2016: A Sewing Year in Review

It’s that time of year again: the holidays done and dusted, and time to look back at what I accomplished this year, what I didn’t accomplish.

2016 was a weird year.  It was great on a career level (yay, I launched Scroop Patterns!).  And there were some personal/sew-y highlights (Costume College), but it was also a really horrible year on a personal level (things I don’t talk about here…).

My goal is to make 2017 even better on a career level (so many Scroop Patterns!).  And I’m going to do everything I can to make it a much better year personally, though I don’t have as much control over that by far, and a lot of my personal  grief and heartache of 2016 will continue for a while.

It’s also a year that came to an extremely frustrating end: my main working computer crashed catastrophically  on the 29th, while  I was backing it up: a disaster that appears to have taken both the hard drive, the backup it was doing, and the backup before that, with it (insert much wailing and gnashing of teeth).  I was finally able to take it to the shop today (the joys of public holidays!), but may have lost 10 days of work, including an amazing photoshoot.  So I’m feeling pretty glum as I type this on my backup computer, which is beginning to get a bit slow and grumpy.

But ultimately, this is a blog about sewing, so let’s look at that, and how I did:

2016 in sum:

I sewed at least 84 things (I kinda stopped counting the bibs, stockings, knickers, and singlet camisoles after a while, so there might be a few more).

29  of those were historical: 12 of which were made specifically for the Fortnight in 1916, and 5  of which were specifically for Costume College.  The remaining 12 were almost all for the Historical Sew Fortnightly.

Of the 55 non-historical things, 23 were trial or sample pieces for Scroop Patterns, 16 were bibs, and the other 16 were items for my wardrobe, craft projects, or gifts.

I launched Scroop Patterns,  and got three patterns out: The Henrietta Maria, Miramar Dress/Top/Tunic, and Wonder Unders

Top five  seven  favourites for 2016:

  1. The 1914-15 Cobwebs & Roses evening dress fulfilled a long-term sewing dream, and I felt gorgeous in it.
    A 1914 Cobwebs evening gown, thedreamstress.com
  2. My Sewing in 1916 blouse, sewn on a hand-crank 1891 vibrating shuttle machine during my Fortnight in 1916
    A 1914-16 blouse sewn on a Singer 27 vibrating shuttle thedreamstress.com
  3. The Woodwold Henrietta Maria.  Generally by the time I’ve launched a pattern I still love it, but I struggle to be super excited about a garment made from it, because I’ve made half a dozen of them.  This was definitely an exception, and is my most-worn garment of the year.
    The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com
  4. My circular cardigan.  Because how could I not love a thing that does vintage glam and Jedi Knight equally well?
    A circular cardigan with geek twist, thedreamstress.com
  5. The 1900s Touch of Blue corset was a really frustrating make, but it does mean that I finally have a proper S-bend corset
    Corset reproduction, circa 1905, thedreamstress.com
  6. The 1910s Little Miss Muffet frock  –  so fetching!

    Courtesy of Tony McKay Photography and Glory Days Magazine

    Courtesy of Tony McKay Photography and Glory Days Magazine

  7. The Goddess of Small Happinesses Frock.  I just feel so confident in it.
    The Goddess of Small Happinesses frock


With additional shout-outs to the 1913-16 Sunshine & Roses corset (if anything gets a name that’s a nod to Robin McKinley, it’s a sure sign I love it), 1910s black & white corset (so comfortable!), 1920s Autumn Cardigan (wear it all the time!), 1921 Fringe & Poppies ensemble (fancy me liking fringe!), and 1920s not-remotely-1-hour dress & sinamay hat.

The  least  favourite item of  2015:

  1. The 1910 corset of hubris and irony.  Pay attention to busk length.  It’s important!On the bright side, I could only come up with 1 item for this category!

Biggest Accomplishment:

Launching Scroop Patterns!

Scroop Wonder Unders scrooppatterns.com

 Goals for 2017:

  1. Patterns.  Patterns.  Patterns.  Patterns.  Patterns.  Patterns.  Patterns.  And then some more patterns!  Historical and modern ones!  All the Scroop Patterns!
  2. A really fabulous, high-fashion 1916 day dress
  3. A 1660s gown
  4. A really fabulous 1916 evening dress
  5. More  simple, everyday 1910s blouses and skirts.
  6. To re-fit my 1813 Kashmiri dress, and make a spencer or day-sleeves for it
  7. To finally finish the evil beast of the red velvet Elizabethan gown.
  8. To make a totally OTT and frilly 1900s blouse.
  9. To finish at least three other historical UFOs  (1760s punched silk gown? Chine a la br’etch gown?  That stack of 1910s combinations I misplaced halfway through sewing while planning the Fortnight in 1916?, a 1910s petticoat)
  10. Make more basic historical undergarments for lots of periods
  11. Make 1810s stays.

    And….I think I’d better stop while I have any chance of finishing the list!

So, my year didn’t quite go to plan, but I’m still pleased with myself.

What did you accomplish last  year that you are really pleased about?  What goals do you have for this  year?


  1. Hello! I don’t comment often (ever?) but I’ve been reading your blog for years… and in the spirit of good cheer, wanted to let you know that you’ve made a lot of people happy with your inclusive sizing! Particularly the Wonder Unders… I’m one of the editors of the Curvy Sewing Collective, and you would not believe how few patterns I could find during our Lingerie month last year that went into the plus sizes at all! Thanks, and hope you have a wonderful 2017 despite a rocky start with technology!

    • Hello! Thanks for chiming in to comment! I’m so glad the sizing is appreciated!

      I decided on the size range because I originally began designing the patterns for the classes I teach, and I need my classes to work for everyone – no matter their size. It was just so frustrating as a teacher attempting to find patterns to teach from, and realising how many only went to a 40″ bust, or some such.

      I’m not going to be able to offer every single Scroop Pattern in the full size range (at least not until they become wildly popular 😉 ) but the ones I can’t do in the full range will be equally balanced between ones that are only in smaller and ones that are only in larger sizes. I have plans for some pretty amazing patterns that will originally be exclusively in larger sizes. 😀

      • That makes total sense! Right now when I teach we generally have to have two patterns to choose from – one from the average indie, and one from Cashmerette – so that anyone can sign up and have an option! I”m super excited to see what you have coming out this year, and what you have in mind for your different size ranges!

        • Elise says

          All bodies are beautiful in their own way, and all bodies deserve to be dressed beautifully. The best part about period fashion is that everyone has a chance to look their most beautiful because everybody’s body was in fashion at some time.

          I’m excited, too!

  2. So sorry to hear that your personal life was struggle-y, Leimomi! I hope that 2017 fairs better in that regard! Despite all of that, you still managed to accomplish a lot! So many sewn things plus releasing patterns. That’s a lot of work! I love the Miss Muffet frock as well–you did such a clever trimming of it!

    I have to do a 2016 recap post myself soon which will prompt me to really think about your questions. It always seems like I accomplish little, until I start looking at all the images and list of things that I’ve made.

    As always, I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re up to in the coming year!


  3. Sorry to hear that 2016 was a difficult year for you. It seems to have been that way for a lot of us.

    You have done so much this year, it’s unbelievable! The cobwebs and roses dress is fantastic. I really loved reading about your fortnight in 1916 too. Do you have any plans to do anything similar?

  4. Hayley says

    I made a gold lame jumpsuit that I adore…. I need to re-make it and fix some errors.

    Would you consider running an introduction to corsetery weekend this year? I’d be keen!

  5. So sorry to hear that 2016 had its problems for you – here’s hoping that 2017 will be much better all round

  6. Michelle says

    From an outsider’s perspective it seems like you accomplished so much, you really are a true talent both as a seamstress and entrepreneur. I hope 2017 is a much better year for you; if it’s any consolation it seems like very few people had a good 2016. I began the year with a miscarriage and it seemed as things went on things only continued to pile on. Sending positive vibes to you in 2017!

  7. Gillian Stapleton says

    You are always an inspiration and a delight, and I am sorry that 2016 has been tough for you. 2017 will be better!
    My goals are to keep going with my little Etsy shop, which is a modest success, and hopefully reduce my hours on the bread and butter job. And to walk in the fresh air more.

  8. Here’s to a happier and productive 2017 … with Many More Photos Of Felicity!

  9. Best of luck with the data recovery. Hopefully it’s still there and can be retrieved.

    The amount you’ve achieved in 2016 is phenomenal! And I have no doubt you’ll achieve just as many amazing things in 2017.

  10. Congratulations on the Scroop patterns!

    I attempted to learn sprang, and relearn nalbinding, in 2016. I did not succeed in completing a project in either, but hope to do better this year.

    I think you did a LOT of sewing in 2016; good for you! I am sorry about the personal difficulties; I hope no such problems cloud 2017 for you. Happy New Year!

  11. Theresa says

    Hope some of the pictures from the photoshoot end up coming out! I had a thought: I could get someone here to take pics of me in my modern skirt if you want? Won’t be nearly the same, but at least you’ll have a few shots to showcase what it looks like if you need ’em. Let me know.

    And YAY for all your awesome sewing this year!

    • Me too!

      Thank you so much for the offer of re-doing some pictures. I was actually going to ask you that (and offer to put out a call on my circles for a photographer). But let’s see if they can recover anything first. I should have some idea by Monday.

  12. In the end 2016 wasn’t a very productive year for me when it comes to historical sewing. I love that I made at least two jersey dresses that I can wear everyday though, and one of them is such a lovely Star Wars dress, that nobody sees it’s a Star Wars dress. In 2017 I’m mostly looking forward to finally make a full 1770s sack gown, including a wig, and a 1900s corset.

  13. Deanna says

    The number of items you completed is astonishing, especially considering that you were also developing your patterns! All your top favourites are lovely, and you look Fantastic (capital letter required!) in the Goddess of Small Happinesses Frock.

    I’m so very sorry that last year held grief and heartache for you. I hope that it lessens as time goes on, and that you are well able to deal with it if it sometimes comes back in full force. I don’t think we ever completely “get over” real grief, but the truly overwhelming sorrow becomes much more rare.

    I wish you the very best this year.

  14. Chihaya says

    New reader/lurker here. Spent the last 8 months or so (time well spent!) reading through your archives, and just caught up to the current post. I saw so many lovely frocks, learned history I wasn’t aware existed before, and learned so much about sewing! Thank you so much for writing this blog and sharing your mad sewentist adventures.

    I hope 2017 is a better year for you.

  15. I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties of 2016 for you. I hope this is minimised in 2017, and that even when there’s heartache there are wonderful things in this year, too. I would wish that there would be ONLY good things but life isn’t like that – let’s hope for only very small bad things, perhaps. And VERY big good things.

    Personally I’m really excited to see what else comes out from Scroop patterns! And of course whatever other wonderful things you sew. I was scrolling through your highlights thinking ‘oh yes that’s my favourite of the things she’s made this year… oh I forgot about that other make, THAT’S my favourite! Oh wait no this is!’

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