My 2014 Year In Review

Gosh but a year is a long time. We often don’t even realize how much we’ve made in just 365 days, so it’s wonderful to look back. I started a lot of things, even finished a few, and enjoyed every minute, even the struggly bits.  Here’s what I made in 2014:


A Cape Mantle Thing for a very chilly trip to Colonial Williamsburg. I did everything wrong on this, but that’s how I learn. ๐Ÿ™‚

A fur muff. I used recycled sable and it worked a peach. Kept my hands warm too.

One very tall and bodacious wig, thanks to the instructions in Kendra’s book “18th Century Hair & Wig Styling


The LACMA Sacque-ma. This was the first Robe a la Francaise I attempted and another project where I did everything wrong but learned so much. I wore this for a photo shoot, at Colonial Williamsburg, and to the Costume College Gala, but now it’s time to refashion the beautiful blue silk into something new, and try try again with a new sacque.

1740s/50s Riding Habit Waistcoat and Shirt. I’m really happy with how this came out, and its overall function, which was to make one of my favorite costumes, the powder blue and silver riding habit, wearable again. I had a couple false starts on the waistcoat, but accomplished it in the end, and the riding habit shirt went together very nicely.


A 1950s Dress. Sometimes I make more modern clothes, like this simple 1950s frock. It was from a pattern I used before, and went together easily, thank goodness!


A blingin’ pair of custom Pompadours. I’m including these because they went kindof above-and-beyond a normal tutorial, and I can’t *wait* to pair these with my future 1740s yellow English gown.


My first 1830s Dress. It’s ridiculous and incredibly fun to wear. I’ve only worn it once, but this one will definitely be making another appearance. I’m hooked on 1830s now!


Wearing History “Smooth Sailing” Trousers. I made these in 5 hours and wear them *all* the time. Comfy, dressy but casual. I freaking love these pants.


Steampunk Ball Costume. A bit of a throw-together, using pieces I already had, but I made the corset and some “arm bustles” out of copper wire, and managed to win the costume contest!


An 1860s Day Dress. I made this from purple silk I bought in China, and love how it came out. I anticipate it will be worn quite a lot in the future, as my go-to Civil War gown.

1919 Winter Suit. A coat and skirt, using a whole bunch of new techniques, including tailoring, working with faux fur, bound buttonholes, and working soutache braid.


An 1860s Ballgown Bodice, to go with the purple skirt from the 1860s day dress. I’m super happy with how this turned out. It’s one of the rare gowns I’ve made where I feel genuinely elegant while wearing it.

Photo by Nevada Live Magazine

And last but not least…

The 8-Day 1930s Half-Norfolk Jacket. I made this just before we went to England, and tried to fully tailor it. It was so cold in England I hardly got to wear it, though! I made plenty of mistakes, but now understand tailoring much better, and look forward to the next jacket or coat project.

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to all the projects planned for 2015! I have some fanciful things in mind…what to make first!?

How was your 2014? Post links to your sewing year-in-review in the comments below!


    • Lauren Stowell

      January 5, 2015 at 12:51 AM

      Those things help immensely! I should follow suit and organize my own stash and clean up my sewing room to start 2015 right. It's always a mess!

  • The Lady Victoria

    January 4, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    I can't wait to see what the LACMA Sacque-ma turns into, the silk is beautiful and you have lots of it!

    It was also interesting seeing your work with fur going from the cape mantle thing to the wonderful 1919 suit. Along with the Victoria Carriage boots i'd say 2014 was a year of fur ๐Ÿ˜›

    I think I like the 1740's habit better with the waistcoat and shirt, it looks so much grander and fancier

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 5, 2015 at 12:52 AM

      Thank you! I'm leaning towards something a la Turque for the blue silk, and it will have fur trim too! I've learned a lot, but still haven't perfected fur-fiddlings, so try-try again ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carla

    January 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Oh wow, such a lovely handmade year you had!!! I love the fur muff, and the smooth sailing trousers. I have the pattern, I just gotta print it out!

    Here's my year in review: Made in 2014

  • L. R. Stern

    January 5, 2015 at 1:47 AM

    What I appreciate most about your review is that it reflects the bursts and lulls that happen when you sew but also your life is busy. I find it hard to keep in mind that I don't have to be working on something all the time, so it's awesome to see the lovely things you accomplished with gap months ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am also awed by your forays into tailoring–very cool!

    My retrospective is here:

  • AuntieNan

    January 5, 2015 at 11:31 PM

    Wow, what a YEAR!
    I know what ou mean about learning to tailor–I learned most of what I know from making a jacket and a coat from a Vogue pattern. Not a Very Easy, but a full-on pattern. The instructions were so detailed. I learned pad stitching, welt making, shoulder pad placement, easing in sleeves… It was just fabulous. Of course I had way more time back then!

  • Eleonora Amalia

    January 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    The riding habit rocked! It's my favorite 2014 work of yours, but I loved the trousers as well – I'm dreaming of having a pair of my own – and your creepy steampunk look! Looking forward for your 2015 creations <3

  • Unknown

    January 10, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    I love your civil war and winter suit dresses! Did you make the patterns yourself? If not, it would be awesome if you would start selling them! I also love your shoe business, sometimes I just like to look at the shoes even if I don't buy, I know, I'm weird:)

  • Anonymous

    January 12, 2015 at 2:36 AM

    I highly recommend giving yourself the time to do this, it feels amazing and can really be fun! I had to move my all my sewing stuff back in the summer. I'd been renting space for it all for a few years (in the back of a sewing machine shop, no less) but the building was being sold so it all had to come home (to my 2 bedroom condo where the 2nd bedroom is already firmly established as office/guest room). I had to do a big purge of stuff and then try to incorporate it all into my home without looking like it was taking over – and keep everything accessible. It was a challenge, but I managed it while enjoying the process. It can feel so refreshing and cleansing to do a good purge and re-organize!

    • Anonymous

      January 12, 2015 at 4:04 PM

      Wait, this was supposed to be a reply to an above comment about getting organized, did I do something wrong? Is it really showing up as its own comment? Hmph.

  • Jen Thompson

    January 16, 2015 at 2:07 AM

    I'm super late to the party, but I just wanted to say how much I love all the things that you made this past year! It's been fun seeing you venture into new eras and topics too – you are always so inspiring. Bravo!


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