Friday, December 27, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014...hurry up, January!

Oh, I am SO excited for this coming year as far as sewing goes. Please pardon the long absence....I have been struggling with increasingly severe migraines, leading to an MRI and trying various medications that make me drowsy and sedated most of the time, and finally the doctors seem to have figured out the correct drug and dosage. It's really hard to focus on sewing when either the drugs are knocking me out or the teeny weeny stitches are giving me terrible headaches, so I sadly didn't complete nearly as many challenges as I wanted to these past few months. BUT...fingers crossed that drugs keep are my plans for the first few challenges Leimomi has already posted!

I have an old grey woolen blanket...and no good cold-weather 18th century wear. Could the resourceful Frenchwomen in the Mississippi Valley area have repurposed a blanket into a rough but warm bedgown? Well why not!

  • #2: Innovation - due Sat 1 Feb.  To celebrate the way inventions, introductions and discoveries have impacted fashion, make an item that reflects the newest innovations in your era.  Be sure to share the research you did on your innovation, as well as your finished item. 
While browsing through the thrift store for fabric, a neat cotton print jumped out, it looks sort of like an Indian chintz on a dark red background.  Kendra at Demode writes "Although some countries passed legislation against the import, manufacture, and sale of painted and printed cottons in order to protect domestic textile industries (as in France from 1686 to 1759 and England from 1700 to 1774), by the 1730s printed cottons were serious contenders in the European clothing and furniture market".  I would like to make a neck handkerchief out of the material to go with the "new" bedgown from the previous project, in honor of the Europeans figuring out their own version of fabric printing.

  • #3: Pink - due Sat 15 Feb.  Make something pink!
Many of the projects during the first half of this upcoming year will hopefully be leading up to this Court Gown nonsense I foolishly bought into (ok who am I kidding, I'm so excited)....possibly I can cut down on the amount of work by finding little "double duty" projects for both that endeavour and the HSF. Little nosegays of silk, ribbon or paper flowers always look so sweet at the bosom of a beautiful gown, for this challenge perhaps a pink and blue flower nosegay is in order. My birthday falls during this particular week and friends and relatives like to cut into my sewing time (imagine that!) so I figured it would be best to keep the project small.
Eye-candy...I mean...examples: 

  • #4: Under it All – due Sat 1 March.  Make the foundations of your outfit: the things that go under it to provide the right shape and support, and to protect your fancy outer garments from sweat and grime. 
New stays. Ugh. This moment has been coming for a few years and fills this seamstress with much dread. Combining these two challenges makes the project a little more doable. My last set is all machine-sewn with metal grommets, the tabs turned out bizarre, and fully-boned turned out to be uncomfortably unnecessary for me, I'm kind of small of bust. Really cannot avoid tackling it at this point because constructing the upcoming court gown over ill-fitted stays is just a complete waste of my time, so I will just have to buckle down and get on with it. Partially-boned with cable ties is the plan; I would never use anything else, having seen enough comparisons from other bloggers that lead me to believe its sturdiness is comparable to baleen without the ethical issues. No interest in trying cane/reed/wood; I am too active at events to want to have to deal with snappage and replacement of my boning materials. 

Leimomi mentions that Cinderella is often portrayed in an 18th century light and I have been meaning to get to a common brown a la anglaise that is cut out but not sewn. I have some really cute ideas of a pre-Princess photoshoot for Cinderella, involving a dirty apron, sweeping with a twig broom by an old stone hearth, and a few fake bird "helpers" (ok that might be too much cheese...but I'm willing to embrace the cheese for a fairytale)!

Cannot wait to get started on this after a somewhat failed 2013 HSF, although certainly I finished more projects than if I'd gone without it! Do you have any projects brewing and bubbling over in your mind for this upcoming year?