The June challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly 2015 is Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.
Of all the challenges this year, it’s probably the one I’m most excited about, both as a sewer, and as an organiser. (I know, I say I’m most excited about all of them, and I AM always super excited when they start coming up, but I’m definitely most excited about this one overall!)
The first impetus of the HSF/M was to give the motivation to sew, but it’s also always been intended to really push our sewing boundaries, and to encourage interactions.
What better way to push our boundaries than with a challenge that is all about that? And what better way to encourage collaborations and interactions than to make us try a new skill or time-period, which is inevitably going to involve asking the other members for advice, and looking at the research and creations of other sewers for reference?
For those looking for inspiration for the challenge, the easy, obvious, bound-to-qualify choice is to go for a new time-period.
Using a new skill or technique is also pretty obvious, but I think you could also have fun interpreting it, especially if you wanted to stay within a particular period.
A new skill could be using a new resource for research: going to an actual physical resource, like a really comprehensive library, or archives, and learning how to use their resources for research. Or using original documentation, if you’ve generally primarily relied on secondary research.
Really upping your levels of historical accuracy could also be a new skill. Being historically accurate, and really thinking about the ramifications of accuracy (rather than just ‘is this hand-sewn or not’), is actually a skill, and one you can develop (I feel like I’m always working on it and learning something new!).
Learning to drape or draft your own pattern is an awesome skill, and one which applies in every period. There are a variety of tutorials showing it for various periods on the internet (I show the process in a number of my portfolio albums).
Any of that qualifies, and long as you really are getting out of your comfort zone, and really pushing yourself. This is not the challenge for playing it safe!
As for me, I’m doing a bit of all of it!
I’m tackling a 14th century dress (so exciting!), because other than one shift (that turned out not to be at all accurate anyway), medieval is never a period I’ve done before. Doing medieval also means I’ll be learning to make self-fabric buttons, which is an entirely new technique to me. And I’ll have to seriously improve my hand-sewn buttonhole skills, which are currently rubbish, so getting them to good pretty much counts as a new technique.
I have done a lot of pattern drafting and draping, so can’t claim that, but I did get two sewing friends who had never done any on-body draping before to help me with it (it is rather hard to drape on yourself), or any historical sewing, so I did introduce two other people to a new skill, and am feeling pretty chuffed about that.
Oh, and speaking of learning to drape, we used La Cotte Simple’s draping tutorial for my pattern, which is a great starting-to-learn-to-drape point!
Whatever new thing you are tackling, good luck, and good learning! And wish me some! 😉