Five for Friday: HSF favourites so far

When I first posted the Historical Sew Fortnightly I promised to post my favourite item for each challenge.  And then the HSF got so big that I’ve spent so much more time than I had planned on organising and administering it and I ran out of time to post about favourites.

To make this up, here is a quick round up of my favourites for the first 5 challenges (plus a bonus for the bonus challenge).

It  was REALLY hard to pick favourites – there are so many amazing things that have been produced, and such a range of periods, experience levels, and personal taste.  I’ve chosen the items I thought best represent the spirit of the Historical Sew Fortnightly; the quest to explore history, raise our skill levels and standard, stretch ourselves (or sometimes just get something done, rather than just procrastinating);  and the spirit of the individual challenge.  Inevitably there are some projects that I adored that I just haven’t been able to post about.  I didn’t purposely try to pick different seamstresses for each challenge – that just happened!

Challenge #5 – Peasants and Pioneers

  1.    Governante Astrid’s early 20th century Swedish peasant dress – One of the things that I’ve found really amazing and exciting about the HSF is learning about regional peasant dress.  I’ve only every really studied historical costuming from the most fashionable, cosmopolitan perspective, so seeing very specific regional dress is fascinating.
  2. Teacups Among the Fabric’s yellow 1830s pioneer ballgown – I love the way she considered the entire life of a pioneer in Texas in the 1830s, and how there would have been events to dress up, but a fancy gown would be something that would be used for years, and might be a bit outdated.
  3. Wearing History’s 1930s ‘Dust Bowl’ dress – Lauren’s sewing is always impeccably done, which I hugely appreciate.  I also have a real interest and soft spot for the Great Depression – it was such a major event in the life of my grandparent’s generations that the effect it had on them rippled down to me.  The Great Depression is both recent, and definitely historical, and the Dust Bowl dress is both modern wearable, and distinctly historical.

Challenge #4 – Embellish

  1. Asa’s late 16th century blackwork shift – it was her first try at embroidery, and it’s amazing!  Just look at how beautifully done it is (and how cute are those snails?).
  2. Ewa’s soutache trimmed 1920s dress – this may be the best 1920s era dress I have EVER seen a historical costumer make.  It is spot on, looks like a fashion plate or a vintage dress, and has such fabulous but understated embellishment that really underlines the ’20s aesthetic.
  3. Frolicking Frocks’ striped Pemberley shoes – a gorgeous reminder that not everything for the HSF needs to be sewn, and that sometimes an accessory really makes an outfit.

Challenge #3 – Under it All

  1. Jenni’s version of the much-discussed ca. 1800 KCI brasserie – beautifully made, and on her, they actually work, thus helping to answer all the questions about whether they are really bust supports, and whether they actually work.  Pretty sewing and research?  I like it!
  2. Girl with the Star Spangled Heart’s 1910s corset – her first proper corset ever, and it’s a stunner!
  3. Kitty Calash’s 1775-1783 shift and 1790-1800 petticoat – She got two things done, they are both lovely, and one of them had been hanging around as a UFO for a year but finally got done, which I call a HSF win!

Challenge #2 – UFO (this one was particularly hard to pick , because some people had elaborate, striking project that just needed a little finishing, and some people were new to historic costuming, so didn’t have much at all)

  1. Kleidung um 1800’s yellow spencer – Right.  So, the way to get featured on this list is to make something in golden yellow ;-).  Because I am SO madly in love with this spencer, how could I not feature it?  
  2. Danielle’s 1860s mourning dress is beautiful and unusual, and finally got finished after 9 months.  Not as bad as my UFO, but I’m glad the challenge finally allowed us to see it done!
  3. Romantic History’s 1830s day dress – probably the most popular item to come out of this challenge.  Everyone wants this dress, and it’s not hard to see why!

Challenge #1 – Bi/Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial

  1. Festive Attyre’s 1913 Titanic survivors outfit – 100% stash, 100% fantastic.  Brilliantly researched, so striking.  
  2. Cation Design’s 1813 bodiced petticoat – can you believe this is her first foray into historic sewing?  And check out the dress she made to go over it.  Sheets dream of ending up in her stash!
  3. Caddams Betraktelsers’ 1313 hood – excellent research into historical accuracy and historical probability, a fascinating garment, and a great blog post.

And the bonus challenge: Starting Simple

  1. Hanna’s 15th century long-tailed cap, made with period accurate fabrics and sewing, extensively researched.
  2. Wanda B’s 1850s-60s fingerless gloves – she says they aren’t particularly historical, but as a non-crocheter, I’m massively envious of them!
  3. American Duchesses’ plaid 1930s dress – just adorable.

Since I don’t have any pictures to illustrate this post, here are some random images of adorable children’s fashions from the 1911 Girls Own Paper:

Children's fashions, Girls Own Paper, 1911




How cute are they!


  1. I just want to thank you, Leimomi for all the work you’re doing to organize this. Even for those of us who aren’t participating, it’s wonderful to be introduced to such talented bloggers to follow, and to look at all the inspiration and wonderful things everyone is making. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Oh, thank you! I just wanted an excuse to make myself sew, and it’s grown into this amazing thing, with all these wonderful bloggers and seamstresses and support and I am just THRILLED!

  2. Thanks for including my corset in the list! I’m so proud of it! 😀 This challenge has been so inspiring for me! Thanks for hosting because that corset never would have gotten made without this challenge.

    • You are welcome! You did such a fantastic job, and I’m so pleased with all the things that wouldn’t have been made without these challenges (mine in particular 😉 )

  3. Oh thank you for the honor! The 1830’s pioneer ballgown was one I was most humbled to submit. It was my very first foray into that era and yet fun and quite personal for me. I’m glad now I took the chance to submit it! Thank you so much! =)

  4. Thank you for choosing and posting my Kyoto half stays. What you’ve done through this challenge is inspiring!

    • You’re welcome! I’ve heard and read so much about those stays, and mostly the opinion seemed to be that they wouldn’t work, so it was so fascinating to see yours, and that they do indeed work!

  5. Lynne says

    So many clever people making such amazing things! Huge round of applause from someone who is just hanging round the edges, making cooing noises!

    • Aren’t they amazing! We love the people making cooing noises particularly though – all the applause and no competition 😉

  6. How do I find out more about: “1.Hanna’s 15th century long-tailed cap, made with period accurate fabrics and sewing, extensively researched?” It links to the photo only, and I neeeed more information!


  7. Wanda/Dawn says

    Wow! I made the list! I’m freakishly pleased by the honor of being chosen by YOU and the other honorees are amazing as well….

  8. Thank you so much for the mention! This has been great motivation and such fun and inspiration to see other people’s work. Thank you for organizing the HSF!

    • You’re welcome! I loved your items, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who can take a YEAR to finish a small item!

      Thank you for participating – it’s you guys who make it so fun and motivational!

  9. Oh wow, I can’t believe my little petticoat warranted a mention! And in such illustrious company, too! Once again, thanks for doing all the work of organizing the HSF…I’ve had so much fun doing this, and I definitely feel like my sewing has gotten to a whole new level in the process.

    • Of course it did! I was so impressed with your petticoat! I can’t believe you went from so little historical sewing experience to where you are at so quickly! Can’t wait to see your next thing!

  10. I feel extremely honoured to have made the list in this amazing company! Thank you for all the work you’ve put into organizing the whole HSF and it’s been so much fun to see everyone’s projects!

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