Historical Sew Fortnightly, Sewing

The Historical Sew Fortnightly 2013: The Second Half

Halfway through the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2013 I stopped and took stock of what I had accomplished.  It was extremely good for considering what I had done, what I wanted to do, and what I was capable of.

I’ll do a review of the full year of accomplishments in a few days (so many end of year posts to write!) but I thought that to preserve the symmetry of my posting I should look at the second half of my HSF challenges, just as I did the first.

So, what did I get done in the second half of HSF ’13?

#14: Eastern Influence: The ca. 1903 Chinoiserie Skirt

After the initial disappointment of the skirt motifs not being perfect, I’m thrilled with it.  I wish I’d been able to finish the bodice as well, but I guess that gives me something to do for HSF ’14!

The 1903 chinoiserie skirt thedreamstress.com

#15: Colour Challenge White: The Polly / Oliver 1880s skirt

This one was a real reality check: I thought I could finish both the skirt and jacket for Literature, but only (barely) managed the jacket.  So the skirt waited for White, and my White plans fell off the sewing schedule.  Still I love it, and I’m so pleased that the outfit was FINALLY done, so a win!

The ca. 1885 'Polly / Oliver Perks' Terry Pratchett inspired ensemble thedreamstress.com

Image courtesy of Sarah of Capital Adventures http://dianavilliers.livejournal.com/486765.html

#16: Separates:  The Oldest-UFO-Yet 1860s Garibaldi blouse

Not a very exciting project, and one that may be de-wardrobed, but it feels good to finally get it off the UFO pile!

Re-creation 1860s garibaldi blouse thedreamstress.com

#17: Robes & Robings: The 1919 Cardigan-Sweater

I made some (a lot) of mistakes sewing this, but in the end I love it, and I wear it a lot.  And I’ll definitely be making more – and they will take half the time this one did!

The 1919 robe sweater thedreamstress.com

#18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion: The 1780s/1910s shoe re-make  & the 1880s Polly Oliver hat re-make

One of the things I’m really proud of this year is my shoe-refashions.  I learn a great deal from every one of them, and I’m building up quite a lovely shoe collection, although these ended up being more 1910s than the intended 1780s!

1780s shoe remake thedreamstress.com


The final touch to the Polly / Oliver outfit: the hat.  Although I’m not thrilled with it and want to try again.  So watch this space for a re-re-fashion!

Polly Oliver hat remake thedreamstress.com

#19: Wood, Metal, Bone: The Scarlet 1860s elliptical hoopskirt  & the Cherries & Cherish brooches

This hoopskirt has been on my to-do list for over two years, so making it was a massive win!  I wish I’d added one more hoop, but I don’t think I could face un-picking and re-sewing the hoops to do so.  I’ll have to do a few photoshoots with it and see how I feel about it then.

ca. 1860 elliptical hoopskirt thedreamstress.com


The brooches were a super sweet, simple and quick project to assuage my guilt over not finishing the hoopskirt in time.  Even so, I’m going to try to do less double-ups in 2014, and focus on bigger project.

Vintage & antique inspired brooches, thedreamstress.com

#20: Outerwear: The Chocolate & Roses 1930s Capelet

It’s so much fun to make something lovely for someone who really deserves it: especially when they love the end result!

Chocolate & Roses 1930s capelet thedreamstress.com

#21: Colour Challenge Green: The 1924 Hula Goddess Dress

Possibly my favourite creation of the year.  I adore this dress!  I feel so gorgeous in it!  And I’m going to do another photoshoot with it, get it drycleaned, and give it to my sister in San Francisco, because I’m nice like that.

1924 Hula Goddess dress thedreamstress.com

#22: Masquerade:  

Erm.  I never finished my Masquerade stays (still plugging away on them) and now that I post this I realise I never did a post about the mask that I did make to fill this challenge.  Ooops!  Post soon!  But I did do two re-make items that would qualify.

#23: Generosity & Gratitude: The 1930s Ettie Mae Hooverette Dress

Another easy wardrobe item, but I love this dress!  Thanks so much to Jen for the inspiration and research.

1930s inspired 'Hooverette' wrap dress thedreamstress.com

#24: Re-Do: The ca. 1905 Time Lady Shirtwaist, and the Regency Pineapple Reticule, and the Evening Violet Tap Pants, and the 1905 Greek Key afternoon dress.

Between these, I accomplished all but the Robes & Robings challenge, I made some useful and versatile pieces for my wardrobe.  But no-more doing 4 items for one challenge!

Time Lady 1900s shirtwaist thedreamstress.com

Pineapple reticule thedreamstress.com

Tap pants thedreamstress.com

The 1905 Greek Key afternoon dress, thedreamstress.com

#25: One Metre: 1930s present tap pants

Another sweet and simple item.

Reproduction 1930s tap pants thedreamstress.com

#26: Celebrate: The 1930s Bad Plaid Celebration Dress

I was definitely slowing down by the end of the year.  I would have loved to make something elaborate, but instead I made something useful.  And that’s a celebration in itself!

1930s Bad Plaid dress thedreamstress.com


Looking back, I did make more simple items, and more vintage items than I had hoped in the second half of 2013.  But I got more use and wear out of those items, so all in all, I’m pleased.  My big regrets are not finishing the Frou Frou Francaise from Robings, or the Masquerade Stays.  So, two new UFOs for 2014.  Sigh.  Still, not bad overall!


  1. Not bad at all! And now you have many new accessories, which, looking back at your posts, you did not have; congratulations!

    Hopefully I’ll accomplish something this year. Though the few items I did finish got constant use, so I do belive the HSF was still successful for me as well.

  2. Tav Tögni says

    I just love the chinoiserie skirt – had to go back to look at the pictures once more. It’s one of those projects that make go, “ooh, I want one too!” 🙂

  3. Lynne says

    A good half year – even if it was so very busy! I am waiting happily for the top to the chinoiserie skirt, which I think is very beautiful.

  4. I think you did perfectly fine! I completed only a couple of items, and I never posted in the HSF FB group or my blog about them, because I’m probably the worst photo taker in the blogging world. 😀 I just rarely get around to it, especially since I have to jump through several hoops just to get them uploaded on my computer.
    I still thoroughly enjoyed the HSF, and seeing everyone’s beautiful creations and I learned SO much through this!
    I hope to complete more of the challenges this year!
    Thanks for putting this all together, Leimomi! 🙂

    • It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one with photography woes. For some reason lighting is just not my friend and it seems to take me hours to get halfway decent ones.

  5. What does UFO stand for? This update is quite encouraging for me, because I always feel like a loser when I don’t finish a project on time. It’s nice to know that incredibly talented seamstresses don’t finish everything, either!

  6. Seeing what other people make has been fantastic. It’s interesting, and inspiring, and it gives me an incentive to lift my game and try new things.

    I wasn’t able to do as many of the challenges as I’d have liked, but looking back I ‘m still proud of what I achieved. I did a hell of a lot more hand sewing than I’d have expected, and my historical accuracy has come a long way. Where I’ve sacrificed accuracy, I’ve been aware that I was doing so and I’ve done it for reasons I am comfortable with (i.e. because I prioritised drape over fibre content or because I knew a machined seam wouldn’t be visible once the garment was finished). And you know what? Greater accuracy has made my life so much easier! Setting houppelande sleeves for Robes & Robings gave me no problems at all, because I did it by hand.

    I’ve also learned a lot about what periods I’m most interested in, and learned a whole lot of new things about construction and materials.

    So overall the HSF has been a real success for me. Thank you so much for hosting it Leimomi. I really appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into it, and I’m looking forward to 2014.

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