Where has the year gone? It has vanished all too quickly and when I look back at everything that I did and everything that I have seen I think I know why.
So… what did happen to 2018?
What did I sew?
After returning home after the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations in 2017 I didn’t stay idle for long and as the year turned over to 2018 I tried to use up part of my stash by making my Tartan and White dress.
I then turned all of my attention to my Robe a la Francaise, which was a time-consuming nightmare – stealing a good 3 months of my year. It was certainly a different project from all of my Victorian ones and I ended up just trying to get it finished instead of trying to do a good job. This will definitely need fixing up at a later date.
I then embarked on my Emerald Cape, which saw me spending hours and hours hand-sewing teeny tiny beads.
At the same time, I worked on my Aubergine Dress. I got as far as sewing up my dress before I got caught up and carried away with making Mum her 1890s Plum Outfit. I couldn’t stand the thought of sending her out into public without all of the proper undergarments and a cape to keep her warm.
At the very last minute, right before the Victorian Heritage Celebrations for the year, I made up Mum’s corset and both of our hats. Because of the last minute rush of finishing sewing projects and organising the historical fashion show, I did not have the time to photograph these items but hopefully, at some other time, I can arrange a photo shoot of Mum’s and my 1890s dresses together.
My 1890s Aubergine Dress was also completed in the lead up to the Heritage Celebrations. While I have had trouble with the hooks and eyes (a problem with the tension most likely), I am a huge fan of the sleeves so hopefully I can sort out the closure because I really want to wear it again and again.
What did I attend?
First up, for 2018 was the Ferrymead Easter Gala that my friend Edan organised. He did such a wonderful job, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I loved that I could help out setting up and packing away for the different events, and the amazing feeling of community.
Next, was the War Years Day at Taranaki Pioneer Village where we were welcomed back with open arms and got to meet some brilliant military reenactors.
Time travelling back to an earlier century, I attended the Bastille Day dinner and masquerade.
I then chained myself to my sewing machine and didn’t attend anything else until the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations. It was wonderful to spend time with my friends and to attend several events. I was also responsible for organising and presenting the historical fashion show, which provided me with a lot of nerves in the lead up to it, but also gave me another avenue for pursuing my love of Victorian Fashion.
What did I learn?
I have limits. As excited and passionate as I can get about a project or several, it is possible to take on too much and to get run down trying to tackle them all. I have a full-time job, I have family and friends that I want to spend time with, I have other hobbies, and, without at least eight hours of sleep, I can’t function properly. This is something that I need to take into consideration in future.
I belong to an amazing, supportive community. This year I found two amazing examples of this. The first was at Easter when everyone pitched in to help where they could at the different events – they didn’t have to be asked, they just jumped to it. The second was the Fashion Show that I organised where so many people were willing to be involved – on the catwalk and off. I was completely blown away by the support and really felt part of our amazing community.
What Did I Achieve?
If I look back at my goals for this year there are several that I have met:
Beading: I wanted to practice and use this skill in a project. I definitely achieved this with my 1890s Emerald Cape.
Embroidery: I wanted to try my hand at this skill and embroidered a pair of 18th Century pockets.
Millinery: I wanted to make more hats to practice this skill. I made a French Bonnet to go with my Tartan and White dress before Easter. In October/November I made two 1890s hats – one for me and one for my mother.
The best books to join my library this year were:
The Victorian Dressmaker by Izabela Pritchard. This long-anticipated book has been the most welcome addition and one that I am constantly picking up and reading. This will no doubt continue to be one of my go-to books for many years to come.
Embellishments by Astrida Schaffer. This has been a wonderful book to read through. It brilliantly details how different types of embellishments were used in Victorian dress and how they were used – knowledge that can be transferred to designing and sewing new dresses.
The House of Worth was such an amazing birthday present from my parents. Charles Frederick Worth is easily my favourite haute couture designer from the nineteenth century. I love that I can pick this book up at any time and thumb through the pages to admire so many of his beautiful creations.
Product I fell in love with
If you’ve been paying attention, this year I fell head-over-heels for Dames a la Mode jewellery and bought several pairs of earrings and some truly gorgeous brooches. Probably because I went through a phase of browsing Taylor’s Etsy shop or her actual website when I was bored. But, mainly because every single piece is beautiful and I just want to buy-all-the-things. There is no doubt that I’ll be placing a few more orders next year 😁
And, now that 2018 has been wrapped up in a neat little package, it’s time to start looking forward to 2019 and what this new year may bring.