Thursday, January 4, 2018

What...happened? 2017 Review, and 2018 Goals

2017 was not a good sewing year for me, and I need to figure out why.

Let's go through the projects I started (or continued from a previous year), shall we?  Maybe I will feel better, since it feels like I barely finished the point of someone on the HSM FB group asking to share the project you are the most proud of from last year, and my mind was coming up blank.  

It was suggested I should be proud of this outfit
....I'm not so sure.

Green projects are completed, Yellow is being actively, if slowly worked on; Orange is semi-shelved as a lower priority; and Red is essentially boxed up and put away.

  1. January:  14th century Undershirt, started shortly before the year (Completed)
  2. Airship Jacket, an UFO about half done (Completed
  3. Tall Hat for the Brunswick suit (Completed
  4. February: Work shirt in silk noil (completed
  5. Patchwork Paletot.  Major project (Still being worked on
  6. Gloves--just test drafts
  7. March: 16th century Leine (Completed
  8. April:  Dirk Sheath
  9. Green linen waistcoat (Completed)
  10. May: Inar (Competed)
  11. Hasting's Suit Trunkhose, Major Project (More on this
  12. Green Silk Waistcoat, troublesome (Competed)
  13. June:  16th Century Shirt.  Major project (completed)
  14. Caligae, patterned.  I cut out a couple months later (Unfinished
  15. Striped Trunkhose of DOOM.  Moderate (Completed)
  16. July: "Kidney" belt pouch.  Moderate (Unfinished
  17. October: Gestalt Rock. Mid to major. (Being worked on
  18. Plaid Shawl Collar Waistcoat. (Completed
  19. Silk Noil Work Shirt (Completed)
  20. Carmagnole (didn't get past drafting)
  21. November: Wool "Ravenpuff" Scarf (Being worked on
  22. December: Oxford Cotton Work Shirt (unfinished

So, looking at this, I started 22 different projects, slightly over half (12) of them were completed.  Seven of those, however, were in the first few months of the year...before I started working on the Hasting's suit.  Still, I did complete more than I thought.  Back to the Hasting's suit; this was a SERIOUSLY major project--the biggest I have ever undertaken, and I had issues from the very beginning, since I wanted to dye it (which didn't work).  It was July when I finally started truly working on the project, and at that point you can see I both started finished a /lot/ fewer projects--only the one waistcoat, really--I started the work shirt earlier in the year and wore it for a while before actually adding the buttons and buttonholes.

Why did it kick my butt so badly?  Quite a bit of it was--bluntly--fear.  I have a lot of money in materials in that project--many yards of several different silks, plus linens and fustians--and I am terrified it won't turn out.  The actual sewing--since I wanted to do it by hand as my Masterpiece--is lengthy and repetitive.  The project itself takes up a lot of room at several points, and while I can lay it out at my day job (but not during store hours), I was tending to be too tired to mess with it after work, especially after picking up to full time in October.  There is also the factor that--while the finished suit will probably be magnificent--I tend to much prefer plain clothing, and because of that, the finished suit will not likely be drug out and worn often.  Which means my brain was telling me subconsciously--especially after the possibility of finishing it for my elevation passed--that this is wasting my time.

Something else you may note is that most of the completed projects were also fairly small in size, and didn't take up much room.  This is because I do not have much room...  I can cut fabric out at my work, but as said earlier, when I clock off I usually just want to get home and read until bed--so anything which required space I found it easy to procrastinate about..

The dirk sheath got shelved because I needed a new leather awl and needles, but that is the only reason--it's low priority, so I just haven't gotten around to working on it again. 

In the case of the 14th century kidney pouch it is all but done...except for dyeing and final assembly.  I decided I wanted to do a period iron-oxide dye for it, got the research done, and have just not gotten around to doing some swatch tests with various methods, namely; tannic solution, pure iron oxide in acid, applied in steps as is the most documentable; a blend of iron oxide and tannins in acid; and combinations thereof with the acid neutralized which is less period).

Now, to be a bit more positive.  I did finish a--somewhat--acceptable number of projects, tried and learned a number of new things.  I am particularly proud of having drafted a shawl collar successfully, and handsewing several projects, which included the 16th century silkworked shirt.  I made my first pair of trunkhose--non-period as many aspects of them are--and learned afterwards that cartridge pleating is not a particularly period method.  Even so, I like them for how horribly obtrusive they are (except my stockings keep falling down).  I also made the outfit I should have made years ago--16th century Irish...and I love it.  Comfy, and unlike anything else being worn up here (yet).

The new 16th century Irish that I enjoy wearing
Leine Documentation
Inar Documentation

So...some goals and major projects for 2018:
  • I want to make a 1760-70s Redingote or Surtout.  I have an uber heavy chestnut brown wool, and more wool for lining.  I have it designed...  Now I need to draft out the pattern and check the fit.  Deadline: No actual, but I want to be wearing it soon, as a winter coat.
  • Gestalt Rock: Deadline, this Winter Coronet.  Thankfully, it is patterned, waiting on my finishing cutting, and doesn't require much tailoring work.  I am also not handsewing it.
  • More lower class stuff, rather than fancy.  I suspect part of my issue with motivation this year was because my major project was super fancy...and not something I would tend to wear often.  I want some unique, period clothing I am not afraid to work, fight, or drink in.
  • Early 15th Century outfit with grande assiette sleeves.  Need...everything major.  Shoes, hose, and cotte.  Deadline: Summer Coronet.  The doublet/cotte fits into the Sleeves challenge.
  • "Party Germans"  Pluderhose and Doublet in green and black.  Hugely exaggerated pluderhose, with pockets to hold wine bottles, and a bottle opener built in somewhere.  Designed to hold up to the rigors of combat, be easily washable, and easier to use the privy in at night (no fiddling with tiny points on the codpiece...velcro may be required.  Horrors..)  I think I would like to have made this by the beginning of Camping season--so by the middle of May. 
    Something along these lines, maybe...  I'm not a huge fan of those sleeves
    but they seem to go along with the more exaggerated pluderhose.
    3rd Quarter 16th century.  German.  British museum #1952,0405.225
  • Project Brueghel: Late 16th century Low Countries outfit.  I am still designing, but I think it would be lovely to complete for Winter Coronet.
    As an example...
    Hunters in the Snow.  Peter Brueghel the Elder. 1560s
  • Some of the less...major...things include making more random waistcoats and work shirts, and a pair or two of front fall trousers--and write a tutorial on the trousers!
  • Complete more of the Historical Sew Monthly challenges this year.  My plans (or ideas, anyways) can be found in the blog post previous to this.
  • Write more Blog articles...heck, two of the projects I finished last year (both historical shirts) still need documentation finished (i.e, written)!
  • Infect more people....with enthusiasm for what I do.  This is a big one for me--I don't get excited easily, and share it even less.  I am doing better with it, at least.

One Quasi-historical wool waistcoat...with a shawl collar.

© John Frey, 2018. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

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