The Historical Sew Monthly 2017

One year, a challenge every month (due by the last day of the Month), and at the end of it, 12 fabulous historical garments.

Historical Sew Monthly 2017 thedreamstress.com

How it works:

Every month in 2017 will feature a themed challenge and we’ll each sew (or knit, or crochet, or tatt, or embroider, or milin, (or whatever it is you call making a hat), or otherwise create) a historical garment or accessory that fits the theme.

For the purpose of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, ‘historical’ is Pre-WWII and earlier, so no later than 1938.

Because there are only 12 Challenges, Challengers are really encouraged to attempt to participate in every single challenge (though, obviously things do come up, and it’s better to participate in some than none!)

Your item can be as basic or elaborate as you want, from a simple fichu to fill in the neckline of a gown, to a full ensemble from the undergarments outward: whatever you need and can can handle time and skill-wise.

The HSF is meant to encourage research and historical accuracy,  not fantasy or ‘costume.’

Of course, for many periods making a garment that is identical in every respect to a period garment is basically impossible.  Even getting close can be quite expensive and physically demanding, which isn’t possible for everyone.  Ultimately, the level of accuracy is really up to your needs, skills, and resources, as long as the item is in pursuit of greater historical understanding.  There are also many ways to consider accuracy (you may find my post on how I approach it interesting), and we hope that the HSF will get people to think about accuracy, and how our relationship to what we wear and how we make it has changed over history.

You can start your project as early as you need to get it done in time – it doesn’t have to be done in the challenge month.  However, as the HSF is meant to encourage new creations, your challenge item should be finished no more than one month before the challenge starts. (so the Feb Challenge can be an item finished Jan 1, but no earlier, etc.).  Note that this is finished, not started, so you can start a project as far before a challenge as you wish.

Feel free to blog about the process of making your project, or use the HSM as an excuse to finish a UFO/PHd that you have already blogged about.

I’ll post pages with inspiration for each challenge, perhaps with a tutorial or links to helpful sites.

Some background posts about the HSM:

How to participate:

  • Join the Historical Sew Fortnightly group on Facebook. The challenges are listed as events, and you can choose to ‘attend’ them, chat with other attendees, get ideas, encouragement, and work through difficulties. Then, when your item is done, you can post photos in the album for each challenge, give a description, and link to an online photo album or a blog post if you have one. When you ask to join the HSF Facebook group one of the moderators or I will send you a message with a three questions for you to answer before we accept your request to join.  Please make sure your account allows you to accept messages, check your hidden folder for messages, and be sure to respond to our message.

Or…

  • Participate through this page for the Historical Sew Monthly 2017 on my blog. Leave a comment with a link to your blog to let us know you are participating (please note, I’ll be going through every couple of months and checking links from comments and will delete comments from those who haven’t participated, so there aren’t a bunch of links to people who aren’t actually doing challenges).  Grab the button below and post it in your sidebar.  Be sure to link it to this page.  With WordPress your html will look like this:<a href=” http://thedreamstress.com/the-historical-sew-monthly-2017/”><img src=”http://thedreamstress.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/HSM-2017-Emblem-w-text.jpg” ></a>  (unless, of course, you save the image to your computer and re-upload it, in which case your image address will look different).
    Historical Sew Monthly 2017 thedreamstress.com

With each post or photo be sure to give your item a name/title and tell us:

The Challenge:

Material:

Pattern: 

Year: 

Notions:

How historically accurate is it?

Hours to complete:

First worn:

Total cost:

The Goals:

  • To encourage collaborations and interactions in the historical costuming community;
  • To encourage all of us to do more historical research, to improve our standards of historical accuracy, and to expand our historical sewing skills;
  • To provide excuses to sew amazing garments from throughout history;
  • To provide incentive to photograph and document these garments so they can be shared, appreciated and used for reference;
  • And most of all…
  • To have fun!

The Challenges:

  • January: Firsts & Lasts – Create either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit.
  • February: Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion – Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning. Turn one thing into another. Re-fit or re-fashion an old gown into something you would wear again. Re-trim a hat for a new outfit, or re-shape a modern hat to be a historical hat. Re-purpose the fabric from an old garment (your own or a commercial one) into a new garment.
  • March: The Great Outdoors – Get out into the weather and dirt with an item for outdoor pursuits. (note that the link takes you off this website, to fellow HSF admin’s blog Matsukaze Workshops)
  • April: Circles, Squares & Rectangles – Many historical garments, and the costumes of many people around the world, use basic geometric shapes as their basis. In this challenge make a garment made entirely of squares, rectangles and circles
  • May: Literature – The written word has commemorated and immortalised fashions for centuries, from the ‘gleaming’ clothes that Trojans wore before the war, to Desdemona’s handkerchief, ‘spotted with strawberries’, to Meg in Belle Moffat’s borrowed ballgown, and Anne’s longed for puffed sleeves. In this challenge make something inspired by literature: whether you recreate a garment or accessory mentioned in a book, poem or play, or dress your favourite historical literary character as you imagine them.
  • June: Metallics – make something in silver, gold, bronze, and copper, whether it be an actual metal, cloth of gold or silver, or lamé.
  • July: Fashion Plate – Make an outfit inspired by a fashion plate, whether it is a direct replica, or a more toned down version that fits the resources and lifestyle of the character you are portraying. If you want to stick to a period prior to the 17th century advent of fashion plates, either re-interpret a Victorian ‘historical’ fashion illustration as period accurate, or use an image from your period that depicts and idealised and aspirational fashion.
    August: Ridiculous – Fashion is sometimes a little silly, and historical fashions can look particularly odd. Make something that was considered outrageous in its own time, or is just utterly ridiculous to modern eyes.
    September: Seen Onscreen – Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.
  • October: 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.
  • November: HSF Inspiration – One of the best things about the HSF is seeing what everyone else creates, and using it to spark your own creativity. Be inspired by something that has been made for the HSF over the years to make your own fabulous item.
  • December: Go Wild – You can interpret this challenge as an excuse to make something that incorporates animal print, or wild animals in some way, or to simply make something wild and over the top.

18 Comments

  1. So excited for another year! I didn’t get all of the challenges last year, but hopefully this year I’ll be able to do even more!

  2. I’m going to try again this year! I’ll see if I can fix my blog up, but if not I’ll be hanging out in the facebook group.

  3. LoriWatk says

    I’m going to “try” this… Okay, I’m going to do it. I’ll be hanging out in Facebook most likely. Thanks for this.

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