The Historical Sew Monthly 2015

One year, a challenge every month  (due by the last day of the Month), and at the end of it, 12 fabulous historical garments.


The Historical Sew Monthly 2015

How it works:

Every month  in 2015 will feature a themed challenge and we’ll each sew (or knit, or crochet, or tatt, or embroider, or whatever it is you call making a hat, or otherwise create) a historical garment or accessory that fits the theme.

For the purpose of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, ‘historical’ is WWII era and earlier, so no later than 1945.

Because there are only 12 Challenges, Challengers are really encouraged to attempt to participate in every single challenge (though, obviously things do come up, and it’s better to participate in some than none!)

Your item can be as basic or elaborate as you want, from a simple fichu to fill in the neckline of a gown, to a full ensemble from the undergarments outward: whatever you need and can can handle time and skill-wise.

The HSF should encourage  research and historical accuracy,  not  fantasy or ‘costume’, but as long as the item is historical, the level of accuracy is really up to your needs, skills, and resources.

You can start your project as early as you need to get it done in time — it doesn’t have to be done in the challenge month.  However, as the HSF is meant to encourage new creations, your challenge item should be finished  no more than one month before the challenge starts.  (so the Feb Challenge can be an item finished Jan 1, but no earlier, etc.).

Feel free to blog about the process of making your project, or use the HSF as an excuse to finish a UFO/PHd that you have already blogged about.

I’ll post pages with inspiration for each  challenge, perhaps with a tutorial or links to helpful sites.  Every month I’ll post my favourite creations from the previous  challenge – not as a contest, but to recognize and highlight creations that really inspiring me.

Some background posts about the HSF:

The Historical Sew Fortnightly 2013

The Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014

How it started (or, the original post)

Tips and Tricks for doing it (without going crazy)

A discussion about the future of the HSF in 2015 – and my follow-up to that discussion

How to participate:

  • Join the  Historical Sew Fortnightly group  on Facebook. The challenges are listed as events, and you can choose to ‘attend’ them, chat with other attendees, get ideas, encouragement, and work through difficulties. Then, when your item is done, you can post photos in the album for each challenge, give a description, and link to an online photo album or a blog post if you have one. When you ask to join the HSF Facebook group one of the moderators or I will send you a message with a three questions for you to answer before we accept your request to join.  Please make sure your account allows you to accept messages, and check your ‘Other’ folder for our message.


  • Participate through the  Historical Sew Fortnightly page  on my blog. Leave a comment with a link to your blog to let us know you are participating (please note, I’ll be going through every couple of months and checking links from comments  and will delete comments from those who haven’t participated, so there aren’t a bunch of links to people who aren’t actually doing challenges).  Grab the button below and post it in your sidebar.  Be sure to link it to this page.  With WordPress your html will look like this:<a href=””><img src=”” ></a>  (unless, of course, you save the image to your computer and re-upload it, in which case your image address will look different).

    The Historical Sew Monthly 2015
    There is also page for each challenge linked through the challenge list below (links may not appear  until close to the due date).  Leave a comment on the page for the challenge with links to your blog post or online photo album to show off your creation, and so there is a record of what was created for each challenge.

With each post or photo be sure to give your item a name/title and tell us:

The Challenge:





How historically accurate is it?

Hours to complete:

First worn:

Total cost:

The Goals:

  • To encourage collaborations and interactions in the historical costuming community;
  • To encourage all of us to do more historical research, to improve our standards of historical accuracy, and to expand our historical sewing skills;
  • To provide excuses to sew amazing garments from throughout history;
  • To provide incentive to photograph and document these garments so they can be shared, appreciated and used for reference;
  • And most of all…
  • To have fun!

The Challenges:

  • January —  Foundations:  make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.
  • February —  Colour Challenge Blue: Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.
  • March — Stashbusting:  Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.
  • April  — War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.
  • May — Practicality:  Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even  princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.
  • June —  Out of Your Comfort Zone:  Create  a garment  from a time period you haven’t done before, or  that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.  
  • July —  Accessorize:  The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period  look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.
  • August —  Heirlooms & Heritage:  Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply  to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.
  • September — Colour Challenge Brown:  it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.
  • October —  Sewing Secrets:  Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).
  • November — Silver Screen: Be inspired by period  fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.
  • December — Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.


    • Sorry about that! Images on the blog had a hiccup last night, but I’m pretty sure I’ve restored everything, so it should work properly now.

  1. OH YEAH!! Down for another year, and have already started the first challenge lol (it’s gonna take me um, a long time. Who knew that cording took forever?)

  2. […] jag inte är sÃ¥ bekant med som jag är med den medeltida. I Ã¥r blir det nya utmaningar med en Historical sew monthley, en ny utmaning varje mÃ¥nad. Den här gÃ¥ngen kommer jag främst satsa pÃ¥ att sy en uppsättning […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

  3. I’m excited to give another try at participating! A whole month for each challenge… What CAN’T I make!!! 🙂 Thank you for having the HSF (I guess now its HSM?) continue!!!!!

  4. This looks like so much fun! Interestingly, I came across your blog by seeing this challenge posted on several other blogs as I researched chemise patterns. How apt that the first challenge be foundation garments.

  5. I found your blog by searching for chemise patterns and I saw this challenge on several of the sites I visited. This sounds like a fantastic idea. After taking a much-too-long break from sewing, I was just telling my best friend and fellow seamstress that I feel like I am meeting up with an old lover. I put forth the idea of making an outfit from every century AD, or some variation thereof, since styles changed slower in the earlier times and faster in later. Having other people to do a themed challenge with sounds delightful. Thank you for hosting this.

  6. Count me in ! Before I even discovered this post I was planning to sew a belle epoque- wardrobe for me (and my family) this year and a monthly challenge seams manageable to me- although every single piece will probably be a big challenge for me.

  7. I’m hoping to be able to participate more this year, and with fewer challenges and more time for each one, I think I should be able to, please count me in!

  8. Valerye says

    Just discovered the HSM fifteen minutes ago, and I’m really excited to read about these challenges.

    I’m an antique reproduction doll maker– is it “legal” to make my challenges for 18 inch dolls?

  9. Just found out about this in Fall and kept myself to a monthly personal challenge so I am excited to join in although my goal is to aim for fortnightly by doing one new and one UFO or repair per challenge. 🙂

  10. I’d love to join the challenges this year, I’m in! Monthly is definitely do-able! I started the first challenge already!

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