from the day!


2017 Yardage Figures

In last year’s post I included my fabric acquisition vs usage and came out pretty well. That is not the case for 2017! I bought/acquired A LOT more fabric than I sewed. This is partially because most of my sewing was large historical projects which individually take up more time and thus use less yardage over all for the same length of time that I would be able to get in many more smaller projects (aka summer dresses). I also bought a lot more fabric than in 2016 – I blame the Costume College fabric shopping trip. However, this was offset somewhat by the amount of purging/destashing I did over the year and also helped offset the cost of all that new fabric since I sold most of what I purged.

Here are 2017’s figures:

bought/acquired:         308.8m

sewed                              111.9m

purged/destashed        100.0m


SO – how was your 2017, sewing-wise? Did you have goals that you did or did not accomplish? Do you keep track of your fabric purchasing vs using, or am I the only weirdo who does this? Do you have a 2017 sewing round-up? If so, post a link here, I’d love to check it out! Do you have 2018 plans? I sure do – and will probably be doing a post on those soon!

14 thoughts on “2017 Sewing Year in Review

      • I have subscribed by email for a long time, and now have switched to the wordpress reader. I find that I cannot follow blogs on the reader unless they either like a comment of mine or follow me, so I comment on the ones I enjoy, hoping they will like my comment so then I can follow them here! WordPress has glitches that are not solvable for me even with tech help, due to my older windows system.


  1. OH MY GOSH! I love every single thing you made. I can never decide what I like in wedding gowns, but this might just take the cake. I might need to steal that back design.
    I think the 1867 dress might be my favorite.


    • Maybe it’s the red & white combo you like so much ;o) As for the back of the wedding dress, well, we stole it from Oscar de la Renta, so be my guest!


  2. (I think the comment I tried to leave earlier got eaten, so I shall try again)
    Wow! You made SO many stunning things this year! I love your colour schemes and matching hats! Pale blues and greens are so very lovely.

    It had never even occurred to me to track how much yardage goes in and out of my stash, but I hope to keep time sheets for everything I sew this year, because I never know how many hours things take and that’s not good.
    I sewed a reasonable number of things this year, though not as many as I’d like. Here is my review post:


    In 2018 I plan to make a lot more 1780’s-90’s things, and to do a 1730’s outfit because I’ve been yearning for huge cuffs and big flouncy coattails (And an opportunity to properly wear a ton of historical makeup!)


  3. What a fabulous fashion show! So many beautiful gowns. Love the buttons on your pink coat, and I think the B.A.H. would do perfect double-duty as a lampshade! LOL! Looking forward to this tears projects!


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