Historical Sew Fortnightly

Historical Sew Fortnightly 2015? Let’s talk about it

So, that time of year has come.  We’re almost at the end of HSF 2014, and are thinking about the new years sewing.  People have been asking if there will be a HSF 2015.

The answer is, I don’t know.

I’m tired.

Running the HSF is a lot of work.  There is the stuff on my page: writing the challenges, the page, answering questions.  Writing inspiration posts.  Organizing voting for the HSF Choice Challenge.  Favourites posts (which I am ridiculously behind on).  Just compiling the list of contributors takes hours and hours – and then half of the list turns out to be bloggers  who do one project and then loose interest. And then there is the Facebook group: keeping spammers out, folders and events up, and information updated in the files.  Plus the occasional squabble.  The only reason I’ve survived the FB page at all is the fantastic  Sarah of A Most Peculiar Mademoiselle  and equally fantastic Elizabeth of Sewing & Sightseeing, who have been co-moderating.  

All of these things mean I’m not writing posts I really want to write (like Terminology posts), and not sewing things I really want to sew (like 14th century, and a robe de cour).  And not spending time with my husband and doing up our house.

So I’m a little exhausted, and a little disillusioned.  I can see why Mena just abandoned the Sew Weekly after three years.  You burn out.

On the other hand, there are lots of amazing things that have come out of the HSF.  Fabulous creations, wonderful people, knowledge…

And there are  still challenges that I want to do.

So here are some questions:

Do you want a HSF ’15?  Are you committed  to throwing yourself into another year of challenges and sewing?

What did you like about HSF ’14 (or HSF ’13), and what would you like to be different in HSF ’15?

How could  the HSF be changed to make it easier and less time consuming for me?


  1. Katie says

    Why not make it a Facebook only thing? It seems to me that that is the place we all gather to explore and enjoy each others work.
    Also we can have a poll and use the most popular Challenges for the next year.

  2. I loved the first one, I got so much done! 2014 was not a good year for my personal life, so I mostly lurked and admired. I would be up for another (I think) as my life is getting back in order.

  3. I’d love a HSF ’15. It’s been so much fun and I’ve learned so much! Perhaps having some co-hosts would help spread out the work load. There would be more people to help moderate the facebook group and do blog posts related to the HSF. You could also do fewer challenges (maybe once a month) if that would help.

      • I’d love to help co-host! 😀 I think spreading out the inspiration posts and picking favorites among several bloggers would definitely help out your work load. (Also not feeling like you have to do every challenge will help too!) Please do email me so I can see how I can help out next year!

        • I’m willing to help on the FB page to, I’ve had a pretty busy year (new house, moving, turning that house into something you can actually live in) But next year things should settle down and I kind of check the fb page every day already 🙂

          And maybe you can have co-writers to, or geust-writers who can do the (or a part of) challange and/or inspirations pages.

          Email me is you want me on board 🙂

  4. I can understand the exhaustion, but I really DO like the HSF, even if I don’t try to do every challenge.
    Of the individual elements you mentioned – why not have a FB poll asking people to pick their favorite elements, and choose the top 2-3 that resonate with you? Ask fellow bloggers to guest-write some of the inspiration posts?
    I think you’ve done a lot to make it a full, involving experience – but it doesn’t have to be to keep the main focus of the challenge IMO.

    • I really like the idea of having others sign up to take on the inspiration posts. I think there is also merit to thinking about lowering the number of challenges (maybe a sew monthly?)

      Just thinking “out loud ” so to speak, but regarding the blogger list I wonder if a self sustaining (but simply moderated) system built through a Google form would allow easier supervision of that aspect. It could even be configured to allow bloggers to submit their links to blog or Facebook posts for individual challenges and consolidate them itself one place for viewing. It probably sounds more complicated than it actually is but in my head I could see it working. Let me know and I’d be happy to help set it up.

      I think you’ve done a wonderful thing for the community with the HSF and I totally understand why you might be heading to burn out. That said, I would definitely rather see it evolve than disappear entirely.

  5. Adrienne Myers says

    I don’t know how it could be accomplished, but is there a way to spread the clerical type work to others? Like compiling a list of supposed entrants? Maybe having a different time interval (Though Historical Quarterly dosn’t have the same ring)?

    Realm of Venus has seemed to keep their contests going, perhaps reaching out to the moderator there for any ideas you could incorporate.

    • Now that you mention it. How about a Historical Sew Monthly, with monthly challenges/themes? It would at least halve the inspiration/preparation work and would give those who can’t get down to it (bi)weekly a little more space to plan and finish their item. 🙂

      • Historical Sew Monthly would definitely work for me. I know I struggle to get two projects done every month.

      • I was also going to suggest a Sew Monthly. It would be much easier to keep up with! I was also struggling with the two projects and ended up with a ton of UFOs this year.

      • I’m afraid I only managed a couple of challenges this year, mostly due to getting overwhelmed with life and my other sewing projects… but I would really love another crack at it next year. The Monthly suggestion would be lovely, much easier to actively participate and deal with the rest of life as well (like an active 2-year-old “helper”).

      • Stephani says

        Yes, a Historical Sew Monthly would be more manageable. I have only completed 1 challenge in 2014–not because I didn’t want to participate or because I didn’t have ideas, but because I set different goals for my sewing this year that meant I focused only about 1/3 of my efforts on historical clothing and the rest of ‘real-life’ clothing. And a bi-weekly schedule doesn’t leave much room for other things. A monthly one would free up time and remove certain constraints, while reducing the amount of work for the hosts. The HSF is such a source of inspiration that I couldn’t bear to remove myself from the group even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to participate much this year. But it’s also a wonderful well of knowledge for all of us. Thank you so much, Leimomi, for creating the HSF and managing it to such a high level these two years.

      • A “sew-monthly” might be much more accomplish-able – as it is I figured I’d to the half-marathon as a newcomer, since the full marathon seemed like a huge step up for me!

        I will say that the challenges have been inspiring, and have kept me ‘on track’ producing things that may have otherwise lingered merely as ideas.

    • I also love the idea of converting to the Historical Sew Monthly!

      • Same for me.
        I want to sew with you but to the end of this year I really don’t have time. Every day I just take a look and I see the challenge but I understand your time consuming as I’m a mother who work and when I come in my house there is so much to do that I have no time to make challenge. I have a little (very little) time every day for me (and yes my legs are fluffy because I don’t have just 1hour to spend in make them) last night I repair the historical trouser of mycompagnon, so YES one challenge make, but for the right I do prefer to make a new one for him.

        Please don’t cloe your challenge, it’s so inspirring but also perhaps just let the facebook and ask every body to propose a challenge.

  6. I’m one of those who only managed a couple of projects (I got pregnant and went into survival mode) and can’t promise to do better next year (because yes, pregnancy is naturally followed by baby and a whole new kind of survival mode). That said, please please keep the Facebook group going if nothing else – I visit every day and love to see what people are working on and the knowledge sharing is wonderful. it helps keep me sane to live vicariously through you guys! I’d be willing to help moderate if needed (I can do that one handed while baby sleeps on me 😉 )
    I think the challenges are a great focus for the group, but a lot of the costuming forums that used to be active have been abandoned over the last few years, and the hsf Facebook group has filled the hole for me, and I would continue to visit as long as people wanted to share their projects.

  7. Wish I could, but I haven’t even been able to keep it up this year.

    I think you need a core group of committed members, each with a role to play if you want to continue. One picks favorite projects, one posts inspirations, someone is the group mod, etc. You need a life outside of HSF. And THANK YOU for all your hard work. I know I haven’t been able to keep up, but I’ve really enjoyed it.


  8. Started midway as I only heard of it there. I did some challenges and then life got all kinds of crazy so i was kind of hoping for a new year.
    I like the Facebook group, its where i go and maybe it would be less time consuming to keep it there?

  9. Definitely in for another. After first participating this year, I finally got the hang of balancing it with my chaotic day-to-day life and there is so much I would still love to get done… but of course I do understand your reasons very well, if there would not be another. Yet I think I’d shed a few tears over it.
    And, all in all I’d like to give you a big Thank You, Leimomi. Thanks to you and the HSF, the sewing community has really changed more than a bit. On top of that, you just are a wonderful hostess. 🙂

  10. Mairi McCloud says

    I admit, I totally failed this year. I was hoping to do half of the challenges, and so far, I think I’ve only done three. Moving country and being somewhat nomadic and jobless for a good month may have contributed to that, but still…But I have enjoyed the FB page a lot, and the fashion-related links, questions and concerns that end up on the page.
    Someone else mentioned that maybe once a month might be more manageable? I think it would be easier to fulfil the challenges if they were just monthly, but I don’t know if that would help you.

  11. Mairi McCloud says

    I admit, I totally failed at the HSF this year. I was hoping to do half of the challenges, and so far, I think I’ve only done three. Moving country and being somewhat nomadic and jobless for a good month may have contributed to that, but still…But I have enjoyed the FB page a lot, and seeing everyone else’s sewing projects, as well as the fashion-related links, questions and concerns that end up on the page.
    Someone else mentioned that maybe once a month might be more manageable? I think it would be easier to fulfil the challenges if they were just monthly, but I don’t know if that would help you.

  12. I agree about the facebook-only thing, with links to blogs for those who have them. The facebook group has become a really valuable resource and a wonderful gathering-place for historical costumers, and I would be very sad if it disappeared. The challenges inspire me, even when I don’t manage to have things ready to fit into them, and I love seeing other people’s work. Even if you don’t do challenges next year, can we keep the group? I think it’s a really productive and inspiring environment, in a way that none of the other costuming pages/groups I’m part of have managed to become.

  13. If love to join a 2015 challenge and would be willing to help out on some of the site-work if you needed extra fingers somewhere! I’ve been enviously drooling over the 2014 stuff I’ve seen over the interwebs, so I’ve been crossing my fingers for another year… Selfishly I say ‘yes!’

  14. stephanie says

    Please do 2015! I just got started and am mostly lurking and doing I hope, next year. I cannot keep up with fortnightly challenges myself. I just don’t have that much time, although I can try to work some of my normal sewing into it, and so might make two challenges some months. I don’t know what people would think if you made it 12 challenges a year instead of 24? that would decrease the amount of work for you. you could do a poll!

    For me I never sew half the things I want to. having a deadline and a place to post them will give me the impetus to get thorugh some of my backlog!

  15. Though I just learned about this a few months ago my thoughts may not be relevant but mayhaps you could be a moderator and participate where you can?

  16. As someone who is currently in school and doesn’t have the time or resources to participate, I would live to see the HSF still exist in 3 or 5 years. If that means it becoming an every other year thing, or a monthly instead of fortnightly, that’s fine with me! I would just love it to still be around when I can actually participate.

  17. I am one of those who did one or two HSF’s but was too busy in my work life to get anything else done. I desperately *want* to do HSF but I worry that life gets in the way 🙁

  18. I really dedicated myself to doing every single challenge this year, and I might actually do it! But I didn’t think it was something I could do again next year, because as you say, it is exhausting. Every two weeks is a lot to accomplish, and some challenges inevitably suffer. It’s also hard to make time for other projects in your life.

    All that said, I think the idea of a HSQuarterly or a HSMonthly is a great idea. It offers more time to complete more in depth projects, and it would keep the boards and discussions alive.

    • I was just going to suggest a quarterly or even a bi-monthly challenge myself.
      As for your other postings…..rate the dress or whatever….do them as you feel. As long as we all kinda post on fb and there is a challenge to finish something once in awhile…all is good with the world. Do NOT kill yourself and suck the joy out of this for yourself…a little more time between finishes will give more of us a chance to participate fully and really do some fun stuff

  19. Alice Armstrong says

    I have only done a few challenges, and those were from HSF ’13. However, I absolutely love the community and I love seeing what others are working on and sharing experience & expertise. I skipped HSF ’14 because I spent the first half of this year pregnant, and now I have an infant in the house. It’s been a little hectic. 🙂

    I love the ideas for projects, but I can completely understand that it is too much work for one person to do even part time. I might suggest going to monthly or even bi-monthly challenges. Still lots of ideas, but more time to complete projects and less overhead for you and the small team of helpers.

    You have created a wonderful community, which I would love to continue to be a part of. Let us know how we can help keep things going.

  20. Monica says

    Why not bring on up to 10 Admins to make up challenges and poll group opinion. Also, you don’t even have to make new challenges to keep the group going. People will always post historical costuming questions and pictures/progress, as well as we have two years of challenges to recycle or go back and complete ones we missed. Ect.

    • I would love another stab at nearly all the past challenges! And I think we could easily find 10 amazing volunteers to help admin/moderate for next year (and beyond). Great suggestion!

      • Monica says

        Thanks, I think the idea is pretty feasible. I REALLY want to go back and do the fairy-tales challenge, I missed it even though I was going to join. D:

        I don’t post backlog cause I thought we weren’t allowed. lol if its open to it now I’d so post a bunch of stuff!!

  21. I’d like another run at it. Monthly would be nice as it is a bit of a stretch to make one every two weeks. That being said, having an idea simulator (the challenge) and having a dead line got me out of a slump two years ago and kept me out. I guess one day I may reach a point where I will have to stop (closet too full!) But you gotta do what you gotta do to survive.

  22. I’m definitely up for HSF 2015. That said, if we are going to continue it we need to find a way of doing it that is sustainable for you. It is such a lot of work and I completely understand your position.

    As I’ve mentioned before upthread, I’d be happy with less frequent challenges in 2015. Fact is, two projects every month is not always achievable for me, and it also means I avoid big, time consuming projects in favour of more realistic goals. I’m always amazed at how much you manage to achieve!

    If you would like others to write inspiration posts, favourites posts, etc. I’d be happy to help out there.

    I do think the FB group is an important part of HSF. It provides a community space and that’s important, particularly since we’re spread all over the world. If you preferred to have a FB-only HSF, I think that could work well.

    Another thing I want to say is that I know we all completely understand if you don’t make something for every challenge. It’s lovely to see your projects, but we also understand that you have a lot of other commitments besides the HSF.

  23. Annabelle says

    I’m one of the “just a few challenges” offenders, having had some frustrating health issues this year, but I really have loved seeing what people made on FB! I vote that you and others not worry about compiling a list of entrants or feeling obligated to blog your favorites…you have worked SO hard to keep this thing running and I am extremely grateful to you and the other two helpers on FB. In my opinion, a Facebook-only group would be more than adequate, and maybe you could just re-use all the themes from year 1! I’m sure there were people watching and thinking “I wish I could get to all these but it won’t be this year”, plus believe me…I think just about any of us could find a way to justify our inspired projects under at least one heading 😉

  24. Sue H says

    I certainly want to continue to enjoy and occasionally participate in this wonderful activity!

  25. Ann Wass says

    I haven’t been able to keep up, despite planning sewing for a purpose this year. I think once a month would be worth a try. I, too, love visiting the Facebook page, but I understand about the enormous amount of work involved for the hostesses. Well, you seem to have several volunteers here that could maybe allow you to spread the work, and also figure out ways to streamline/simplify.

  26. Victoria says

    I think lowering it to monthly will allow for greater participation. With life interrupting sewing, I have 12 (yes 12) UFOs from HSF 13& 14 that I couldn’t get finished on time and moved on hoping to finish the next one, and another 3 that were finished but I didn’t have time to write a blog post about and therefore never posted. I know that a big part of this is my own time management and CADD, but I also know that I am not the only one.

    I also agree that reaching out to fellow bloggers for guest posts would take a great deal of the load off, as well as making it fb only.

  27. Pam Moore says

    I would love it if it were monthly or even quarterly. I was hoping to accomplish more than one challenge. Making it aFB only would be easier too. If you need a break from it, everyone understands that. You’ve done a terrific job with it and I for one have learned so much! Thank you for all the hard work.

  28. Marlo says

    I was doing well the first few months, but since then I’ve been ill a lot. I’d love to do it next year, and I think monthly challenges would be great.

  29. So, I am a chronic lurker. I have been inspired for two years now and only dreaming of participating. I love all that I have seen and learned and my fingers have itched to make things. I am finally at the point where am able to pick up a needle again. Thanks for helping sustain me with such a wonderful feast for the eyes, mind and imagination. Here’s the thing (and it sounds like am mostly alone in this!) I have only once in two years looked at the FB page. I have an account but I just don’t go there. I have loved just reading your inspiration posts and roundups when they happen. I understand those are hugely time consuming too, but they are different in character from moderating a page ( I imagine). I would love to see HSF continue in some form and I would miss the research and knowledge that you bring to each challenge, besides which your writing voice is such a great balance of scholarship and joy. I have also loved finding so many new inspirations through the roundups. Anyway, the bottom line is a big ‘thank you!’ from me! Please do what makes you truly happy.

    • Me too! I lurk, I look, I love – and I don’t have Facebook.
      Please, Dreamstress, don’t make it Facebook-only! I like the idea of making it monthly, though – especially encouraging to those of us who reel at the idea of making twenty-four items.
      Still, don’t commit yourself to anything that fills you with foreboding instead of excitement, anticipation and joy. As Jethro said to Moses: you’re going to have a coronary if you keep trying to do all this by yourself (I paraphrase…).

      • Anna-Carin says

        I was beginning to think I was the only one not on Facebook… 🙂 Still, if you feel that Facebook-only would be the most manageable (with help) and that you’d then enjoy continuing the HSF without feeling stressed and burdened by it, then that’s great. When in doubt, take a break.

        I second the thoughts about fewer challenges. Fortnightly challenges might work during one single year, but doing it year after year must be like a constant marathon (says the lurker who hasn’t tried a single challenge).

        Maybe it’s time for a “Historical Sew Freely” in 2015? For instance, you could post rules saying that people pick any HSF theme from the past two years (or a UFO that fits), complete it at their own pace, and then you do a monthly post where you ask those who’ve completed any HSF project since last month to post a comment with a link to their blog post or pics.

  30. Cecily says

    I’m one of those who fell out halfway through, I actually did a few of them (but forgot to post pics cuz I’m lazy and can’t take a good photo to save my life) and then life happen (hubby lost his job and then we were waiting to hear about new jobs and then a move across the country in 2 weeks). I love the Challenges and seeing what people do. It’s inspiring and humbling and just wonderful. Also it’s a great place to ask questions and get advice (which is hard if you don’t have an IRL historical sewers) So I think keeping at least the FB page up and running would be lovely. But go have a life. I will certainly keep looking at the challenges for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck or in a rut for inspiration

  31. I want to again say thank you so much for hosting the past and current HSF’s! The ideas, people posting, and deadlines, are what finally got me sewing again. I love the format of information to be included with each met challenge. That’s the inspiration I needed. A huge thank you, as well, to your co-hosts for all their work.

    Offering up myself for any sorting/tedious sifting type work needed. Or answering already agreed upon question/answers. (FAQ type stuff, rules, etc.) I know I can do both of those, even if I can’t figure out sewing geometry that day.

    My thought on the subject of compiling bloggers and such, is to simply let them post a comment, with blog link, on the main year’s list post. After they complete a challenge, especially if they don’t use FB. Something like, “I met the challenge ____, and here is my post on it”? If that’s not how blogging works, and the compiling could then be delegated (not certain what all is involved in that)?

    That means the voting poll (compiled by helpers (?)), for the upcoming year’s challenges. Then the year’s announcement and list post, where bloggers would comment with linked posts. The only follow on posts would be if you were able, or interested, to make something for the challenges.

    Spread the other types of posts around, to others who are posting their willingness (that particular bit isn’t something I think I can do.). Otherwise, just commenting, encouraging, when/as you can, possibly? Sort of circulating around the gallery, and let the caterers, clean up crew, etc., do the rest. 🙂

    Agree with having people submit ideas in a easy to copy/paste format. Then use an automated voting poll app/plug in, as a way of coming up with the new challenges. Should be mostly copy paste (?), other than throwing in an idea if you feel so moved, I hope?

    Twelve/whatever total votes per person. Possibly limited to the FB group, if likely to be exploited otherwise? Recycling a certain amount of challenges each year, from previous years, sounds good to me as well. Or modified slightly, like a different color challenge each year, etc. Not sure if that is enough/would help?

    Personally, I would be very happy with a HSMonthly, or two bimonthly challenge paths, because I can not seem to sew anything useful, to completion, in a 2 week span. Even a month is rough. Quarterly seems too long, although probably more doable. 😉 I do like the deadline concept, but not so much being unable to meet it around my life. (Not to mention the snooze button pushing on my notifications every day. :P)

    I can’t imagine what you must be feeling, trying to sew up something for ALL the challenges yourself, organize/write/publish so many related posts, and sort out the whole event. Whew. *faints* A monthly, multi-path, or whatever, timeframe might also give you more breathing room? Obviously, I love the event… 🙂

  32. I would love an HSF ’15, but I understand that it makes more work for you. (Sometimes it was a lot of work just doing some of the challenges!) I’d be happy with fewer challenges, or if you took a break from HSF and did the next one in 2016.

  33. Minerva says

    You could downsize the HSF projects for 2015 – one project per quarter.

    You have identified tasks you would rather really really be directing your energy towards, including spending more time with your husband and homemaking.

    Those are red flags, Dreamstress. You are not
    required to keep the mob happy.

    Why don’t you announce that you plan to install a Paypal function with a mandatory $5 donation for each HSF article you write for 2015 – password protected – which is a fraction of what your time is really Worth. See how that goes down?

    Protect your home and husband time first.

    • How that goes down is badly. I’m a Czech student, no PayPal and even five dollars is quite a large amount to spend for me. It’s about what a Burda magazine (cca 20+ patterns) costs around here and I haven’t bought one in years, if that puts it in perspective.
      That’s to say, I perfectly understand the idea behind it, but the one thing that the HSF has been awesome for was opening up to people who can’t pay for subscription sites and historically accurate patterns, and have to Frankenstein vintage patterns and draft their own and use old bedsheets to make their makes, and still do amazing things. So while Leimomi definitely deserves time off and everything, I don’t think that’s the way to go if we want to preserve the spirit of the HSF.

      So, yes… this is a bit of a sore spot with me. I’ve recently seen a Tumblr post saying “If your list of ideas how to save money starts with you assuming I spend a dollar a day on coffee, you already assume I have more money than I do.” And that pretty much sums up my situation. What’s “just a dollar” for people on one side of the world may be an actual meal for people on the other side, and as you can guess, when you have to choose between a hobby and two to five meals, food wins every time. And the HSF has become a wonderfully international community, so I bet this would not be just my problem.

      A donate button would be fine with me, though. 😉

      • Minerva says

        What is your interpretation of the ‘spirit
        of the HSF’ then?

        Receiving something for nothing all of the time. Nice dose of self-entitlement you have going there.

        • Actually, Hana gives a HUGE amount back – she’s done a ton of research and made it publicly available, made a mid-Victorian jacket pattern available (and free), and she writes beautiful, thoughtful, fascinating posts on her blog. And she’s one of the most kind, supportive, lovely bloggers I know. Whenever I see a comment from Hana on my blog it makes my day a little better. She may not be in a position to pay money (which I have never asked), but she’s given a ton to the HSF community. Certainly not something for nothing!

          She’s just pointing out that her place in the world and life don’t make a monetised system workable. I’ve never limited the HSF based on experience or skill, and I certainly wouldn’t want to limit it based on income.

          I’m glad you’d be willing to pay (and am chuffed that you think it is worth it!), but charging for the HSF really isn’t the spirit I had in mind at all!

          • Thank you very much for the defense, Leimomi. In Minerva’s defense, that comment above did come out way more as a personal rant than it ought to have, and for that I am sincerely sorry.

  34. Thank you for taking all the time to run this. It was an incredible year and I was so inspired by everything you do. Even though I was only able to complete a few challenges, I was so happy to find a community who loves historical sewing as much as I do and beyond. I hope you can find some way to divvy up the workload to keep a Sew Monthly or facebook group alive, but that said, it shouldn’t be a chore for you. Your terminology posts and sewing projects are always great and I would love to see more of those!

  35. I would like to go on, but as others have said, maybe in a lighter version. I like the idea of a HSMonthly – I too spent half this year on pregnancy survival mode, and the other half taking care of a new baby, not to mention the toddler. There’s no way I can manage one challenge every two weeks in the foreseeable future. To be honest, I haven’t managed even doing one challenge a month this year.

    I love the facebook group; so much inspiration, knowledge and support. Also, connecting with people from all over the world is nice (and might make it easier for me finding locals who are into this whole craziness if we move abroad, as seems likely): the way the same period can look slightly – or hugely – different depending on one’s location is so exciting to see. I believe more than one person have tried new periods from the inspiration they’ve gotten from seeing the nice things others have made. But, judging by the number of entries in the photo albums lately, many are getting tired; it’s difficult to keep up, what with family, other obligations, e.t.c.

    Though I like to read the inspirational posts I can understand how much time and research goes into them. Letting others help writing them is a good idea, but only if the ones doing it are good at research. I’d rather have no inspirational posts at all than badly researched ones. They give a fine but important hint as to how crucial it is to study and investigate when making historical clothing.

    So yes, keep it going in some form, but don’t stretch yourself too much. As a co-moderator I have some insight as to the work that goes into the fb-group, and it can feel like too much sometimes. I can’t imagine how you’ve managed to do all the other stuff as well… Thanks for all the work you have put in!

  36. I’m also one of the “handful of challenges” participants (“terminology” is still unfinished on my dressform), both for this year and last, but the amazing community that has grown from this challenge, the incredible amount of eduction and inspiration I’ve taken away, and the wonderful praise and help we all give each other in the Facebook group has been a truly singular and wonderful experience for me. Even though I am still the Slowest Seamstress in the World, the HSF has given me the motivation, information, support, and tools to accomplish projects I never would have dreamed I could complete. And I *love* getting to see other participants make amazing strides in their own sewing, regardless of era/skill/experience. I would be so happy if our community could continue into 2015 and beyond, in any form.

    I do, on other hand, not want it to be such a burden for our dear Dreamstress. As I commented above, I think that maybe trying monthly challenges would make it easier to manage, and would definitely be more my speed personally. But I also understand completely if it’s just too much work. As a participant, I can skip challenges, or throw projects into my closet in a fit, or not check in with the group for a few days when life is hectic. As the Leader, you cannot. I think a lot of positive suggestions have been made by others regarding ways to manage the group in a less demanding way, and I do hope that we can work together to keep this great thing going! I will be enthusiastically on board (in my small way) if some iteration of HSF 2015 comes to pass. But I will also understand if that is just not in the cards. And I will be forever grateful to ALL of you for making the last 2 HSF’s such a fantastic part of my life!

  37. I loved having a challenge to participate in, as it helps me focus and work on projects in between times when I want them. I usually only end up sewing a couple of things a year and mostly rushing them in a day or two before I want to wear them. This year I’ve finished many projects and haven’t worn half of them yet, but just having them done and ready for me to do so at a moment’s notice is wonderful!

    I would absolutely be up for another year of challenges at whatever pace they’re set at, BUT I want you to take care of YOU first. (I also bet you’d have no shortage of blog-hosts if you wanted them!)

    I solemnly swear I will, someday, finish all of the challenges from ’13 and ’14. I haven’t been participating recently because I’ve been writing a novel, and it is eating me up inside. I want to sew so badly. I have challenges to complete!

    • Aforementioned novel has eaten my brain, so I forgot to say a huge THANK YOU for putting this together over the last couple years. I’m so happy and honoured to have been able to participate as much as I have.

  38. So, first of all, thank you very, very much for everything you’ve done with the Historical Sew Fortnightly. While I still may not have much to show for my efforts, I assure you I’ve sewn and made more in the last two years, even when busy, than I talked of in the years before! And that’s the best thing about it. It encourages one not just to make things, but to consider them in a new way, provides inspiration and research and a group to fall back on.

    And considering I’ve felt a bit of a burnout with my own “extracurricular” activities recently, even though there’s a smaller amount of those than the HSF, I think I understand perfectly how you feel. Sadly, because of all that and my upcoming school work, I can’t offer much substantial help.

    But it occurs to me that inspiration posts are something I might be able to do, and other people, too, if it is more limited to different eras for various people. (I’d take c.1790-1820, because that’s actually the era I’m also researching for my thesis, so yay, multi-purpose.)
    Divide inspiration posts into eras between people who are interested in various eras, and that way the whole research load is immediately lifted from everyone (you in the first place). Then each post can be shorter for the individual who writes it, while there’s a whole load of inspiration out there for the readers. And it might actually yield interesting finds if, say, people primarily interested in the ancient world or the Middle Ages get their own say (as we’ve already seen with their HSF makes!). Then a “master post” on Facebook for everyone to read through all the posts.
    Would that work?

    I’m also all for:
    a) keeping the Facebook group somehow,
    b) doing it monthly, because it turns out that might be manageable for me, while with the two weeks I never manage to finish and things just get started and then pushed out of the way with other ideas. Or just never started at all in the end. I think this happens for other people as well and then there’s a lot of guilt present in the posts and comments, like “better late than never” and “I’m sadly just looking on” – instead of “yay, look what I made!”
    With a monthly theme, I could see myself finishing more things and even maybe occasionally making more if they’re smaller projects. Less pressure and more actual joy of making, so to say.

    There are still colours that have not been used, and ideas from the HSF Choice poll, and themes that had been particularly popular and then maybe not made for as extensively as people had planned because of Real Life (I totally failed on the Politics of Fashion front, which really bugs me). I think the HSF still has a lot of steam to go, so if we can collectively figure out a way to make it work for everyone, I would really, really want to see it continue, and perhaps do a bit more myself.

    Oops, sorry for making you read all that.

  39. Lisa W says

    2014 has been an awful year and I haven’t managed a single project, despite the best of intentions. I definitely find one project fortnightly well nigh impossible given work and family commitments and would wholeheartedly support a shift to one project every 2 months. This would allow time for more concerted research and investigation, let alone the actual doing.

    Personally, I only interact through the Facebook page but do click through to read articles and Rate-the-Dress! Kudos to you for inspiring and teaching all of us xx

  40. I’ve not done as much as I wanted to, but that’s standard for anyone with children and a job I suspect. I have really enjoyed it, but I’m aware that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and although I’d love to participate in another year I also don’t want you to feel you must.
    Is there any reason why we can’t just carry on doing what we can, posting to Facebook as we make things, but perhaps not having official challenges. That gives us a chance to show everyone what we’re doing, gives everyone some inspiration and takes the pressure off.
    Finally Leinomi, I want to say thank you for what you have done; the first HSF got me interested in historical dress; I started in 1913 and have ended up in the eighteenth century with a full outfit all because of you!

  41. red razors says

    As a prospective taker-parter for 2015, obviously i would prefer that HSF continued in some form. I think i’m similar to many others in that the idea of a public deadline and a theme to stick to would help my sewing so much. That being said, i am very conscious of the work you (and co-moderators) have put in to running the whole concept and leading from the front. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all your blog posts, but oh my god lady, life comes first.

    I think a monthly challenge would be good – i know myself fortnightly seems a little overwhelming and i think it could definitely up participation based on what other commenters have said. Ask other committed participants to lead challenges – spread the workload. Don’t feel like you have to participate in every single challenge, pick and choose your favourites to do. Most of all, do what you need to in order to take your life back.

  42. Just the idea of finishing something every fortnight is exhausting to me. That you actually both do it and administrate it is beyond me. For my own selfish wishes, I would much prefer more Terminology-posts, and more of your own sewing. Life and sewing is supposed to be fun – not overwhelming.

  43. Ã…sa Petersson says

    I’ve one of those who’s been in since day one (or there about) an so far done every single challenge during these two years.
    And let me tell you It is exhausting!
    So my initial response to the question of a HSF 15 is – No.
    I can not keep this up anymore, and I’m ready to throw in the sewing towel completely (and I’m not even co admin).
    The short time between challenges basically keeps me from doing any research what so ever, and then forces me to rush to finish, photograph and blog about an item that I don’t love and which will more then likely go down the basement unworn.
    I’m pretty sure that was not Leimomis intent, nor was it mine. But it seems I can’t handle this in a moderate way at all (or “Lagom” as we say in Sweden).

    What about taking a sabbatical break from HSF during 2015?
    Keep the page up, and let everyone complete the challenges they missed or want to re-do.
    Fill up those folders with well researched items instead of rush jobs, and start again fresh and inspired for HSF16.

    I also like the HSMonthly idea and think that would work to get everyone working a more sensible way.

    I agree with Sarah about the research and inspirational posts – better to have none the ill-researched posts.
    And I do understand the will to keep some of the HSF action happening on your blog (after all I bet 95% of my readers came from the HSF).

    I think we all agree that we owe much to the HSF, and that we will support whatever you decide to to.


  44. I’m actually going to disagree with just about everyone here. I don’t want challenges to shift to only monthly or quarterly deadlines. I know myself, and I know that I’m an extreme procrastinator who only got things done because of the deadlines. (That and you made me a mod so I felt I should step up my game.) I know that if next year we went to once a month, I wouldn’t start until a couple weeks in, have much grander plans because it was a monthly project, and still be a bit late with finishing, really frustrated with myself and the hectic two weeks I just put myself through, and come up with only half as many projects as this year. One of the most important things that HSF is supposed to teach you (I believe) is to budget your time and expectations.

    That being said, completing a full marathon this year was exhausting, and I don’t think I can do it again next year, but if it stays every fortnight that means I get to pick which half or so challenges I could try for next year. I think at most 20 participants this year are doing the full marathon, and that’s fine! It’s not about meeting every deadline, it’s just about sewing more, and more historically accurate, whatever that means to each participant.

    As for suggestions: I love the idea of guest inspiration posts. You probably have enough offers of help in that regard in the comments already, and you could either post something small on thedreamstress linking to their blog, or they could send you their post (though not logistically sure how) and you could host their post on your site.
    I also think the participants list isn’t really necessary. If you participate, you either link to your blog on facebook when you post your challenge photos, or the non-FB version on thedreamstress. The only times I looked at that really long list of blogs is when I checked to see I was on it, and I think once when I was really bored and browsed through. I click through to peoples’ blogs when they post photos I’m interested in learning more about. A long list of blog titles really doesn’t tell me anything.
    Also, you don’t have to be a mod on FB–or at least not one who responds to membership requests. Sarah and I have been doing it a year, and we could easily train someone else in “the ways” of mod-ing. And I at least can step it up a bit, creating events even if you really wanted to step back. You’d still be admin, but you can always hire more minions to do the dirty work.
    I really want HSF to continue. I just think you really need to ask what aspects you can get help with, if you want to continue. And then just ask.

  45. Jeanette Murray says

    So here is more work for you to read all our comments. But since you are reading, please accept my sincerest thank you for all your time in hosting the HSF. It has been an incredible experience for me. It was the inspiration for me to create some costumes I might not otherwise have created. Thank you! I have met every Challenge to date, some twice, and have plans to complete the year. As a participant I have also worked to view all the other creations, read blogs, and made comments. I feel that support is important to the participant. I’ve been surprised that with over 2,000 participants HSF has less than 100 and sometimes only 20 entries for a Challenge. Occasionally there is a Challenge entry that sparks the group and there are comments and likes, but those rarely have high numbers. I can understand that for you as the creator seeing that low level of participation is discouraging. It has been for me as a participant. For the future? As an active participant I could see running HSF 13 again where you already have posts written. That would save a lot of time. I think the fortnightly Challenge is still good as participants always have a choice in what they will create. Fortnightly just gives more choices. I support whatever your choice will be and thank you for such a wonderful year! Please let me know whatever I can do to assist!

  46. I completely understand your tiredness (I don’t know if it is a real word). Thank you for all you’ve done. The Historical Sew Fortnightly is a super great thing. Unfortunately this year I could’nt do enough projects for personal reasons and I am really frustrated about that because there were awsome themes I wanted to do.

    For me every fortnight is too complicated and I know I can’t keep the rythm. As many of precedent comments it will be easier for me if it was a Historical Sew Monthly. But even if it stays every fortnight I would be happy to do some challenges.

    And if there is no HSF in 2015 I know I will do some of the challenges I couldn’t realize at my rythm because that gave me a lot of ideas ! So thanks for all this creativity that you permitted. (as alway sorry for my poor english)

  47. Antonia Mandić says

    my 5 cents: I love HSF becouse its friendly to anyone from begginers to sewing goddeses. I love it becouse its all period involved, I love it as it does inspire us all and make us grow learning from everyone. I know its time consuming running it all, and that most of us can not participare to every single challange there is. I think I’ve partecipated at 4 or 5 , and probably will be doing other 2 till the end of the year. but I think its a good thing having different challanges, I dont think that one at the month would make more people participate, as life happens to everyone. to make it easier for you maybe you could just let write the inspirational post to somebody else, take it easy, maybe leave out the “best in challange” posts? just be involved less then now but do continue !!!

  48. I had actually just joined and was planning on starting HSF in 2015, so I’m really bummed to hear that might not be a possibility. Maybe it would help to switch the challenges to once a month, facebook only?

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