I’ll be doing favourites posts every four challenges this year, which highlight the creations I feel best captured the spirit of the challenge, but I’m going to do a special post all about the Innovations challenge, because I loved what came out of that challenge so much.
Of every Challenge we’ve ever had in the HSF, this was my favourite by far. I was so impressed and inspired by all the research. I learned so much from reading all the blog posts about it, and seeing the way that people considered innovations. It’s all very well to create pretty things fortnight after fortnight: this challenge let us show off the understanding behind all of the items. I can’t thank all the participants enough for entering into the spirit of the challenge, for researching, considering, and bringing a multitude of fascinating innovations to light through their creations. I’m really hoping that the research and investigation doesn’t stop with this challenge, but continues on throughout the HSF 2014!
Here are five of my favourite Challenge posts for the knowledge they shared, not just the charming challenge item they created. As always, it was so hard to choose! At one point I had thirteen tabs open in my browser window, for all the innovations I wanted to highlight. You’ll see more of them when I blog about favourites for Challenges 1-4.
- Elizabeth of Sewing and Sightseeing considered both textile and societal innovations, and made a gorgeous 1820s-remodelled-in-the-1830s block printed dress based on clothes worn by mill girls. She discusses roller printing, and the much bigger innovation of women living alone outside the family home, and working and earning their own livelihood. Wonderful!
- On Living History made a beautiful Marseilles cloth petticoat, and wrote about the development of the cloth (with lots of lovely links). A gorgeous petticoat, wonderful research, and good reminder to me that my Matellase/ Marseilles cloth terminology post has been sitting there half finished for over a year!
- A Modern Needle Through Time wrote a fabulous blog post on Ellen Louise Curtis and the development of paper sewing patterns. Sadly, she didn’t get to use that particular innovation it in her finished Challenge item, but the story is a joy in and of itself.
- Caroline of Dressed in time looked into the history of riding habits, and made a late 19th/early 20th century riding apron. I found it particularly fascinating because I’ve catalogued turn-of-the-century riding habits for museums, and have always been slightly mystified by the aprons. Not anymore!
- Sewing machines were one of the most popular innovations, with many people making 1860s machine sewn items. Parva Sed Apta wrote a beautiful history of the sewing machine, and took it a step further and considered how sewing machines would change sewing and crafts, beyond just ‘this item has a machine sewn seam’. Instead of a garment she made a box to hold sewing machine notions from 19th century instructions. Beautiful!
To finish off, here is an illustration of calico printing in 1805: you can see how labour intensive it would be, setting that individual block over and over again, and how roller printing would revolutionise fabric production.