2019 Historical Sew Monthly challenges

hand-sewing the folded grey wool exterior to the pink linen interior of the collapsible truncated hennin hat.

collapsible truncated hennin hat.

The challenges for the 2019 Historical Sew Monthly have been announced! I am excited to read about it but… also feel rather unsure about my participation, since in 2018 I didn’t get to many of the challenges at all. I made lots of things in 2018… (like the collapsible and packable truncated hennin to the left)  just not a lot that worked with the challenges at the timeframe of the challenges…

Still, each year I do a post with what I’m thinking of and what I’d like to do… so this year is no different. Perhaps it will help inspire me! 

  • January: Dressed to the Nines: make something fancy so you’ll be ‘dressed to the nines’ – whether its the full outfit, or a little accessory. Or look at the challenge in a different way, and make something from a year ending in 9 (find a portrait or fashion plate or mention to support the date), or even an item with 9 major design elements (9 buttons down the front, 9 tucks in a petticoat etc).
  • February: Linen/linens: make something out of linen, or that falls under the older definition of linens: ie: underclothes (lingerie literally means linen)
  • March: Sewing Kit: create an item that makes use of your favourite sewing tool, instrument, or gadget; or an item made for your historical sewing kit (huswif, pinball)
  • April: Upping your game: make something that really stretches you and that works on the bits that you tend to rush through or skimp on.
  • May: Florals: Create an item that features flowers in some way
  • June: Favourite Technique: make an item using your favourite sewing or embellishment technique.
  • July: Unexpected: make an item with an unexpected feature. Will it be a snazzy lining, a hidden pocket, or something else? Surprise us!
  • August: Out of a Portrait: lift a garment out of a portrait, and make it up to include in your wardrobe.
  • September: Everyday: It’s not all special occasion frocks. Make something that would have been worn or used for everyday.
  • October: Details: Sometimes the little things really make something fabulous. Focus on the details of your garment, to create something that just gets better the closer you look.
  • November: Above the Belt: No hitting low! Let’s keep things on the up and up as the year closes, and make something worn above the belt.
  • December: On a Shoestring: It’s an expensive time of year, so make an item on a tight budget (say, under $15, or less than you’d spend on a reasonable priced takeaway meal for one person in your country – and no ‘stash’ doesn’t count as free: you still have to count what you would have originally paid for those items 😉 )

Ideas (not a plan..)

Month Theme Idea What did I make?
January Dressed to the nines Really not sure… I feel like I don’t have the time to get started on something super fancy. MAYBE the Cross-tree headdress…

Ottoman empire  blue and striped coat with silver ball buttons – are there 9?

Nothing yet
February Linens Finnish herringbone linen underdress

Red Tudor petticoat

Saint Birgitta’s cap
March Sewing kit Well both huswifs & pinballs are later periods than what I sew for… but my favourite tool is the loop turner (tied perhaps with my mother-of-pearl handle awl). Not really sure either way here. Ottoman coat
April Upping your game Erk.. my biggest “rush through” is doing machine sewing instead of hand-sewing, so if I do that… it’s going to be a SMALL project! LOL

Late-period sack-back Spanish gown (Alcega) this is my unicorn project atm, since I don’t really feel I’m ready for it yet.

The pleated linen Egyptian gown might work here too. It’s both simple and complex.

Naalbound bag
May Florals  Perhaps an Ottoman Carnation, or a floral damask for Italian? Alternately naalbind something with  the marigold & aster dyed yarn?

The gold silk Houppelande – the pattern of the silk is floral

1920s style kimono robe like the one at Rite of Ritual

Sideless surcote in a floral-ish fabric? Would it be the right kind of print?

June Favourite Technique I think my favourite sewing / embellishment technique is probably self-fabric bias..  Though this lends itself to a lot of different garments.

Naalbound shawl

July Unexpected Not sure
August Out of a portrait German Camp follower (woodcut instead of portrait)

Viking (from one of the pendants perhaps)

Fur-trimmed burgundian gown

September Everyday Viking garb

Finnish underdress or peplos

German camp-follower

Naalbound bag

October Details Blue and silver Italian renaissance under dress with lacing rings

pleated linen Egyptian gown

ruffled veil

November Above the Belt Few of my costumes involve just tops or blouses – most are dresses, full length coats, etc… so I might interpret this as a shawl, or hat.
December On a Shoestring Not sure – but using fabrics from the Grandmother’s Fabric sale will likely help me make something within budget!

Still on my UFO and wish-list

V-neck Burgundian gown worn with a white horned hennin

V-neck Burgundian gown worn with a white horned hennin


  • Red silk Bliaut (UFO)
  • Green diamond Bliaut (UFO)
  • Parti-coloured sideless surcoat
  • Just more surcoats – finding them really easy to wear when I want to go simple with a great hat
  • Cross-tree headdress
  • Fancy Burgundian gown
  • Gold silk Houppelande (needs new collar)
  • Starched linen ruffled veil
My new Finnish Iron Age outfit, minus the underdress. Apron close up

My new Finnish Iron Age outfit, minus the underdress. Apron close up

Finnish / Viking

  • Basket-bag
  • naalbound shawl, bag
  • Heavily coiled Finnish apron (stretch goal)
  • Finnish herringbone linen under dress
  • Diamond twill (wool blend) coat
  • Diamond twill (faux, knit) shawl
  • Hedeby bags – possibly out of diamond twill cotton
  • Viking Age Norse leather shoes
  • Finnish basket headdress


  • Simple ‘everyday’ kirtle
  • Petticoat (red?)
  • Gown (stretch goal) to coordinate with French Hood(s)
  • Finish 2 French Hoods
My newest Egyptian costume - an orange loose sheath dress with 'sleeves' and a v-neck with a teal 'coat'.

Orange loose sheath dress with ‘sleeves’ and a v-neck with a teal ‘coat’.


  • Pleated linen Egyptian Middle Kingdom gown

1500s German camp-follower

  • Gown in navy & brown perhaps?
  • Coordinating amazing starfish hat
  • Coordinating gollar (need to figure out acceptable colour schemes)

1480s Italian Renaissance

  • Blue and silver under-dress with silver lacing rings
  • Overdress to coordinate with blue-and-silver under dress
  • Large-scale damask over-dress (currently ivory and black, possibly over-dye)
  • Grey or blue chenille over dress


  • Purple dress (UFO from the 2014 yellow challenge)
  • Cocoon coat (that purple devore velvet? red roses?)
  • 1920s style kimono robe like the one at Rite of Ritual
Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar of my Ottoman Empire costume

Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar of my Ottoman Empire costume


  • Blue and striped coat (WIP)
  • additional vest at some point?


  • red jacket (WIP UFO)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.