Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More HSF 2014 Challenges

The Dreamstress recently posted the full list of Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges for 2014.  It's an interesting list, but a number of the proposed challenges do not appeal to me at all, so I probably won't be doing them.  I have already talked about Challenges 1-7 in some detail already, so I'll just sum up the challenges from #8 onwards: 
  • #8: UFOs & PHDs – due Thursday May 1.  "Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through."
  • #9: Black and White – due Thursday May 15.  "Draw on the opposite ends of the shade spectrum to create something in black and white, or black or white."
  • #10: Art – due Sunday June 1.  "Make your own masterpiece based on a work of art."
  • #11: The Politics of Fashion – due Sunday June 15.  "Craft something that demonstrates the interactions between dress and political history."
  • #12: Shape & Support – due Tuesday July 1.  "Make a garment that changes the silhouette of the human form through shaping and support."
  • #13: Under $10 – due Tuesday July 14.  "Whip up a fabulous item for under $10 (we’ll use US$ as the de-facto standard)."
  • #14: Paisley & Plaid – due Friday August 1.  "Plaid is the most universal pattern, found in the textiles of almost all cultures and periods.  Paisley is more unique and recent, but has had a lasting impact on design.  Make something that utilises one or both of these patterns."
  • #15: The Great Outdoors – due Friday August 15.  "Get out into the weather and dirt with an item for outdoor pursuits."
  • #16: Terminology – due Monday September 1.  "Explore the etymology of fashion by make something defined in the Great Historical Fashion & Textile Glossary (new terminology posts and items will be added throughout the year)."
  • #17: Yellow - due Monday September 15.  "Embrace the sunny side with something in any shade of yellow."
  • #18: Poetry in Motion - due Wednesday October 1. "Find inspiration for a garment in poetry and song."
  • #19: HSF Inspiration - due Wednesday October 15.  "One of the best things about the HSF is seeing what everyone else creates, and using it to spark your own creativity.  Be inspired by one of the challengers item from HSF ’13 or HSF challenges 1-18 to make your own fabulous item."
  • #20: Alternative Universe – due Saturday November 1.  "Create a garment from an alternative universe: fantasy, steampunk, dieselpunk, etc.  Your item can be perfectly historically accurate within our own universe as well."
  • #21: Re-do – due Saturday November 15.  "Pick any previous challenge and re-do it (or do it for the first time).  It could be one that you didn’t finish, one that you wish you’d had more time for, or any time for, or one where you loved the theme so much you want to do it again."
  • #22: Fort-nighters Choice – due Monday December 1.  "This one is up to you!  In June I’ll ask for suggestions for a theme, and we’ll vote to pick the one you most want to do as our 22nd Challenge of the year."
  • #23: Modern History – due Monday December 15.  "Make something historical or historically inspired that is wearable in an everyday context."
  • #24: All that Glitters – due Thursday, January 1 (i.e., New Year's Day, 2015).  "Celebrate your completion of HSF ’14, and the New Year, with a glittery, glitzy, sparkly, shiny, something."
I think I can come up with something interesting and affordable for many of these challenges.  Let me review the list, starting with number 8 since I've made choices about the first 7:

#8 UFO's and PHDs. and #21 Re-do.  Yes!  Both of these challenges would give me a chance to finish one of the first 7 challenges that I don't manage to complete in time. 

#9 Black and (/or) White.  Maybe. This one has potential.  Linen undergarments are often white, and I can always use more of those.  Or I might use this as an opportunity to make the Deshasheh dress that's been on my projects list for a few years now.  Right now I'm finding it hard to get excited about this challenge, though.

#10 Art.  Not so much.  Except for Greco-Roman art, early period art is stylized and/or abstract, which makes it challenging to recreate costumes from it.  I could see if I can make my Roman makeover project (i.e., my proposal to redo an ancient Roman costume I made for a LARP into something more properly historical) fit into this challenge, but I'm not feeling the love for that idea just now.

#11 The Politics of Fashion. Not so much.  A garment that has strong national connections or associations might do, such as the Roman toga which became the ultimate symbol of Roman nationality and citizenship.  The problem is that togas are fabric-heavy and thus expensive.  A simple ribbon cockade from the French Revolution would meet the challenge, though I have nothing on earth to wear it on, or with, and the idea of creating an entire French Revolutionary costume doesn't appeal to me.  Maybe I sit this one out too.

#12  Shape and Support.  Not so much.  I don't think this one needs to be a corset or any garment that molds the figure directly (such as a mammillare or brassiere).  It seems to me that any garment with a distinctive silhouette that differs from the unadorned human form, or would help achieve such a silhouette, would serve, such as a broad belt, or one of Poiret's famous cocoon coats.  But whether I can think of such a garment that suits my early period interests (and isn't Yet Another Apron Dress) is questionable right now; I'll wait and see.   

#13 Under $10.  Yes! Given my circumstances, this one is tailor-made for me, though it comes at a time of year when I will be busy with vacation plans.  I have no ideas for this right now, but it deserves some serious thought.

#14 Paisley and Plaid.  Yes!  I don't like paisley, but I do like some plaids, and plaids are certainly found in most cultures and go back well into prehistory, as the Dreamstress observes.   A scrap of linen in a very small check windowpane plaid was found in one of the Birka graves, and I might make a garment based upon that, assuming that I can find suitable fabric.  Another possibility might be to do something based on one of the Tarim Basin mummy costumes; I need to think about that idea some more.

#15: The Great Outdoors.  Yes!  This is a seriously great idea.  I have been terrified for years to wear most of my creations outside for anything other than walking around (because then I might have to clean them!  They might shrink! or ravel! or get ripped or torn! or something!).  It's high time for me to try to make a historical garment that can take the kind of beating my everyday clothing does.  The only problem; affording the necessary fabric.  Again, something to think about for a while.

#16: Terminology.  Maybe. This is a neat idea for a challenge, but except for "apron dress" the terms in the glossary so far are Early Modern or more recent, and I refuse to make three apron dresses in one year!  Maybe I can think of another specifically defined costume term to suggest to The Dreamstress, and then make that item. :-)

#17: Yellow.  Yes! I have some lovely gold-colored wool and mustard-colored linen that I've meant to make into a lined, Birka-style caftan coat for years.  As I mentioned in my post about my next Hedeby apron dress, the caftan is still a possible item for a Hedeby outfit.  Maybe this will inspire me to finally decide upon a pattern for the coat, and see whether I actually have both sufficient wool and linen fabric to make it work.

#18: Poetry in Motion.  Maybe.  The kind of poetry I like doesn't really inspire clothing.  Perhaps I could stretch the term "poetry" to include "saga"; that way my völva costume would fit in, if I don't complete it for one of the earlier challenges.

#19: HSF Inspiration.  Maybe.  This one will take some thinking about.  It's certainly possible that someone's prior creation will inspire me; there were a few very lovely early period efforts in last year's HSF photo gallery, and there may be more in 2014.

#20: Alternative Universe.  Yes! I was about to reject this challenge out of hand, when I had an inspiration.  Years ago, I considered making a costume based upon a description of what a character in a science-fiction novel by M.A. Foster called The Day of the Klesh was wearing.  The costume in question is a two-panel blouse and a long loincloth and, when I last read the book, sounded pretty, simple, and cheap to make. This may well be the time to make that costume (before I become so old that wearing it would be totally ridiculous).

#22: Fort-nighters Choice.  Maybe.  It will be interesting to see, at least, what the Dreamstress's other followers come up with. Many of them are interested in 20th century or Early Modern attire, so I can't be sure the chosen theme will appeal to me, nor am I sure what theme I might suggest/vote for.  I'll have to wait and see what emerges.

#23: Modern History.  Not so much.  It's hard for me to think of a theme that might appeal less to me than this one, but I'll try to keep an open mind on this one as the year progresses. One possibility; nalbinded mittens.  Wearable in the Viking age, wearable now (though I don't much enjoy wearing gloves or mittens, even when it's cold).

#24: All that Glitters.  Maybe.  There's a natural choice of project for me for this challenge--a metal-brocaded piece of tablet-weaving.  But the thought of attempting it fills me with terror.  Will I attempt it anyway?  Stay tuned!


  1. Maybe you could use the Rigsthula poem for the poetry challenge? It does describe clothing and while dated to the 14th century as a poem it has been used as a source for the viking age; with reasonably good arguments.


    1. Hi, Eva! Thanks for stopping by.

      I could use Rigsthula, except that the clothing references are so vague, and differ so much from version to version, that I'm not getting a clear inspiration for a costume to make based upon it. (And I've already committed myself to making another apron dress this year). But I'll think about it and see whether inspiration strikes.

  2. I'm impressed that you're actually accomplishing costuming and have so many great ideas for HSF challenges. I seem to do more planning than doing ... love following your research links!

    #16 Terminology ... how about defining "sprang" and attempting a Tegle "sock" or a bog body hairnet? We speculated years ago on MedCos about striped leggings possibly being sprang.
    #23 Modern ... how about a sprang cap to wear modernly? You made a really cute one a few years back.
    #24 Glitters ... how about the chains to go between Eura brooches or hang from tortoise brooches to hold useful items (would just take a spool of craft wire, wire cutters, a pencil to use as a mandrel, and some time)? How about a fibula? I've made Fibula from large brass paperclips and recycled beads.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I like the French Revolution (Enlightenment is a great concept!) cockade better than my thought of the suffragette urban legend Give Women Vote=Green White Violet to make a cockade to pin to the strap of my computer bag or a modern coat lapel.
    Regards, Beth S

    1. Hi, Beth! Thanks for the ideas!

      Re: #16. "Sprang" probably *should* be in Leimomi's Terminology list--I'll have to pass that idea on to her. However, I've never actually *done* any before, and I'm not sure how my #3 Challenge (which is a bog body hairnet, really) will work out. If it does, I may well want to do another sprang project for #16.

      Re: #23. The last cap I made was nalbinded, and it's a good thing I didn't post a close-up or you'd see the mistakes! :-) I might try making another nalbinded cap though.

      Re: #24. I have a set of Eura brooches and chains I improvised a few years ago (a local Indian bead store had some chain by the yard that was an impressively close match). What I'm thinking of doing for #24 now is making a necklace to go with the Roman earrings I plan to make for Challenge #7. I'm trying to find shiny beads that will go with the rose gold pearls but won't cost too much.