HSM 2016

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to whatever 2016 may bring. I am. And, with a new year, comes a new set of monthly challenges from the Historical Sew Monthly.

  • JanuaryProcrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • FebruaryTucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • MarchProtection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • MayHoles – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • JuneTravel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • JulyMonochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • AugustPattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • SeptemberHistoricism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • OctoberHeroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • NovemberRed – Make something in any shade of red.
  • DecemberSpecial Occasionmake something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

So, there are the challenges. For January, I am going to finish my in-progress 18th century stays, for which progress photos are coming soon, I promise! I have been meaning to post the photos FOR EVER, but never found the time because the WordPress on my iPad is so appalling.

So, this was just a brief update to let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth; I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get round to doing the previous November and December HSM 2015 Challenges (Silver Screen and Re-do respectively), although you might be able to count the stays as part of the Re-do because they were foundations, like the January 2015 challenge asked for….

What are your plans for this year’s 2016 HSM? Tell me below and get sewing!


HSM October Challenge – Sewing Secrets

I am acutely aware that I haven’t been posting at all recently, and for that I apologise sincerely. I’ve been crazily busy, but now that the holidays are coming up, I hope to have more time to sew and post. 

This project is a Medieval shift, dated for around 1475, and this could also be counted as a Heirlooms and Heritage entry, because this is the kind of shift that would have been worn by my ancestress, Catherine Barry. The secret is that her name is embroidered above the hem of the shift

It is completely hand sewn from linen, with gores inserted at the side. Originally I planned to make it without gores, but it was too tight without, so I inserted two muslin strips, because I didn’t have any more of the linen. 

So, the info: 

Challenge: October, Sewing Secrets

The secret: the name of the wearer embroidered

Fabric: linen

Pattern: none

Year: around 1475

Notions: White and brown thread

How historically accurate is it? Although nothing can ever be 100% historically accurate, this comes quite close. I’d say about 90-95% accurate

Hours to complete: many. Probably… 7-8ish?

Total cost: all from stash, so nothing

First worn: not yet

September HSM Challenge-Brown

I know I’m late, but I’m using the ‘better late than never’ phrase and submitting my September HSM entry now.

To be honest, my entry was finished today because I’ve had no time at all to sew recently. I made a Regency-ish silk reticule, which might not be as big as I would have liked, but it does the job.

image The interior silk lining

image The home made cord

imageWhat a lady keeps in her reticule… Money, a handkerchief and a ring….


So, the usual details:

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: silk

Pattern: none, my own imagination

Year: Anywhere from 1800 onwards I suppose. These little bags were used for a long time after the Regency era.

Notions: silk thread, wool yarn for the cording

How historically accurate is it? Well, I’m going to say actually quite accurate. While the shape and the cord may not be truly accurate, I’ll give it a 85-90% because the fabrics and method of construction are good I think

Hours to complete: a simple task, so probably only 1.5-2 hours.

First worn: it’s not really a wearable item!

Total cost: as per usual, all from stash so £0.00!

HSM August – Finally!

First an apology; I know I have been very very behind in posting but I’ve been so busy with school and work so I haven’t had an awful lot of time to post, let alone to sew. In honesty, the last thing I want to do when I get home form a long day at school is sew so unfortunately not a lot has been done.

However, I finally got around to taking photos of my August HSM, for which the theme was Heirlooms and Heritage. As you may remember, for my HSM I was making a Tudor French hood based on the hood Elizabeth I wore in a portrait, wherein she was still a princess. You may be asking yourself how Elizabeth I comes into this, but in fact my ancestry stems from a long line of Welsh kings and, as we know, Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) was Welsh. So although the link isn’t direct, I thought it was a good enough excuse to make a French Hood.


So, here are some pictures. Please forgive the bad quality lighting and the fact that I had nothing vaguely head-shaped to place said hood upon.


Challenge: Heirlooms and Heritage

Fabric: the hood covering is cotton and the veil could be silk, but I’m not sure, seeing as it was once a jacket lining.

Pattern: I used a pattern from the Elizabethan Costuming page and adjusted it slightly, but other than  that it was just lots of research.

Year: 1546

Notions: plastic beads, millinery wire, gold ribbon, cotton thread, home made buckram

How historically accurate is it? Not awfully. I’d say the shape is correct, it sits on the head correctly and the method of construction is fairly authentic. But the fabrics used are not, except the home made buckram which is old sacks stiffened with glue. I’d give it about 55-60% accuracy rating. Not great!

Hours to complete: many. Probably…. Ooh…. Umm, around 9-10?

First worn: Sunday 13th, for a trial fitting.

Total cost: as usual, it is all from stash, so £0.00!


An update and apology

So, the apology first: I haven’t been sewing for the past few weeks for a couple of reasons: firstly, after I have done a period of intense sewing (the Regency short stays and finishing my corset) I take a break from sewing. I’m not sure why, but I lose motivation for a short while. Another reason I didn’t do the July HSM Challenge was because I finished school on 5th July then had various horse riding competitions, and then I went on holiday with my family. 

I got back from holiday yesterday, and have quite a few family commitments over the next few days. However, after that I should be able to get down to some sewing! 

The August HSM Challenge is ‘Heirlooms and Heritage’ in which you recreate something your ancestors wore or would have worn. Or you use an heirloom to create something which will become an heirloom. 

One of my andestors was Henry VIII,  and therefore my chosen thing to sew is a Tudor French Hood, based off a portrait of Elizabeth I. 

The Hood is dark red with pearl and jewelled billaments and gold crimped ‘fringe’. 

This HSM for me is actually going to be finishing a UFO, because I have partially started the hood but not added billaments, the gold crimped edge or the veil. 

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer so far!

Regency short stays/June HSM part 4- photos

So, thank you very much Anne for telling me to try to upload the photos using Internet explorer and not the WordPress app. Here is the very very late part 4 (and final) part of the Regency stays tutorial.


1. I sewed the binding onto the centre front sides first of all.

2.    image


Then I pinned the binding for the top edge of the stays. To do the ends of the straps, I gathered the fabric first and then sewed it down, as this looks much neater and holds well. The resolution of the photos aren’t great, but you get the picture. This is the most tedious part, for sure. My binding fabric’s colour is a bit too creamy, but I’m not too bothered about it.

3. Next, pin the bottom edge. Sew it. This is very straightforward.


4. Finally, I added eyelets to the tabs and the straps. I made two eyelets on each tab, at different heights so I can adjust the length. This may not be strictly historically accurate, but I think it’s a good ideaimage

There it is, my finished pair of Regency short stays! Not yet been worn, so I will add the details for the HSM below:

The Challenge: Out of your Comfort Zone

Fabric: Three layers: linen, coutil and cotton

Pattern: I didn’t follow one specifically, just looked at extant pieces and other recreations of short stays.

Year: 1800-1810

Notions: linen thread, cotton bias binding, thicker thread for the eyelets, cord for lacing, plastic cable ties for boning, cord for cording

How historically accurate is it? Well, it’s all hand sewn, so extra bonus points there. The fabrics aren’t necessarily accurate, and the plastic boning definitely isn’t, as is the cording! However, it looks and feels quite historically accurate, so I’m going to go: 70%

Hours to complete: Many, many hours, I lost track.

First worn: not yet

Total cost: £0.00! All from stash!

Regency short stays part 5/June HSM

Okay, so I’m a bit behind on this. The binding took AGES! It took for ever, so this is a few days late. Sorry. Also, WordPress is refusing point blank to allow me to upload any pictures at all, so double sorry! You’ll have to use your imaginations for this post. I had pictures taken and everything, so I am really annoyed. 

Today’s part is the binding and final eyelets.

1. Pin binding to both the centre fronts, making sure it fits snugly. 
Sew this to the fabric. 

2. Pin your binding to the top side.

Sew this binding on. This takes ages and ages, especially if you use small, neat stitches.  

To do the tabs for the shoulder straps, I gathered the fabric first, and then sewed it down. This looks neat. 

3. Pin binding to bottom edge. This is quite a simple bit of sewing to do – just a straight line

4. I threaded a drawstring through the bottom, so I can gather it and make it sit a bit more snugly; the bottom edge on mine is a bit too big. This step is very easy to do. Take a large, blunt needle and use it to pull some string or cord through. Make sure it is long enough to come out at both ends with some to spare. 

5. I did the eyelets on the shoulder straps and the tabs after putting the binding on, so I could see how much space I had. 

I did two eyelets on the tabs, so I can adjust the length of the shoulder, if that makes sense. A picture would have come in handy, but no thanks to WordPress, so there isn’t one. I will post them later, when I can. 

6. Finally, put your stays on an lace them up. Don’t cut the lacing length to what it finishes at, if that makes sense, because you will need a lot more than you think. This is so you can loosen the laces and wriggle out of the stays without having to undo them all. 

Also make sure to lace the shoulder straps to the tabs. 

And, voila! Finished Regency short stays! 

I hope you enjoyed my series of tutorials and found them helpful. If so, comment your thoguths and what you found out while making yours. Anything I can improve on? other than pictures for this post!