Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF 2014: sewing plans

This year I announced all the HSF challenges at the beginning of the year, which was scary for me, but does give me the opportunity to try to plan my entire sewing year in advance.

So what do I aim to make?

  • #1: Make Do & Mend: due Wed 15 Jan.  I made a 1930s dress inspired by making-do, and mended my 1770s silver stays and my 1905 Time Lady blouse.  Challenge accomplished!  
  • #2: Innovation  – due Sat 1 Feb.  Already finished a pair of 1930s trousers, and also making a 1860s petticoat (post and photos soon!)
  • #3: Pink  – due Sat 15 Feb.  A late 1920s dress in blush pink to wear at Art Deco Weekend.  I thought about tackling Emily’s skirt, but that’s a project where I just want to put everything else aside and focus on it, and now’s just not the best time for that.
  • #4: Under it All  — due Sat 1 March.  A 1900s corset.  The Truly Victorian pattern has been on my to-do list for ages.  And with any luck I’ll FINALLY have my masquerade stays done by then as well.
  • #5: Bodice  –  due Sat 15 March.  Mariana Victoria’s 1720s robe de cour bodice, of course!
  • #6: Fairytale  — due Tue 1 April.  A skirt as golden as sunshine to go with the robe de coer bodice, of course!
  • #7: Tops & Toes  — due Tue 15 April.  Shoes for the robe de coer ensemble?  Maybe?
  • #8: UFOs & PHDs  — due Thur 1 May.  My frou frou francaise, and not a moment too soon!  And the masquerade stays if they aren’t done for #4.
  • #9: Black and White  — due Thur 15 May.  1900s undies?  Robe de coer undies?  And/or a black or black and white 1930s dress?    There are options…
  • #10: Art  — due Sun 1 June.  Robe de coer lace sleeves, to finish the picture
  • #11: The Politics of Fashion  — due Sun 15 June.  Probably the chinoiserie bodice.  It fits in well with a discussion on Western interference in Chinese politics, and how the gradual take-over of China and opening of Japan to the West introduced so many new motifs and colours into Western fashion.
  • #12: Shape & Support  — due Tue 1 July.  Regency stays?  I really want a pair of regency stays…
  • #13: Under $10  — due Tue 14 July.  A medieval chemise?  I have some nice handkerchief linen I got for a song.
  • #14: Paisley & Plaid  — due Fri 1 August.  Either an 1870s plaid dress, using one of the 6 pieces of plaid wool I have in my stash (really, it’s a bit of an issue), or an 1870s or 1880s dress using a divine ecru tone-on-tone paisley silk I found at Fabric-a-brac.  This will depend on my talk schedule for 2014.  I think I want to do one all about paisley.
  • #15: The Great Outdoors  — due Fri 15 August.  A Regency pelisse or spencer?  A 1780s cape?  A medieval overgown?  Clearly I have no clear idea!
  • #16: Terminology  — due Mon 1 September.  Explore the etymology of fashion by make something defined in the  Great Historical Fashion & Textile Glossary  (new terminology posts and items will be added throughout the year).  Hehe.  I can make ANYTHING I want.  I just have to write a post before the challenge begins.  Small perk of being the coordinator!
  • #17:  Yellow  – due Mon 15 September.  SO MANY IDEAS!  (I love yellow).  A 1630s bodice based on the portrait of Henrietta Maria, to be worn with the Ninon skirt?  Or a 1840s dress in butter yellow.  Or a late 18th century round-gown in straw yellow?  Ahh…can’t decide!  I want to make them all!
  • #18:  Poetry in Motion  – due Wed 1 October  Find inspiration for a garment in poetry and song.  Hrmm.  No idea actually.  But I’m sure I’ll think of something awesome.  Maybe medieval green-sleeves 😉
  • #19: HSF Inspiration  – due Wed 15 October.  Mitts!  I’ve waited so long for mitts!  Y’all better not tempt me into something else with your fabulousness!
  • #20: Alternative Universe  — due Sat 1 November.  More medieval, to finish my medieval ensemble?  Or final bits of the paisley or plaid ensemble?  I’m sure I’ll have no trouble with this!
  • #21: Re-do  — due Sat 15 November.  I’ll save deciding on this one until I see how the year progresses, and how worn out I am!
  • #22: Fort-nightliers Choice  — due Mon 1 December.  Have to wait to see what this one is to decide!
  • #23: Modern History  — due Mon 15 December.  Probably something 20s or 30s.  Summertime just calls for 20s and 30s, and it is what I wear on a daily basis!
  • #24: All that Glitters  — due Thur 1 January.  I do have some glorious gold lace that is earmarked for a 20s dress that would be perfect for holiday parties…

So, if all goes to plan, I’ll finish off three big UFOs (frou frou, masquerade stays, Chinoiserie ensemble), make a 1720s robe de coer, a medieval ensemble (I need to do a bunch of research on that, on what period I would like to do, and what fabrics I have in stash – if I can’t do it from stash fabrics I’ll have to think of other projects), a nice selection of undergarments (you can never have too many chemises…), a handful of lovely ’30s stuff for vintage everyday wear, a couple of accessories and at least 1 further full ensemble.

Looking at it this way makes me really excited, and a little sad.  There is so much that I want to make, and it sucks to realise that it just isn’t possible to do EVERYTHING in one year!

And, of course, I have to have time to just hang out with and cuddle the Fiss.

Felicity the Cat thedreamstress.com


  1. Dear Leimomi,

    Wow, what a list. We’re looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    Meanwhile, what can be better than a cherished kitty behind one’s shoulder, especially a kitty who likes to be connected, even if it’s just a single paw?

    Very best,


    • I know! It’s so exciting, and quite scary! There will be lots of Fissy posts to boost me along throughout the year though!

  2. Can I get an official ruling on the yellow challenge? Does gold count as yellow? It would be a particularly bright gold.

    I’m asking now because it will affect what project I choose for the Fairy Tale Challenge as well.

  3. Sounds good (and very impressive and ambitious!). I’m so glad you’re thinking of doing a medieval (14th Century? 15th Century?) ensemble – it’s nice to see someone else enjoying my favourite era (and giving the HSF some much needed earlier period-love).

    • I haven’t figured out the medieval plan yet. I need to pick a period and look, have a rummage

      I feel like we get some really early stuff in the HSF, a little bit of Medieval, and a lot of later stuff, but the real big gap is actually Renaissance and Elizabethan.

  4. I’m so full of ideas, too! I saved the challenge list on a Word Document and am listing all my ideas under each one. All depends on fabric on hand, and I do need to make a decent corset. What fun!

  5. I love all your ideas! This year is going to be a great year for sewing inspiration, I can’t wait to see what you make for your medieval clothing!

  6. Marilyn J. Hollman says

    For poem and costume: read Amy Lowell’s “Patterns.”

  7. theAwww the picture of Fiss reminds me of how my calico used to “cuddle”. She’d sit at my feet so I could poke her with my toes. That’s it. I went away for 5 days or so and when I came back she SAT ON ME. I miss her so 🙁 (I think if you had a blog of nothing but pictures of Felicity, I would follow it and read it faithfully. Truly, calicos are joys among cats.)

    I keep a paper list at work and at home to keep my challenge ideas organized 🙂 And now I feel really bad for not finishing last year on time cuz I’m doing them so very much out of order!

  8. Lynne says

    It isn’t possible to do everything in one lifetime! Having a plan is a good way to think about what you really want. So many good things in store! One I am really looking forward to seeing done is Number 11, the chinoiserie bodice. I love the skirt, and I think the top is going to be amazing – and really suit you.

  9. Heh, it’s actually good to know even more prolific seamstresses than me have more ideas than they can put into reality!
    It’s so exciting; I should do some more planning, too, so far I’ve only got a few challenges covered…

    • The problem is that the more you do, the more you think you can do! Planning definitely helps though, and looking ahead and getting things together beforehand.

  10. Its been much easier to plan having the challenges in advance. Although sometimes there’s a perfect theme but it just doesn’t fit my scedule (e.g. I need something for May but the challenge isn’t till October) so I’m trying to be creative.
    I’ve also made a list but suspect some of my plans will change as I go along….and some I can’t even decide till I get closer. I’ve also got my own mini challenge that I need to keep my fabric spend down. So ONE visit to the fabric shop per month and then I have to stick to only buy what I need for that project rather than squirreling it away. lol!

    • Projects do change as you go along don’t they – because events come up, or the weather changes, or you are tired. Good luck with your sewing this year!

    • True…clever idea. Very tempting that! Though, being made of silk, I do think of them as ‘keeping warm indoors in winter’ things.

      • I suppose silk mitts are traditionally more of an indoors thing, but in that case you could do them for challenge #23. There’s nothing like a nice pair of fingerless gloves to help you type on a chilly day. Gotta look after those knuckle joints or you get arthritis later in life.

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