Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF 14: So far, so…?

Back in January I did a post considering the HSF ’14 and my sewing year, and looking at what I hoped to achieve.

Well, I’ve just posted about my item for Challenge #12, the year is almost halfway done, so how have I done so far?

  • #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.  Finished  a pair of 1930s trousers, and also making a 1860s petticoat (post and photos soon!)
  • #3: Pink  – due Sat 15 Feb.  The late 1920s blush pink ‘Bambi’ Dress – just as I’d planned!  
  • #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.  February was a little mad and crazy for me, so all I did was finish the paisley petticoat  I had originally wanted to do for Innovation for Under it All instead.  Granted, it is pretty amazing!
  • #5: Bodice  –  due Sat 15 March.  Mariana Victoria’s 1720s robe de cour bodice, of course! Sadly, thanks to my crazy February, and loosing the bodice, I didn’t finish MA, and instead submitted a rather disappointing matelasse waistcoat.  Still, it’s good to have got it off the UFO pile, and it did encourage me to write a matelasse terminology post.
  • #6: Fairytale  — due Tue 1 April.  A skirt as golden as sunshine to go with the robe de coer bodice, of course! Or a 14th century nettle smock, which is equally awesome, and made me very, very happy.
  • #7: Tops & Toes  — due Tue 15 April.  Shoes for the robe de coer ensemble?  Maybe?  As it turned out, I made an 1860s bonnet, which came in very handy indeed for my hoopskirts photoshoot.
  • #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.  Well, I’m quite sad that these two items still aren’t done, but my schedule just wouldn’t permit a big project, so simple little engageantes it was.
  • #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… And the winner was….Undies!  In the form of an 1860s chemise  (I also made a black item, which was finished on time, but which I haven’t managed to photograph yet.  Maybe this weekend…
  • #10: Art  — due Sun 1 June.  Robe de coer lace sleeves, to finish the picture.  OK, so I have barely progressed on the Robe de coer outfit, and certainly didn’t make these lace sleeves, but how can I be sad when I made Nana stockings!  And a Nana chemise!
  • #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.  Argh.  Another UFO I really wanted to get done.  Still, I’m tickled pink over my 1880s louis heels for Nana!
  • #12: Shape & Support  — due Tue 1 July.  I said I wanted Regency stays, I did indeed make Regency stays, they aren’t really wearable by me, but they are done and beautifully made, so theoretically this challenge was a win!
  • #13: Under $10  — due Tue 14 July.  A medieval chemise?  I have some nice handkerchief linen I got for a song.  Already made the chemise for Challenge #10!  I think my re-do is either going to be the skirt I wanted to do for #10 (the fabric was free!), or an early 20th century walking skirt.  I’ve now got a reason to do lots of early 20th century.  We’ll see.
  • #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.  My talk schedule has changed and solidified, so it’s now either plaid 1890s, or paisley 1910s.  Probably the 1910s, I’m really excited about the fabric (it’s orange!).
  • #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!  And now I do – a 1910s jacket.  And maybe I’ll finish that 1930s swimsuit that’s been hanging around as a UFO too.
  • #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 with terminology that covers what I want to make before the challenge begins.  Small perk of being the coordinator!  And despite this, I still don’t know what I’m ACTUALLY going to make, though it will definitely be late 19th/early 20th century for an upcoming talk.
  • #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!  Still want to make them all, but to be practical, I’m going to try to finish the Mariana Victoria bodice, so it isn’t another UFO!  Unless I desperately need to make something extra for the talk I’m working on.
  • #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 😉  And, at this point, it will be awesome, and (you guessed it), early 20th century.
  • #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! Oh, I hope I get to make those mitts!  If I’m still doing talk stuff though, there have been some FABULOUS 1910s things to riff off of between this year and last.
  • #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!  Suggestions are open at the moment, be sure to have a look at them and add yours!
  • #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.

Well, so far I’ve accomplished the nice selection of undergarments, and the ’30s stuff for vintage everyday.  Plus lots of beautiful accessories.  Haven’t done so well on the big projects, and my year will be taking  a serious turn towards 1890-1920 in preparation for a talk I’m doing.  I’m very excited about the talk, so don’t mind putting medieval on hold to do it.  And I really, really love the 1910s, so that’s good!  On balance, not bad at all!

And here are a couple of pretty, pretty hoopskirt pictures to celebrate how I’m doing:

1860s Greek Key dress thedreamstress.com


1860s Greek Key dress thedreamstress.com


  1. For the poetry in motion challenge there’s just so many options…I’m still trying to decide.
    Yellow handkercheif – flash company
    Shift & apron – London Town
    Red dress – The birth of robin hood
    Edwardian hat – The saucy bird on nellys hat
    silk slippers – Courting too slow
    Blue dress – girl with the blue dress on

  2. Love those photos! (Cuz I took ’em — whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!)

    So exciting to see you progress through the year of projects.

  3. I think it’s great that you do these posts, because it shows nothing is set in stone and accomplishing something, no matter whether it was the original plan, is what matters in the end!

    Like, see, I have not finished my Politics challenge yet, but I did finish stays that were in the making for years!

  4. Erin says

    Even if everything didn’t go as planned, you still made so many great things this year! It’s really inspiring for me. Every time I need some sewing motivation I head over to your blog and there is always something new and wonderful. Thank you and keep up the good work! I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the year!

  5. I’ve got some light yellow linen shirting in stash that would be brilliant for this if I get the time, might do some time travel from the eighteenth century to the 1930’s to make a shirt to go with my sailor inspired trousers for the summer

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