The Historical Sew Monthly 2022

2022 is the 10th year of the Historical Sew Monthly!

How it works:

The Historical Sew Monthly (HSM) 2021 is a monthly historical garment challenge.  Every month  in 2022 will feature a themed challenge.  Sew (or knit, or crochet, or tatt, or embroider, or milin, (or whatever it is you call making a hat), or otherwise create) a historical garment or accessory that fits the monthly theme.

We’d love it if you did all 12 challenges, but how many you complete, and what order you do them in, is up to you.  Push yourself and participate in all 12 challenges, do a half-marathon with 6, or just pick and choose the ones that fit your sewing schedule. Do them in order, or skip around doing the challenges as it fits your schedule.

Finish all 12 challenges by the end of 2022, and there will be an exciting finishers badge for you to put on your blog/IG/FB page/Twitter/ etc.

Your HSM 2022 items 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 are able to do time and skill-wise.

However, each item should be a complete, wearable item on its own: so a set of Elizabethan sleeves, which could be moved from one outfit to another, counts.  Victorian sleeves, which are permanently sewn into a bodice, do not.

The Overall HSM 2021 theme: Learning & Growth

This year’s overall theme is Learning & Growth. Take time to look at how much you’ve learned and grown, whether it’s over your entire costuming career, over the last decade of making, or just in the last year. Celebrate that progress!

The overall theme is entirely optional: use it as an additional inspiration, and try to incorporate it into each challenge throughout the whole year, or just stick to the 12 challenges on their own.

What does ‘Historical’ mean?

For the purpose of the Historical Sew Monthly, ‘historical’ is  Pre-WWII and earlier, so no later than 1938.

The Historical Sew Monthly is meant to  encourage  research and historical accuracy,  not  fantasy or ‘costume.’

Of course, for many  periods making a garment that is  identical in every respect to a period garment  is basically impossible.  Even getting close can be quite expensive and physically demanding, which isn’t possible for everyone.  Ultimately,  the level of accuracy is really up to your needs, skills, and resources,  as long as the item is in pursuit of greater historical understanding.  There are also many ways to consider accuracy (you may find  my post on how I approach it interesting), and we hope that the HSM will get people to think about  accuracy, and  how our relationship to what we wear and how we make it  has changed over history.

More info:

Some background posts about the Historical Sew Monthly:

How to participate:

  • Join the  Historical Sew Fortnightly group  on Facebook. You can chat with other participants, get ideas, encouragement, and work through difficulties. 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. You  MUST  answer the questions in order to join the Facebook group.


HSM 2022

  • Participate through this page for the Historical Sew Monthly  2022 on my blog. Leave a comment with a link to your blog to let us know you are participating. 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).  Or…
  • Participate on Instagram!  Follow  @thedreamstress, and tag me in your finished item posts using  #HistoricalSewMonthly2022

No matter where you are participating, with each post or photo be sure to give your item a name/title (be creative!) 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: Anniversary Choice: It’s the 10th year of the HSM! Go back 10 years and choose any challenge from the 2013 HSF Challenge list, and make something for it! In 2013 we tried to do this fortnightly, so there are 26 options!

February: Neck & Shoulders: Make something to wear around your neck or on your shoulders

March: Non-Woven. Make something not based on woven materials. There’s a whole world of possibilities. Braiding, carving, crocheting, felting, knitting, knotting, naalbinding…and…

April: Bags: Make a bag!

May: Protection: Create a garment that protects you from something: weather, dirt, wear, weapons, etc.

June: At the Museum: Be inspired by the items and research available in museums and archives.

July: Geometry: Make something with pattern pieces based on basic geometry, or that somehow incorporates geometric design elements.

August: As Seen On Screen: Make something inspired by something you’ve seen on screen, whether it’s film, TV, or YouTube.

September: Colour Challenge: Blue: Make something in any shade of blue.

October: A Perfect 10: It’s the HSM’s 10th anniversary, so make something 10 themed. 10th century, the something-10s, something that incorporates 10 of something? Be creative with it!

November: Fitting: Make something that focuses on fit.

December: New Era: Make something from a decade or century you’ve never made from before, or make something that represented a new era in fashion in its time.