Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF ’14 – Favourites for Challenges 9-12

Halfway through!

(OK, more than halfway through, as I’m well late on this post: we’re already almost done with Challenge #14, and I’m only just posting about Challenge #12!)

Here are some of the many fantastic items created over the last four (and a bit!) challenge of the Historical Sew Fortnightly.

It was, as always, a huge struggle to narrow all the things I love down to just a few.  There has been a slight dip in the number of submissions just as people loose a little steam at the halfway point, but there are still SO MANY amazing creations.  The ones I’ve chosen are interesting, thoughtful, beautiful, and best demonstrate the goals  of the Historical Sew Fortnightly; the quest to explore history, raise our skill levels and standard, stretch ourselves (and actually finish items);  and  the spirit of the individual challenge.

Entries  without photos link to blog posts, and entries with photos come from Facebook.  I really encourage you to follow the links to the blog posts, as the stories behind each item are as interesting as the items are beautiful!    To see the full facebook albums, you’ll need to belong to the Historical Sew Fortnightly FB group.  When you request to join the group you’ll be sent a message (check your Other folder) asking why you would like to be part of it.  Be sure to answer in full!

There are dozens of dozens further fascinating and wonderful submissions  in the FB albums, and linked through the challenge pages.

Challenge #9 — Black & White  (and the Facebook album) (yes, I have picked a white item, and a black item, and a black and white item, because I can’t help being that kind of person!)

  1. Sew June’s Medieval men’s tunic-   A beautiful, simple, nicely made bit of menswear – something I am always thrilled to see!
  2. Maren’s Regency gown & chemisette  — I originally noticed this for the exquisite and strikingly simple dress, and then I realised that Maren had made a black item, and a white item (and another black item), and the whole thing just makes my heart happy.
  3. Isabella’s Elizabethan bodice  —  While not strictly historically accurate, the jacket is wonderful, and I think the idea of using a modern fabric that is as close aesthetically to the period original as possible is a fascinating way of playing with accuracy and historicism (not to mention a boon to the time short historical seamstress!)

    And also have a look at Katy’s housedress (black and white needn’t be only black & white & sombre!)  Jeannette’s black & white tea gown (because who doesn’t love a tea gown!) and Mariell’s amazing 1860s mourning dress.

Challenge #10 —  Art  (and the facebook album)

  1. Penelope’s 1760-1800 shortgown inspired by John Collett’s ‘The Elopement’   —  First, shortgowns are a really interesting, far too infrequently reproduced 18th century garment, and this one is particularly nice, and second, how AWESOME  is Penelope for being willing to reproduce that face!

    Penelope, John Collett, The Elopement
    Penelope, short gown, 1760-1800

  2. Genoveva’s pleated Renaissance smock  —  Part of a long running project to recreate Holbein’s 1515 portrait of Dorothea Meyer, the smock is just exquisite – in looks and construction.  And Gevoveva’s even generously done a tutorial and pattern so we can make our own recreation!
  3.  Hvitr’s woven band taken from a  fresco from Tyrins, 13th century BCE  —  OK, I’ll admit it.  I’m a fangirl.  I love everything Hvitr makes – it’s all so meticulous, so beautifully thought out, so fascinating, and I’m never ever going to attempt it myself!

    Hvitr,  woven band taken from afresco from Tyrins, 13th century BCE

And I’m also madly enamoured of Annette’s Picasso swimsuit, Gil’s 12th c bliaut  (menswear!),  Klára’s 18th century fisherwoman’s cap (her reproduction is eerily accurate!), and really, EVERYTHING!  This challenge was so inspiring!

Challenge #11 — The Politics of Fashion (and the Facebook album)

  1. Eva’s 1920s Soviet dress    1920s & ’30s Soviet textiles and fashions are such an interesting subject, and Eva has done a great job of exploring how clothes were used to express the new political climate in the Soviet Union, and her Lamanova based dress is fantastic.
  2. Lace’s Edwardian shirtwaist  —  The shirtwaist was the symbol of the liberated woman in the early 20th century, and (as Lace demonstrates), was linked to everything from the Gibson girl, to striking garment workers.
    Lace, Edwardian Shirtwaist
  3. Sewing from Another Time’s Bloomer outfit  —  Great research, with helpful links, and a lovely reproduction  one of the most iconically political outfits of all time.

    Bonus: for another fabulous Bloomer outfit, check out Jessica’s beautiful example – she’s even considered why her persona would wear it.  And Hvitr made a varafeldr (a Viking faux fur cloak), which were used as currency.

Challenge #12 —  Shape & Support (and the Facebook Album)

  1. Karinne’s men’s fitted stocks  —  I was really excited to see some menswear for Shape & Support, because while it’s been a predominantly  female area in the last century or so, there were periods when men’s garments also sucked in, lifted out, engineered and enhanced areas.  And the shorts, like everything Karinne makes, are beautifully made and wonderfully researched.
  2. Lucie’s 1880s bustle  —  I really like this because it’s a reminder that not all bustles were enormous and aggressive – there were periods when just a little bit of support was the desired look.

    Lucie's 1880s dimity bustle

  3. Diana’s 1830s-40s Corded Petticoat  —  A particularly nice example of the immediate precursor to the wire hoopskirt.  Diana’s petticoat really shows how effective corded petticoats could be at holding out the weight of skirts.
    Diana's 1830s-40s corded petticoat for the HSF '14

This was one of those challenges where there were so many beautiful corsets and stays that I simply couldn’t choose one over in favourites!  Pop over to the FB album for a deluge of stunning corsetry and stay-ness.


Thank you to everyone who sewed along for those last four challenges!  I’m so inspired by everything that was made!


  1. thank you for including my black regency dress here – makes me very happy!

  2. Elise says

    I have been missing out by not popping by the group more often. Everything is so beautiful, creative, and full of vim. So cool. Thank you for administering this–and for your efforts, too!

  3. Thanks so much for including my weaving 🙂 These last few challenges have been great – just so many fantastic garments from so many different eras.

  4. I don’t know what happened with that comment, I did not type that url in the body of the comment!

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