Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF: Favourites for Challenges 16-20

Woohoo!  We’re heading into the last six challenges of HSF ’13!  I can’t believe how successful it’s been, and how much I have sewn, and the amazing things other people have sewn.

As we got past the halfway point I did find myself lagging, and struggling to keep going, and I don’t think I was the only one.  There was a definite decline in entries for each challenge over the low at the end of summer/winter.  Things seem to be picking up again as we head into the last few challenges, so hopefully we will finish off the year with a surge of sewing amazingness.

Despite the slight lull, there was still lots of individual amazingness in the creations that were submitted, and selecting only three items that inspired me for each challenge was still a struggle.  I shared my favourites for  Challenges 1-5 here, and for  Challenges 6-10 here, and for Challenges 11-15 here.  You can see  all  the creations for each challenge either through the comments for each individual challenge page,  or through the  Facebook group albums).  Here are my favourites for Challenges 16-20

Challenge #16 — Separates  (and the facebook album)  

  1. Mouse Borgs 1790s jacket based on a KCI original – I can’t believe it’s her first jacket ever!  It’s so beautiful, and I really appreciate all the construction photos, and drafting info.  Plus, check out how wonderfully ridiculous the full ensemble is.
  2. Kelsey’s Viking overdress & apron-dress — Lovely garments, and I really like the way they help to create a whole wardrobe, in a time when people would have added individual pieces to a wardrobe as old garments wore out, rather than thinking in terms of ‘ensembles.’
  3. Teacups among the fabric’s ruffly 18th century shirt  — It’s a beautiful shirt, and exactly the sort of garment that I was thinking about when I proposed this challenge, and Laurie even demonstrates how versatile it is in her post.  Mostly I’m just envious that her son ardently requested more ruffles though!  Oh, for a man who wants a ruffled shirt…

Challenge #17— Robes & Robings (and the facebook album)

  1. Gouvernante Astrid’s monk robes – I don’t think any finished challenge item ever brought as much joy to as many people as these.  I laughed when I saw them, and I’m far from the only one.  They are just so deliciously robe-y!
  2. Kitty Calash’s ca. 1760 open robe – I appreciate how this one kept not being finished in time for challenges, and ended up getting done for the perfect one, and I can certainly sympathise with her mental agony!  And the research and construction are excellent.
  3. Festive Attyre’s 1930’s Hooverette – OK, so it’s stretching the idea of a robe to the very limit, but her wrap frock is adorable, and does show how versatile the robe shape has been.

Challenge #18 —  Re-make, Re-use, Re-fashion  (and the facebook album)

  1. Stephani’s 1800s Round Gown  — Not only is she much happier with the look and fit of her re-fashion, but this gown is a very historical example of a re-fashion: updating a gown that is 5 years out of date to something that fits the newest trends.
  2. In a Time of Cosplay’s Regency from 1970s-Renaissance – Re-made from a gown her mother wore to Renaissance fairs!  How sweet is that!  
  3. Fashioning Nostalgia’s 1900s combinations  — Combinations from a chemise/night gown isn’t a re-make that is likely to have been done in-period, but it’s a perfect example of how modern things can be turned into plausible historical items, and the result is lovely.

Challenge #19 —  Wood, Metal, Bone (and the facebook album)

  1. Rachelle’s 1770s stays — She’s been working on these for so long, but I think the end result is so worth it!  They are beautiful!
  2. Phillip’s Viking pendant— I’m just in awe.  The level of skill in the carving is phenomenal.
  3. Jill’s Edwardian corset — There were a LOT of beautiful corsets & stays produced for this challenge, but the handmade lace on this one made it particularly special.

Challenge #20 —  Outerwear  (and  the facebook album)

  1. Isabella’s red 1770s-80s cape.  It’s the classic red cape, that just makes you think happy snuggle warm thoughts.  What could possibly be more suitable for the challenge!
  2. Carolyn’s 1880s paisley dolman— It’s so amazing!  Just beautiful!  And the construction info and details are fantastic too – so helpful if I ever make the dolman I suddenly desperately feel I need!
  3. Christina’s Regency frock coat — It’s beautiful, it’s beautifully made, and the wearer even helped with the welt pockets.  Now that’s what I call a gentleman!

And now that I’ve overwhelmed you with links to fun historical stuff, here is Felicity hogging all my sewing stuff:

Felicity the cat thedreamstress.com

What?  You wanted to use this?


  1. I look at your spools that look like my spools, and I wonder.

    I thank you very, very much for this wrap-up, because I was busy, too, and not only did I not finish any challenges (which is nothing new), but I did not check out too many of others’ either. So this is a nice way to catch up with at least some of them!

    • Most of the spools there are Gutterman silk threads – I’m sure you get them in Europe. And I’m pleased you’re catching up with some of the HSF stuff. It’s been super busy for me too.

      • We do. Except my spools are Amann… but then, it’s easy to use the same supplier and just have a different text printed there, right?

  2. I always enjoy these posts — it’s so inspiring to see them. And it’s great that men are getting involved, too!

    • Thanks Theresa! I’m excited about all the sewers and creaters, but it is particularly nice to see the men involved. There have been some amazing pieces by male sewers this year!

  3. Thank you so much for showcasing my cape. 🙂 Also, thank you tons for posting these round ups. It helps to see some of the other truly amazing creations people have put together.

    • You’re welcome! It’s a gorgeous cape: I want one just like it! I can’t wait to see photos with it with a full outfit!

  4. There were some beautiful items in all the challenges. I think my favourite was the bone carving; possibly because it’s something I don’t have the skill to do myself.

    • There certainly were! I agree with you on the bone carving: I know I’m particularly attracted to stuff like that, and the knitted stuff, because I simply can’t do it!

  5. Thank you! Again! I have to laugh about those ruffles!

    I have slowed down the historic sewing because I homeschool. I’ve been swamped with writing up transcripts, lesson planning, sewing swing flags for a friend and sewing a quilt for my son’s birthday.

  6. Everybody made such wonderful things! I also love how Felicity hogs sewing items just like my furballs 😛

  7. Oh my gosh, thank you so much! Summer is so busy with events in New England that it was hard to sew for this, as much as I wanted to. It’s really fun and inspiring to see other people’s work, though, and helps keep me going!

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