Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF ’14: Favourites for Challenges # 17-20

When I started this post, there were just four challenges left to go in the HSF 2014.  And then, at some point in writing the post, those challenges and all of life’s other challenges caught up with me, and I never finished it!

So, a bit late, but no less appreciated, here are some of the fantastic creations from challenges #17-20 that inspired me.  I picked items that were well made, interesting to look at and think about, pushed the boundaries of the makers knowledge and experience,  and that  I thought best represent the spirit of the Historical Sew Fortnightly; the quest to explore history, raise our skill levels and standard, stretch ourselves (or sometimes just get something done, rather than just procrastinating);  and  the spirit of the individual challenge.

It’s really, really hard to pick, because there are always so many amazing things (even as we experience the inevitable drop-off in submissions towards the end of the year).  For every challenge I’ve tried to showcase a range of historical periods, ways of approaching a challenge, and levels of experience. There are so many more wonderful creations  that I simple couldn’t showcase, so do have a browse of the links through the challenge pages on my blog, and the HSF facebook albums.

Challenge #17 —  Yellow    (and  the facebook album  for the challenge)  

  1. Maria’s mid-14th c gown  –  just stunning.  A beautiful shade of yellow, a gorgeous garment, and don’t you love the apron?
    HSF '14 Challenge #17 Maria's mid-14th c gown
  2. Black Tulip’s recreation of an early 20th c evening bag  — She’s analyzed every detail of the original, and carefully recreated each of the elements, even dyeing her own ribbon when needed!
  3. Segolène’s 1880s corset  —  The corset would be beautiful enough on its own, but she also dyed the fabric and the ribbons using natural dye, making for a thoroughly fascinating and fabulous project in every respect!Bonus: (obviously there are going to be bonuses for this one, because I love yellow SO MUCH and all the photos just made me bounce with happiness).  You must see Asa’s early 17th c yellow doublet, and History Seamstresses medieval needlecase, and Jennifer’s phenomenal yellow tea gown, and Hvitr’s pineapple reticule, and..oh, just go see the whole FB album before I list it all!

Challenge #18 —  Poetry in Motion  (and  the facebook album) I’ll admit that I was a teeny bit disappointed that more people didn’t get excited and do this challenge, because I thought it was a fascinating idea, and my creation is one of my favourite items and posts of the year, but at least the few submissions there were were fantastic!    

  1. Hvitr’s recreation of Hera’s veil   — I mean, she made Hera’s veil!  From the Iliad!  With real carnelian beads!  Talk about inspirational inspiration!
  2. Etta’s 1910s skirt  —  Poetry, far more than prose, can inspire emotion, and Etta picked a particularly pathos inducing poem to recreate, to beautiful effect.
  3. Sophia’s Mina Loy 1910s dress  — A most effective  garment which elegantly combines inspiration from the poet, and the poem.

Challenge #19 — HSF Inspiration  (and  the facebook album)  To keep in the spirit of the challenge, I’ve linked to both my favourites, and their inspiration (and resisted the temptation to just pick people who were inspired by me, which was quite flattering!)

  1. Andrea’s 1840s petticoat  —  they aren’t the most glamorous or exciting of items, so they are easy to overlook, but I really admire the beautiful thought and detailing put into Andrea’s petticoat – the same qualities she admired in her inspiration.
  2. Britta’s Edwardian corset  — a stunning piece of corsetry, inspired by Wearing History’s corset for Challenge #4, Britta’s version immediately made MY inspiration folder!  
  3.  Hvitr’s Egyptian headband – Hvitr, and her inspiration, Catherine, both consistently create fascinating, meticulously researched items, and I always learn something new from their work.  This beaded headband is no exception.

Challenge #20 —  Alternative Universe  (and  the facebook album)  This was our chance to get out and be a little not-historical.

  1. Loose Thread’s historical/fantasy gamurra — I love the combination of fantasy and historical research in this garment, and the though that went into developing her character and costume.  It makes the finished garment so much more ‘real’ and interesting.
  2. Wyldehills ‘unspecified timeperiod’ Renfaire jacket  —  Renfaire’s are often an alternative universe of of their own, but the practical thought and details that went into this garment give it beautiful authenticity.
  3. Jeannette’s Steampunk corset bodice  — A great backstory to the outfit + a great sewing story, and to top it all off, a fantastic finished garment!  Her steampunk outfits are phenomenal!

Well done everyone, both those I highlighted, and those I didn’t manage to list – you all made fantastic things, and I am so inspired by the work you do!


  1. I think of all the favourites Jeanette’s steampunk bodice is my favourite 😀 It’s beautifull and I especially like how incredible happy she looks in the photo’s! Such a happy face is even more inspiring then the garment itself!

  2. Any particular reason I can’t view the Facebook albums – are they only viewable to HSF group members?

    • Sadly yes. We had a lot of members request for the group to be private so all their posts didn’t show up on their pages. If you’d like to be a member we’re more than happy to have you!

  3. Thank you for picking my Poetry in Motion entry! It was my favorite thing I made all year 🙂 I love looking at everyone else’s entries as well.

  4. Ah, I did get excited about poetry all right… so excited that after pulling the place in Pan Tadeusz I wanted to get inspired by, I read about twenty pages more, just because I was sitting there with the book in my hands… And then kept misplacing my materials as I travelled between school and home. I still want to get back to it, absolutely.

    Good to go through them again (or for the first time in many cases).

  5. I’m so happy that you liked my petticoat! I’m very fond of it as well and have used it under modern wool skirts as well. ^^

  6. Thank you so very much, I am really happy you liked my skirt. Unfortunately the fabric bled horribly and now it looks like if it had been washed at least 100 times (namely grey and blotchy) after only having been in the laundry once. Hooray for quality fabrics.

  7. Britta says

    Thank you very much! I am afraid the yellow gown I made that corset for is still no more than an idea and a pile of yellow fabric…

  8. Maria says

    Thank you so much, I am so honored to see a picture of my dress on your website. This dress was a bit of a challenge for me since it was the first one i made that was supposed to be as historical correct as possible. I really like it and it fits me perfect and is really nice to wear.

  9. Thanks for the shout out! These are all stunning projects, and I’d actually managed to miss Asa’s doublet on the Facebook page so I’m really pleased you linked to it here. Must go check through the Facebook albums again to see what else I missed.

  10. Wyldehills says

    I am so glad you liked my Bizarro Ren Jacket! It was a piece I was pretty “meh” about for the most part, so it’s nice to see that it reads better to other people.

  11. Thank you, I’m glad you liked the gamurra. It’s one of my new favourites – just need to think again about underpinnings.

    And I’m enormously flattered about being included in this list. Really made my day! I also saw a lot of very pretty stuff that I’d missed earlier, so yay for that as well.

  12. Thank you very much ! I am really happy you liked my corset. The dying part was so much fun, it even helped me to make it up with yellow (I have to admit that I usually don’t like this color…)
    And I’d like to thank you for the amazing job you are doing with this project, it’s been a great source of motivation and inspiration for me 🙂

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