Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014?

A lot of people have been asking if there will be a Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014.

The answer is: Yes: if you want one, I’m happy to facilitate it again.

So, let’s talk about HSF ’14.

Who is in?

What did you like about HSF ’13?  What would you like to be different next year?

What were your favourite challenges from this year, that you’d like to see repeated?  What new challenges would you like to see next year?

My only big thought as far as a change so far was that instead of having challenges due every second Monday, we should have challenges due on the 1st and 15th of every month, so there would be a (slightly more manageable) 24 challenges in 2014, compared to the 26 challenges this year.  That would also make it easy for people to do a ‘half marathon’ and only do the challenges due on the 1st or the 15th, making it a monthly challenge for them.  What do you think?

Anything else?



  1. I love the idea of having it on the 1st and 15th rather than every other Monday. Won’t exactly be a fortnight then but, eh, whatever. 😉 I’d like to see the UFO challenge repeated and maybe a few new ones? Prints rather than stripes? Do a time period you’ve never done before but always wanted to do?

  2. So glad you are considering doing this again! I just found your blog so I missed out on a bunch of great challenges. I loved the literature and eastern influence categories because they required a little extra curricular research, so my vote is for more abstract ones like these!

  3. Chastity says

    I wish I could have participated this year but my sewing is usually 1930-1950 though I am trying to branch out into other eras that I want to do but being at college kind of puts a damper on that. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s by the sea challenge and I liked the literature challenge too. Maybe another challenge could make an outfit based on a painting or photograph though I know lots of people do that anyway? I would be all in for it next year since I couldn’t do it this year. Maybe you could have a poll of the challenges from this year that people would like to do again and then they could also add other ideas.

  4. I was in a sewing rut this year, so didn’t participate, but I would definitely want to join in next time! I like the 1st and 15th deadlines, too, they’re easy to remember, and they allow just a few extra days of sewing. 😉

  5. Oh, yes, please. I might even be able to participate! 🙂

    Seriously, I want to finish my Byzantine tunic by Oct. 21. (That qualifies for one of the many challenges my tunic fits into, though I forget which.) When I actually get underway with the sewing part, I’ll post the icon for HSF on Loose Threads.

  6. I’m in! And I’ll actually be able to participate more next year 🙂 I think it’s a great idea to do the 1st and the 15th. You’ve been doing a great job, with interesting and useful challenges. I loved the UFO one, and material specific challenges were very interesting, as there could be a wide range of projects that fit, and thus it was more open ended.

  7. Other thoughts: The 1st and 15th are great in theory, and the idea of 24 challenges in the year are nice, but over here in the States those are usually deadlines for paying bills, and of course April 15 is the income tax filing deadline in the US. That might put a damper on things for some people. But overall 1st and 15th are probably the simplest way to have two challenges per month, so it may be best to stick to that.

    I second Chastity’s idea of voting on which HSF challenges to repeat for 2014. My favorites are the ones based upon types of garments (underwear, accessories) and particular techniques (squares/rectangles/triangles, robes and robings). But we can certainly kick around adding other ideas. Here’s a few:

    * Pleats. Make a garment that has pleats or a pleated section as the dominant feature.
    * Buttons. Make a garment that closes with buttons or has buttons (either functional or ornamental) as the dominant element of the design.

    • …Does anyone really wait until the 15th to file anymore? Most people I know tend to file in Feb or March – right after they get their W2s.

      Also, e-pay for bills. It’s fabulous. 🙂

  8. I have yet to participate in one of the challenges this year, but have been very inspired by what I’ve seen all of you doing! I love the thought of another chance at diving in…something like this could be just the sort of inspiration I need to get going on some projects.

    I think the idea of doing it on the 1st and 15th and therefore being able to do it as a “half” would be awesome, and might be less intimidating for those of us who aren’t sure we could complete a challenge every 2 weeks.

    I know it is a Historical sew fortnightly, but I think a fun challenge would be to do a historically inspired garment or accessory that you would use every day. Almost a modern take on history garment.

  9. I think the best challenges allow a huge range of projects, from a single simple undergarment to a whole outfit. I’d love to see the challenges continue to have this quality.

  10. I’d love for this to continue! Especially as I didn’t start until half way through. For me, I enjoyed challenges that I could do something either small or basic for, as I don’t really have a stash, or money to spend on fabric.

    That said, I would love a plaid challenge. And I like Catherine Raymond’s idea about pleats.

  11. Please host again! I know that I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much done this year if it wasn’t for HSF. I’m cool with the 1st and 15th idea. It would make it easier to remember when things were due or a new challenge was coming up.

    I’d love to see some more technique based challenges like pleating or beading or embroidery. Also more color/fabric challenges. Ones where people can have a lot of creativity are really nice. Plus helps by letting people do things then need to do rather than being distracted by new shiney costuming idea.

  12. I would love to take a part in a historical sew fortnightly 2014. I wanted to sew something this year but my little babygirl takes so much care I could’t find any time to sew historical costumes. I hope next year will be better.

    For the challenges I could imagine one or two colour challenges. And it would be nice to habe challenges like “inspired by movies and TV” or “carneval and masquerade”.

  13. Yep. I’m in for next year. Having it on 1st and 15th is interesting idea (I was going ot say just have one challenge a month 😉 )
    I started off with good intentions but as year went on I dropped into *ahem* half marathon mode. Due to lack of time and projects that didn’t fit into the timeframe (vintage rather than historical) I had to make tough choices.
    I like colour challenges and techniques (like the embelishment one). Inspired by a painting/photo would be fun. And as I suggested a woodland or purple challenge would be good -or maybe that counts as flora and fauna?
    Maybe a challenge that takes something sewn in HSF 13 and you do something to it or with it (add decoration or accessory etc).

  14. Alison says

    I came very late to the party so I would LOVE to see the challenges continue in 2014. I also like the idea about the 1st and 15 dates and doing a “half”. My free time to sew is very limited (pesky real life! 🙂 ) so finishing anything substantial in 2 weeks is difficult.

  15. I’m in, though like this year I won’t manage all the challenges. The “half marathon” option works well for me.

  16. Colleen Crosby says

    I enjoy lurking and taking inspiration from the challenges. I like the idea of the half-marathon, especially if you could finish either of the challenges in that month.

    I’m hoping to have more time for sewing in the upcoming year. We’ll see if I’m able to participate this time.

  17. Brann mac Finnchad says

    I too would like to see it happen again next year, even more so since I came into it late this time. The changing the due dates would be helpful, especially for the chronologically challenged. No comments on what challenges, but agree with the ideal that they should allow as wide a range of projects as possible.

  18. Yes! I think it would be fabulous to do the HSF again in 2014.

    I like the ides of another UFO, a prints challenge, a pleats challenge, and a buttons challenge. For challenges this year that I especially liked: #1 (the from __13 challenge), #4 (embellish), #6 (stripes), #9 (flora and fauna), #18 (remake, etc.), #19 (wood, metal, bone), and #20 (outerwear).

    In terms of what I liked about the HSF in general: I really enjoyed being able to see what other people are making. It’s nice to have that community feeling with people around the world.


  19. Oh yes please! Even though I’ve not been able to take part in all the challenges (and sadly I suspect that next year will be worse, rather than better) the ones I have done have taken my sewing off in all sorts of new directions. And reduced the stash a bit as well – bonus! Even more than that, I so enjoy seeing what other people have made, and reading how they have done it..

    With regard to new challenges, I’ve really liked the way the 2013 challenges have been so open to interpretation for different periods and areas of interest. Even if all your costuming concentrates on one historical period, you could make something for most of the challenges so far.

    I’d like some more colour challenges please. And I’ve particularly enjoyed Wood, Metal, Bone – so many interesting and different things for that one.

  20. I would absolutely love another HSF! I think having the “hive-mind” around is an amazing resource, and having a deadline spurs me on to getting things done.

    I don’t always have time for all of the challenges, so the 1st and 15th appeals to me.

    I would like to see any of these repeated: literature, white, robes and robings, outerwear, and masquerade.

  21. I love the idea of having projects due on 1st or 15th of the month. That way I can try and get one challenge a month done 🙂 looking forward to participating more next year. The range and quality of people’s sewing is really inspiring.

  22. Love the idea of 1st and 15 th due dates 🙂 and I love the idea of the painting idea too.

  23. Kathryn McDonald says

    Please do this again! 1st and 15th is good. Missed last year do to an error on my part-thought you needed to do everything in one time period. Couldn’t figure out how to do some of the challenges. Looking forward to new year!

  24. Pamlin says

    I love the idea of the 1st/15th!

    Loved the UFO challenge. Would like to see Literature and Stripes repeated as well!

    Would love to see any of the following:
    -Stash Only
    -Artists and Models (be based off a sculpture/painting/etc.)

    Thank you so much for doing this! It’s been amazing to watch and participate in!

  25. I like the idea of the due dates being on the 1st and 15th… Regarding challenges, definitely like the “UFO” and “re-do”. How about a materials challenge – like all cotton or all linen – as well as some of the color challenges. Or maybe a “court” theme, or a “military” theme?

  26. Yes please!! Though even “half-marathoning” it will be a challenge for me, I would absolutely love to continue participating in whatever means I can for 2014. I would like to amplify a few of the suggestions already listed here:
    Inspired by a painting/photo/sculpture;
    Pleats (and by extension, any technique themed challenge — piping, embroidery, pintucks, etc)
    Underwear and/or Accessories (cause we always need more!)
    Though honestly, I would not be the least bit miffed if we used many of the same challenges themes from 2013. I regularly found myself with 3 or 4 good ideas for each challenge.
    Thank you so much for considering keeping this group going. I know it takes a lot of time and work and creativity on your end, but it has been absolutely invaluable to me. I’ve been so much more motivated to sew, to research, and to be proud of the things I do get around to making. It’s wonderful to feel like my hobby is a little less silly or frivolous now that I am a part of such a brilliant community. Thank you!

    • Danielle says

      “Though honestly, I would not be the least bit miffed if we used many of the same challenges themes from 2013. I regularly found myself with 3 or 4 good ideas for each challenge.”

      There is much truth in this. Thanks for hosting!!!

  27. I like the idea of twice monthly due dates. I was only able to complete 2 challenges due to list of things to complete not falling far enough back into history and then some family stuff caused a delay in the last two but I will post to one of those when I’m done with this and I’m hoping to swing 1 more by the end of the year (I’m a slow sewer).
    I liked the above idea about Mourning for a challenge. I really liked the Re-Use challenge (the one that got delayed for me). I have several more projects like that on my eventual to do list. But I also agree with others that it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to repeat 2013! There were so many that I did want to do but just didn’t have the time (or money).

  28. I’m SO in! Yes please! I have loooooved seeing everyone else’s projects and it’s kept me more motivated than I would have been otherwise. The 1st and 15th sound good to me. Also I’d love to see a challenge based on 2 dimensional art (photo, painting, etc). 2-D into 3-D!

  29. I would LOVE for this to continue next year! I was late into the party, having only heard about it in March, about the time I was swallowed alive by the Six Flags dress project, so I would love to do it again!

    I loved every single project idea this year, so I really have nothing to add for ideas.

  30. I’m so glad you will do this again! I didn’t get to participate as much as I would have liked to this year, and I was getting a little sad these challenges would be over soon. They are so motivating. Trying to come up with an idea to fulfill your challenges motivated me to think outside of my usual box. It was great for planning and brainstorming and expanding my historical sewing repertoire. Cheers to 2014!


  31. I’m in! It’s been a great way to stash bust, has been super inspiring, and I do have new ufos due to this that I’ll need to finish next year 😉
    I know I may be in the minority, but I’d love it if we could include the 1940s and 1950s on there. I know it’s not “historical”, but that’s stuff I’d wear in real life and in dress up time, so would give me incentive to work on crossover projects as well as costumes 🙂

    • Me three! I’d actually love it to go all the way up to the 1960s. Many of us weren’t born then (or were babies) and so it’s “history” to us! And I think it would help a lot for me in not-producing-more-ufos because I’d get to scratch my vintage itch too.

  32. I really enjoyed the HSF and found myself making a lot of new things that I’d have never thought to have done before. It was great to see how other people were interpreting challenges. There were so many instances of “Oh, THAT’S what those are called,” when I suddenly knew what to look for in making my own. I do like the idea of having set dates that challenges are due. I had to keep a chart to try to remember whether there was a challenge due this Monday or the next.

    My only personal downside was that I found myself jumping around a lot and making pieces that weren’t part of a coherent whole. Perhaps when you make themes, consider making them more linear in the construction of a full outfit. Undergarments, then support structure, then tops/bottoms, then accessories. If you wanted to mix it up a bit, perhaps make one track (1st or 15th) about constructing an outfit, and the other one more random inspirational (colors, materials, etc).

    Just some thinky thoughts. Anywho. Long story short, hell yeah, I’m in.

  33. Count me in! I really enjoyed the challenges and have really increased and improved my “docent” costume collection. I am going to have to figure out the storage for them all though!

  34. I’m in! It has been super fun, even when I haven’t been able to participate in a challenge. I also think the 1st and 15th are good dates. A mix between challenges that are slightly specialized (like the Pretty Princesses theme) and challenges that allow everyone to make something that will be useful no matter what their period and social position (like underwear) are great.

  35. I loved the colors challenge-that can scope many time periods! The ones I think are most successful are those that can be manipulated from Medieval to the 1920’s.


  36. I’m absolutely for it! I did not manage to participate in very many challenges, and do not expect it will be any better next year, but even for those few things I’ve finished, it was a great incentive!
    I think I would like to see more colour challenges, i.e., some colours that have not been covered before. And maybe White again. 🙂
    Generally, I agree with SarahW above me – the mix of both more and less specific is perfect.

  37. Deborah Thomas-Wilton says

    Would love to join in and try this out. Only learned about this challenge a month ago. Too late to join in for 2013 and really accomplish anything. I’ve done some 1840’s and 1860’s,also some 1940’s. Have fabric stash and want to try new things. Will be looking forward to seeing the new challenges.

  38. I was in a sewing rut so this helped pull me out of it. I would be game for another year though I may do a half marathon as I have an extensive wardrobe now and think I will be doing more up grades this year instead of full on new projects. (Repair ripped outfits, switch from hooks to button holes, add more trim, that kind of thing. I also want to spend sometime getting a friend started on her addiction…I mean first project.) But who knows. Perhaps a new year of challenges will inspire more new outfits than I originally thought.

  39. Caroline says

    I love the possibility of having it more spaced out, I started tons of projects for the HSF this year but was too busy to finish them.

  40. I really like this idea! I found out about the Historical Sew Fornightly last year before it started, but didn’t feel confident enough to join in, since I don’t have any historical pieces and would be starting from scratch. I’m also going to be abroad (without my machine!!!) for the first few months of next year and so it will be extra motivating to do some historically accurate hand-sewing.

  41. Jane Austen in the TARDIS says

    I didn’t do it this year but really enjoyed watching everyone. I would love to maybe join in next year though I am only a new seamstress so I don’t know if I could.

  42. I think having a wee bit more time would be great, I think a large reason I’ve missed challenges has been because I just haven’t had enough time.

  43. “If you wanted to mix it up a bit, perhaps make one track (1st or 15th) about constructing an outfit, and the other one more random inspirational (colors, materials, etc).” –Jennifer

    I think this is the *best* idea! Because if you are like me you start with the pretty dress first and then are scrambling for the proper undergarments! To make a complete historical outfit from inside out in one year would be amazing!

  44. This is wonderful news! I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge so far and I very much like your proposed change.

    I think the “under it all” challenge could be repeated. Everyone could use more historical undergarments.
    I think there should be a challenge that makes us do the things that we always put off because we want to sew more interesting things. Things such as more shifts and petticoats.
    I also love the “Mourning” challenge idea mentioned above, which, I suppose, could also be another colour (or lack of colour) challenge.

    Sometimes I don’t have enough time or materials so I really love the fact that you only have to do as many challenges as you can manage.

    I’ve spent so much time on historical sewing this year and would really like to start sewing everyday clothes. Fortunately, my dream wardrobe consists mainly of Regency men’s clothes, so I can enter them too if I aim for historical accuracy.

    Yes. I’m in.

  45. I’ll probably sit the next year out unless you have a change of heart about including a wider range of historical dates – I am absolutely DYING to make more vintage stuff after putting it on hold for a whole year. Maybe once of these years you’ll decide to do a “sew vintage” challenge – I’d be on that one in a heartbeat! But I definitely enjoyed participating in the HSF for 2013. Thank you for all your hard work!

    I do like the suggestion of making challenges fall in an order where you could create an outfit from the ground up. The one time that I really had trouble keeping up with challenges was when I needed a dress before I had an excuse to make the undergarments. It also would have been nice if I could have seen the entire year’s worth of themes at the beginning of the year. If I had known what was coming at the end of the year, I could have made the challenges at the beginning more productive for creating complete outfits instead of little bits and pieces all over the place.

    I thought all of the themes were great this year. I also like the mourning suggestion, and sporting attire would be a lot of fun.

    • Jen why not start a vintage sew-a-long yourself? I’m sure you could do it. 🙂 Maybe a vintage sew monthly?
      Most of my stuff I sew is ‘vintage inspired’ rather than historical so it would suit me as I could alternate. I like to have a new frock for each months retro dance 😉

    • I agree, Jen! I love vintage, and I love historical, so the idea of a group that includes both is really appealing to me, and a lot of folks I know. If anything, although I loved “sew weekly”, I got bummed I didn’t get to see more historical goodness, and one week is simply not enough time for most working folks to make an outfit. So pretty, pretty, please, consider lengthening the dates, at least through the 1940s.

  46. I’d be in, like the 1st and 15th idea and more challenges that allow underwear would be good. I’d like a fur challenge, patterns and a leather one too. Maybe wool and some colour challenges or a paisley challenge perhaps.
    I will need to do some sewing for the family next year though; can’t just concentrate on the historical wardrobe, no matter how fun.

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