The Historical Sew Fortnightly – come sew with me!

One year, a challenge every fortnight, and at the end of it, 26 fabulous historical garments.

The Historical Sew Fortnightly at the Dreamstress.com

How it works:

Every fortnight in 2013 I’ll post a themed challenge and we’ll each sew (or knit, or crochet, or tatt, or embroider, or whatever it is you call making a hat, or otherwise create) a historical garment or accessory that fits the theme.

I’ll post the challenges 7 ahead, so that you have plenty of time to plan and work on more elaborate challenges. You can do as many or as few of the challenges you want — I’ll be trying my best to do all 26, but if you can only do 6, that’s fine.

For the purpose of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, ‘historical’ means 75 years or older, so pre 1938.

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.

I’m hoping that the HSF encourages research and historical accuracy, but (unless that is the nature of the challenge), but the level of accuracy is really up to you, your desires, skills, and your resources.

The dates for the challenges are the dates that the challenge is due (post it anytime in the fortnight after).  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 two weeks.

Feel free to blog about the process of making your project, or use an UFO that you have already blogged about.


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.


  • Participate through the Historical Sew Fortnightly page  on my blog. There will be a page for each challenge as they come up. I’ll post inspiration for the challenge, perhaps a tutorial or links to helpful sites, and, when the challenge comes due, my creation.You can leave a comment on the page with links to your blog post or online photo album to show off your creation. I’ll pick my favourite interpretation of each challenge to feature on my blog each fortnight.

    Grab the button below or the slightly larger version in my sidebar, and post it in your sidebar.  Be sure to link it to the Historical Sew Fortnightly page.  With WordPress your html will look like this:

    <a href=” https://thedreamstress.com/the-historical-sew-fortnightly/”><img src=”https://thedreamstress.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/HSFsm.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)

 The Historical Sew Fortnightly at thedreamstress.com

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 these garments so they can be shared and appreciated;
  • And most of all…
  • To have fun!


  1. That is a really exiting project !
    My sewing skills are not good enough for me to participate, but I can’t wait to see what you and your followers will do.
    I also feel like grabbing a button just because it is so pretty.
    Looking forward to see what the first challenge will be.

    • I’m a crap seamstress, I still have to put zippers in multiple times, but I’m participating. Just not picking overly ambitious projects!

      • Well, the best thing about this is that you are unlikely to be doing any zips – they aren’t period for before 1935! 😉

  2. I would love to participate. I’m incredibly terrible with the technicalities of blogging… Can you tell me how to post the button with a link to the page on my sidebar?

  3. Christina says

    This sounds like something I’d love to do! I’m looking forward to it already

  4. I’m not sure that I’ll make it in for every challenge, but it sounds like a great way to network with other wonderful people, so upon reflection I think I will join in! (I hope that some of the challenges are things I have already decided to make…!)

    Looking forward to it.

  5. Demented Seamstress says

    This sounds like loads of fun! I would love to participate.

  6. Cheyene says

    I just bought a ton of sewing notions and silk fabrics and ribbons and ostrich feathers on eBay for Christmas, so I’m quite excited for this! I’ll have almost everything I need for any project!
    This is a wonderful idea and I’m trying to get my best friend to join in. 😀

  7. I am brand new to historical sewing. Are these challenges something I can participate in? My sewing skills are advanced beginner level.

    • Absolutely! I’d really like to encourage new historical seamstresses, and I’ve tried to pick challenges that will fit a lot of skill levels, and a lot of timeperiods. I’ll also do some simple tutorials, and link to helpful sites. So welcome, and I can’t wait to see what you do!

  8. I just found your site while looking up fluting irons of all things! Perfect timing because I am planning to doing some projects in the near future. Maybe the challenge will keep me on track and help me in the hard spots! Looking forward to it!

  9. I’ve changed my mind! Upon compiling my To Sew list for 2013, I had several historical items on there. I think I’ll be more at the making 6 items rather than 26 end of things, but I’m okay with that. From the perspective of a costume deisgner, I’m most interested to read about everyone else’s projects!

  10. I´ve never participated in any kind of sewalong before, but this sounds so exciting! I love historical costumes and have been itching to try my hand at them since I first got into sewing, but never really got around to it. There´s no way I´ll have the time (or money) to participate in all the challenges, but I´ll give it a go.

  11. Sallie says

    I’m going to try to do a few challenges. I don’t have a blog, and I don’t do facebook, so I probably won’t be able to share much, but I’m in, for what it’s worth! (And I’m new to historical sewing/costuming.)

  12. Katja says

    Sounds fun! It’s a great idea! I will try to do a few of the challenges and focus on first regency, because I’m not a very good seamstress yet and I think that regency looks like one of the easiest eras, and then 1870. Bustle ore natural form, I like them both. And just like Sallie, I don’t have a blog ore facebook so I won’t be sharing much ether. 🙁

    But I’m looking forward to see what everyone ells’s make!

  13. I’m going to make an effort. At the very least, perhaps I will at last learn to plan ahead! Thank you for hosting. I look forward to a week-long struggle with the linking, posting and what-not.

    Oh, the joys of being a luddite!

  14. Oh, heck, I’m in. I need the motivation…and the every-two-weeks madness is just up my alley.

    With a deadline just hours away, I’d better get started.

  15. […] present, and very soon I’ll be posting the first installment of my attempt at following the Historical Sew Fortnightly. I have no delusions that I’ll complete all 27 challenges, but if I can get 6 done I’ll […]

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  16. […] I will present a write up on a historical garment that I’ve made for the Dreamstress’ Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge. If you like to sew and want to push yourself to make historical or historically inspired garb […]

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  17. I’m totally in! I have an ambitious historical sewing list for the first half of 2013, so this is a fantastic way to set mini-deadlines for myself and be “in with the fun” while I’m at it. I will add the button to my blog!

  18. […] weekend was pretty good in terms of work on my HSF challenge piece. I got all my pieces cut out neatly (more on why this is such an acheievement […]

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