Historical Sew Fortnightly

HSF ’14: How it’s going to work & Challenge #1

Oh my goodness!  Only 6 more HSF challenges to go in 2013!  That means it’s time to start announcing the challenges for 2014, but first, some basics about how HSF ’14 will work.

I’ll be getting a proper page with all the details, and a HSF button for your blog, up in the next few weeks, but here are the most important bits:

  • There will be 24 Challenges in 2014, with a Challenge due on the 1st & 15th of each month.
  • You can do as many or as few Challenges as you want, though I’d encourage people to aim to do either the full 24 (full marathon) or every other challenge (half marathon) just to give you a pattern and motivation.
  • To be eligible as a Challenge entry, items should have been finished no more than 6 weeks before the Challenge due date.
  • For HSF 2014 ‘Historical’ counts as anything from the earliest moments of textile history to the end of WWII – 1945.
  • I’ll announce the first seven Challenges of HSF ’14 after HSF ’13 Challenges 20-26 close, respectively, and then announce the remaining 17 HSF ’14 Challenges  in one big lot in January 2014.  I’ll continue to do inspiration posts for the Challenges 8 challenges ahead throughout the year.
  • You can post your completed challenge item in the challenge album linked to the HSF facebook page, or as a comment on the blog post for the Challenge (so in January you can comment on this blog post with a link to your completed item for Challenge #1).

So with all of this in mind, Challenge #1, (due Wed 15 January) for HSF 2014 is: Make Do & Mend.

Let’s start of the year with a clean slate, and with a bit of a tidy up.  Use this challenge as an opportunity to get your historical wardrobe in order by sewing back on all those buttons and hooks that have worked loose, replacing those very dusty dust-ruffles, adjusting that jacket that never quite fit you, or re-making that out-dated item into something fresh and new.

Don’t have a historical wardrobe?  Or is yours already in perfect order?  Celebrate the historical precedent of making-do by re-making something into a historical garments, whether it be a bodice from a worn-out skirt, a chemise from old sheets, a bosom-friend from an old cardigan, or a new historical hat from an old modern one etc.

Or, just celebrate those people who had to make-do by making something for someone who would have scrimped and saved and re-made and mended until the fabric entirely fell apart: the poor peasant, the intrepid pioneer, the Depression era housewife, and anyone from any other historical period who couldn’t just buy a new one.

To celebrate the new HSF guideline dates, and how one era sewed in the spirit of Challenge #1, here are a few images from a WWII era ‘Make & Mend for Victory’ book in my collection.

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

There are wonderful instructions on how to mend and patch, including how to mend gloves, and girdles!

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

Inspiration how to to update old garments with remnants of fabric:

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

How to make a woman’s suit from a man’s suit:

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

Including cutting layouts with patterns:

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

And suggestions of garments that can be re-made from old pieces.  I think the bathing suit from a dress is my favourite!

Make & Mend for Victory thedreamstress.com

Whatever you make or mend, in whatever era, I look forward to seeing it!


  1. Another Yippee for extending the timeline into the 40’s! I’m going to aim to do at least a half marathon – this should be awesome for helping me stash-bust. 🙂

  2. Yay! Maybe with this much time to plan ahead, I will actually get it done. So excited to attempt at least the half if not the full. Thanks for hosting such a fun sew along!

  3. I’m so excited for next year. I didn’t manage to complete very much at all but I did gather materials and such so I’m hoping I’ll get to do so this time.

  4. Oh I’m so excited! I confess I was a bit on the fence because my costumes are sometimes for school and after the New Year I’ll be veering into the 1940’s…so I’m liking that 1945 timeframe!


  5. I’m very pleased that you include the early 40’s. I have really enjoyed this year, even if I haven’t been able to particiapte much, partly because I do so much 40’s sewing. 🙂

  6. Ooh, I’m excited! I have zero historical wardrobe from any era, so I guess I get to start from scratch!

  7. YES! I am so thrilled. You can’t imagine how much this has helped me (even when I haven’t taken the time to do a post about whatever I made)…there is just something about knowing that somewhere out there, other people are working on something at the very same time for the same reason. I have no sewing companions anywhere nearby, and very few events to motivate me, so it’s been wonderful to have that extra little push. Thank you so much for heading this up, I know it’s been a lot of work for you but I think you’ve brought more encouragement than you know.

  8. Yay! I have several mens shirts that are waiting to be re-made into corsets and stays and some “new” 1940s patterns that will fit into the timeline throughout the year. So excited and hoping to do more next year than I did this year.

  9. I’m so happy to hear that the last 17 will be announced al at once! More time for planning!
    And oh dear, I just realized that I haven’t posted the button for this years challenge on my blog at all. I should probably do something about that.

  10. Ooh, the extended date means I can make something from my 1940s magazines – those that still have their patterns!
    I will probably be a bad little HSFer again, but I’m still excited, and a re-do challenge is a nice start for my mindset. 😀

  11. Yay! I have a men’s suit I’ve been hoping to remake. Although, my man is a few more sizes bigger than me than demonstrated on that picture…

  12. I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s HSF projects this past year and definitely want to get involved this coming year. I’ll have to go the half-marathon route, but I’ve been looking through my fabric stash and patterns to get things organized. Thanks for hosting!

  13. Jayme says

    I can’t wait. I’m going to try to do the half marathon if I can get it managed. I think it’ll be fun and the excuse to finally do my Regancy wardrobe!

    • I have a few beautiful pairs of hand-knit socks and I’ve darned one of those. I also darned a number of socks some 15ish years ago, when I was a teenager and darning socks seemed exciting and novel (no, I’m not joking!)

    • I darn my (thin cotton) socks because I like being thrifty and never buying new stuff (some of the socks in question I’ve been wearing regularly for 10 years). But I can be a bit odd

  14. I’m so glad the era time limit has been extended. It saves me having to miss challenges because I have a 40’s dress to finish but it doesn’t fit into the time frame.
    Make do and mend….I actually have a small pile of 30’s and 40’s stuff to mend piling up – a dress that needs a new zip, trousers that need a button replaced and the hem let down.
    As for the make do…I have a few options.
    I have some outfits to make for me and a friend for jane austen festival in 2014 so pleanty of historical to do.

  15. Chemise out of sheets it is! Of course, I really shouldn’t be making more things to bring overseas, but I really want to do this. I’ll be finished with my Master stuff at the beginning of December, so I won’t be feeling guilty about it cutting in on writing time.

  16. I just sat down and made a list of everything that I need or want to make (not necessarily in a year, just eventually). So far I have 22 items 🙂 , I think this will make it easier to complete more this year since I will be able to look at a list and see what fits.

  17. blndtndr says

    I would like to join the HSF challenge for 2014, but I do not have a blog or a web site, how would I post my work?

  18. Helene says

    I decided to just take a deep breath and jump in, trying to do at least a 4th of the marathon, I hope to be able to do more.
    I haven’t touched needles and thread in ages, years and years. Not for “real” at least.
    I sat here thinking that I have no historical wardrobe at all, from as far back as the 1940s. Then I remembered my grandmothers blue dress from sometime in the 1930s or early 40s. It does need a few stiches here and there, so I do have something to start with.
    I hope you’ll accept me as a participant for this.

  19. Helene says

    Hi there
    I just wrote a shortish introduction, ending with me hoping to be accepted to participate in such a fun and interesting challenge. It seem to have dissappeared somewhere in the outer cyber space.
    I have a nice dark blue wool dress from the 1930s-40s, it does need a bit of love and care, and a few stiches, so I’ll start with that.
    I hope I’ll be able to at least a 4th of the marathon, but aim higher 🙂

  20. Well, it looks like I have a task for Challenge #1 already; my himation is too short! So I will be doing HSF #1 for 2014 to “make it do” by sewing on a strip of fabric to lengthen it!

  21. Sally Barnes says

    I’m hoping to join in on this, although I’m extremely new to sewing (and currently sew everything by hand) and have virtually nil historical clothing (but would love to change it).

    One question I have for this challenge though is, does it have to be for us? My youngest daughter has a Japanese yukata I made for her from scratch that needs fixing up so would that be appropriate for this challenge? Thanks for any help, looking forward to researching and finding out more! 😀

    • It doesn’t have to be for you, but if you sew commercially you have to post 5 things that aren’t commissions/sales before you can post 1 that is. But that shouldn’t be a problem with sewing for your daughter! Just keep in mind that the yukata should be a historical one – not a modern one, so discussing why it represents a pre WWII yukata would be helpful!

  22. I have a lovely 30s style wool dress that unfortunately was the victim of a moth attack when it was in storage over the summer the same year that I made it. The wool is too thin to darn, but I will makea new skirt piece from some other thin wool that I have.

  23. I just discovered this site and challenges. My 1530s Scottish costume needs some TLC. Especially the bodice because the boning started poking out. I also need to do some basting stitches on my earasaid that is fraying. I also need a new chemise, and cloak. This will be fun!

    I’ll do the bodice and earasaid this weekend and do my post on my blog. 🙂

  24. Title: Great Moments in Mending!

    The Challenge: #1 – Make Do & Mend
    Fabric: Cotton
    Pattern: Extant garments
    Year: 1880’s cotton muslin (Victorian) and early Edwardian cotton flannel
    Notions: Needle, DMC cotton thread, pins, scissors, white cotton sateen, grosgrain ribbon
    How historically accurate is it? 100% – these are vintage garments
    Hours to complete: about 7-8 hours
    First worn: not yet worn
    Total cost: $0.00 — already had everything (probably the only time this will happen this year)

    See blog for project posts and photos!

  25. […] The Challenge: #1: Make Do & Mend  […]

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  26. I turned a medieval veil into a regency shift. Pictures and details here: http://misssophiesatelier.com/blog (I know I’m not referring to the actual post, but I can’t get WordPress to cooperate with me at the moment, and since it’s my only post I reckon it’s not too hard to find =)

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