Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF ’13: Favourites for Challenges 21-26

Woohoo!  HSF ’13 is DONE!  We made it!

So many beautiful creations came out of this year.  Some owe their existence entirely to the HSF, some we would have made anyway, but the HSF allowed more people to see and enjoy them.  I’m so proud of myself, and so very, very inspired by all of you!

As the year has passed I’ve been sharing my favourites for each challenge in sets of 5.  I shared my favourites for  Challenges 1-5 here, and for  Challenges 6-10 here, and for  Challenges 11-15 here, and    for Challenges 16-20 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).

My favourites are the ones that most inspire me as a seamstress, and best reflect the goals of the HSF: to keep creating, and to push ourselves as sewers and historians, no matter what level we are starting from.  There are always too many to pick as favourites, so check out the full albums and the links through the comments on each post to see all the other fabulous things.

Challenge #21 —  Green  (and  the facebook album)  

  1. Paola’s green silk 1810s dress  – Such a beautiful interpretation of the fashion plate.  I really feel like I’m stepping back in time looking at it – not just into a costumed film.
  2. AsÃ¥ of Fashion Through History’s green wool cotehardie — This is one of the pieces that is really making me fall in love with Medieval fashions.  So gorgeous!
  3. Mieke’s very green Regency frock  — Because you can’t get any greener than that!  And it’s beautifully made in the best HSF tradition.
  4. And a bonus one: Lauren’s 1780s inspired Weddingote, because if you make a HSF wedding dress it has to be a favourite (and obviously it’s stunning!).

Challenge #22 —  Masquerade  (and the facebook album  and seriously, you must look at the album for this one, there were so many amazing projects!)

  1. Tracey’s 18th century moth/butterfly  — I’m guessing at what this is, but it is fabulous, and striking, and very masquerade-y!  Check out how the watteau pleats turn into wings!
  2. Isabella’s 1900s Fairy Queen  — She took two bridesmaids dresses and made them look fabulous and historical fantasy-y!  There is hope for every bridesmaid everywhere!
  3. Dawn’s macabre widows hat  — Take an 1890s mourning outfit, and a fantastic macabre hat with spider-web veiling and ravens = awesome costume!.

Challenge #23 —  Generosity & Gratitude  (and  the facebook album)

  1. Zietenzauberin’s front fastening stays — A gorgeous reproduction based on some of the wonderful research that Sabine has done.
  2. Danielle of L.M. Sewing’s chintz anglaise  — A charming gown, and she did a wonderful job of sharing her research into chintz, and Koshka’s tutorial which she used to drape her gown, which was the whole point of the challenge.
  3. Hvitr’s fabulously feathered tellerbarret  — Between this amazing hat and the two great tutorials/research articles that she used and linked to, I know know something about these (other than ‘those cool big hats in Durer paintings) and I’d feel willing to tackle my own – though I doubt it will be quite as cool as hers!

Challenge #24 — Re-Do  (and  the facebook album)

  1. Mouse Borg’s 18th century mitts  — I’m so envious, because mitts are something that I’ve wanted to make ALL YEAR LONG, and I will be so proud if mine are half as good as hers!
  2. Cathy of Loose Thread’s Himation  — Cathy has been working on this all year, and it’s so exciting to see it done, and like everything she makes it is meticulous in construction and research.
  3. Chelsea’s of A Sartorial Statement’s late 18th century swallowtail jacket— A beautiful re-do of the Separates challenge, and I love that this is a fully finished wearable toile – made from a bedsheet!

Challenge #25 —  One Metre  (and  the facebook album)

  1. Kelly’s silk bergere.  A metre of silk hand-cut into metres and metres of trim, with metres and metres of amazing hand embroidery!  I’m in love!  I’m in awe!
  2. Kelsey’s 1830s Swedish jacket  — What a glorious example of how much garment you can get out of a metre!
  3. Mieke’s 18th century caps  — She made two of them: one pleated, one ruffled, and they are both impeccable.
  4. And a bonus one, because Quinn’s gaiters are just too adorable to not show them to you!

Challenge #26 —  Celebrate!  (and  the facebook album)

  1. Jennifer’s 1920s party dress.  Definitely a celebration piece!  It just begs to be danced in!
  2. Kitty’s 1797-1800 spencer  — Beautifully made, beautifully researched, and a stunning example of perseverance.  Now that’s something to celebrate!
  3. Le Dressing de Melle de l’Isle’s 1810’s dinner dress – it looks like it stepped out of a fashion plate!  I’m terribly envious of the dress, and equally envious of her shawl!

What an amazing year!  So many things to love, so many accomplishments!  What’s your favourite sewn accomplishment of the year?  And which HSF projects were your favourites?

And a final question: should I continue to do these posts for HSF ’13?  If so, I would do them every 4 challenges.


  1. Thanks for the lovely compliment! I do okay for someone who never really loved sewing, but I really admire the meticulous quality of your work, and the vast amount of knowledge of sewing techniques and historical costuming that stands behind it.

    There is some very impressive work in the above list. I understand your growing respect for medieval fashions, though. They are a marvelous excuse to work in fine wools, which drape so well and take color so well. The depth and richness of a fine wool can rival that of a velvet! It’s a wonderful fabric–the first “miracle” fiber discovered by mankind, and still one of the best.

  2. Please keep doing these posts! Since it was you who started the HSF, it’s always interesting to know which items are your favourites and why. (plus I tend to get lost with all those pictures on facebook and the HSF page, so it’s nice to have a selection of eye-candy made for me 😉 )

  3. Do continue to post them! I sat in awe of these beautiful works. It’s so interesting to see what people have done and it sets the bar for me.

  4. Yay! Thank you. That means so much to me since it’s my very first challenge. That gives me inspiration to keep going! Tracey

  5. Definitely continue posting them! I inevitably fail to see some projects; plus I always like your comments on why exactly you like the projects you’ve picked.

  6. Thanks for the shout out. I’m very impressed by all the entries here, and I think I will have to seriously consider making a cotehardie in 2014. I’d like you to continue posting your favourites – it’s nice to sit down with my morning coffee and take another look at all the amazing things people have made.

    Overall, I’m most proud of having made two pretty decent outfits; a viking one and a Minoan/Mycenaean priestess kit complete with the fringed skirt and even a bonus boar tooth helmet should I ever want to go to a party dressed as Athena. Quite frankly, I’m also proud of the number of challenges I managed to complete. 2013 was a pretty hard year for me, involving six different jobs, one surgery, and my partner of the last ten years leaving me after cheating on me with my best friend’s sister. But I still managed to get something done for over half of the challenges and that gives me a real sense of accomplishment.

    I think my favourite challenges have been Peasants and Pioneers, Lace and Lacing, Literature, Robes and Robings, Separates, Squares Triangles and Rectangles, and Celebrate.

  7. Lynne says

    I enjoy these – they help me catch up on things I’ve missed and let me look again at things I loved.

  8. Ooo, yay! I was super pleased by my gaiters and accompanying outfit. It’s exciting they made the list! I enjoy these posts, though I’m sure they do take a lot of time to write! I appreciate that you’ve taken the time. 🙂


    • Those gaiters are absolutely super and if I ever leave 18th century I’ll do somekind of outfit just to be able to have gaiters. And I’ll steele your idea, pattern and methods shamelessly :-DDD

  9. Lol! I love that the fairy gown made it to the list. Had to do something with those old bridesmaid gowns!

    Absolutely keep these lists up in ’14. I enjoy seeing a lot of wonderful creations I missed as well as some I saw but now know others appreciated as well. 🙂

  10. Elise says

    So cool, all of them! The green was my favorite challenge. And I have loved watching the medieval people have such fun!

  11. Please do continue to do these posts! It’s very nice to look at all the links, and since I’m not on facebook the album links don’t work for me. The only way I can see the projects posted there is with links to the pictures.

    Thank you for the great compliment! It really means a lot coming from a professional seamstress.

  12. Thank you so much for your review (now I understand the 211 visits on the blog the 9th ^^ )
    I’m always so happy when someone tell me that one of my dress look like a fashion plate, I’m not a historical sewier thince long (there is only two year since I keep sewing by hand with accurate fabrics) so it’s keep me looking for more historicity each time…
    And I’m far away from many reneactment people, like you and many other all over world!

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