Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lessons and Experiments: 2014 in Review

I did my first retrospective post last year, and found that it was an incredibly helpful way to look at how much I'd accomplished (and also how poorly I often manage my time). This year, I wanted to do something similar. As I started to dig through my posts, I realized I had some firsts this year! A new time period (WWII), some new photography techniques (my petzval lens), and a new series of ongoing research posts (my image in context series). There was a ton of research, thousands of photos, and a heap of adventures. That said, there wasn't quite as much sewing! I'm going to take that as a sign that I tried to achieve my new year's resolution not to undertake projects at the very last minute...or at least, not quite as often.

So without further ado, a brief review of 2014!


I make a 1920s evening dress for our performance at Arisia

I use the same shot fabric for a new Regency ballgown...
...and start my photography research post series

Rather than rush a new dress, I fix the fit on my pink plaid 1860s gown from last year

I play with different views for photographing events

I work with tulle for the first time and make a 1950s party dress

I pull and all-nighter (whoops) to whip up a 1910s ballgown for a 1914 performance,
take my first shot at battle photography for a WWII reenactment,
build my first camera mod,
and make an evening bodice for my printed cotton 1860s dress
(whew! June was apparently pretty crazy!)


I re-drape the bodice for my 1910s ballgown,
and do my first real photography outing with the petzval

I make a new white linen 1920s dress for picnicking

We squeeze in a last picnic on Labor Day (and I use it to do some more petzval work),
and I begin the Mother/Daughter Dress Project with my first attempt at plaid matching! (both bodices are constructed)

Undergarments elude me, but I bake up a storm
I mostly complete the Mother/Daughter Dress Project (with help from Mom!) over Thanksgiving: both skirts and underskirts are completed, and the bodices are wearable
I shoot our suffrage rally for the Plymouth Thanksgiving celebration, aiming to take portraits that capture the feel of the event (you can decide how well I did in my upcoming post on this!),
and disassemble my hobble skirt to make a new skirt I can picket in, and construct a new overskirt for the ensemble


I finally complete--and wear!--my dress for the Mother/Daughter Dress Project by finishing my bodice
It turns out 2014 had more than I expected, and I was lucky enough to attend some really wonderful events. As I went through my previous blog posts to put together this retrospective, I noticed a couple of things: for every last-minute project I made this year (or revisited from last year), I ended up doing alterations after the first wearing to fix the mistakes I'd made while rushing through the project, and while I did a lot of research (primarily on female photographers), I never posted it. So even though I made fewer things, I'm happy with my resolution to sew slower. Hopefully I can keep it up in the new year! (And get those research posts up!)

I also have a couple of other resolutions to add to the list: I'd like to make some of the projects I have fabric for, that have been sitting in my stash for years at this point. I'd also like to work on doing some photo shoots outside of events I'm already attending--take an afternoon, get dressed up, and just take photos. It's not normally what I do with my clothes (I mostly sew specifically for events), but I think it would be hugely helpful to practice actually taking pictures.

That second resolution I could use some help with: if you're in the Boston area and you're up for a picture-taking afternoon (historical or otherwise), let me know!

Best wishes for the start of 2015!


  1. Happy New Year! I'm still working on putting together a year in review post. I think it's a great thing to do and helps me set goals for the next year. One thing I need to be better about it planning my projects and not waiting til the last minute to start sewing!
    Hopefully Cori will have weekends free this spring, we'd love to spend a day in Boston and take photos. :)

    1. Happy New Year! I look forward to your post :)
      I am awful about planning my projects. I really ought to be better given how many of them are dictated by events I am running or attending, but somehow I am really not good at this. I hope your efforts to plan better go well!
      That would be so much fun! Also, this is a ways off, but if Cori ends up with some spare time in late spring/early summer, there's going to be a series of Ragtime teas and dances happening. He could wear his WWI stuff, and you could wear ragtime or anything else appropriate for tea/dancing :)

    2. The Ragtime events sound fun! Keep me posted! :)