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. I did it! Just barely squeaking in under the wire, but I did it! I mended the old Faire shirt and have established that as my starting point to grow from during HSF14! So excited. Thanks for hosting this, again!

    And now to get cracking on challenge #2…

  2. […] Historical Sew Fortnightly’s first challenge was a very gentle ease into the year: Mend and Make Do. I chose to mend, as there are always […]

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  3. Too late – and the pictures are not good, but I finished it before the 15th of january.

    One question: as I also post on facebook, what is better here OR there or here AND there?

    • Great re-do! Isn’t it wonderful to have something like that off your to-do list!

      I tried to comment on your blog btw, but it wouldn’t let me.

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