Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Historical Sew Monthly--Possible Projects for 2020

The Dreamstress has just announced the monthly themes for 2020's Historical Sew Monthly ("HSM") on the FB private group. All of the 2020 themes have an overarching objective--sustainability.  That is, engaging in historical costuming in a manner that is less wasteful of energy and other types of natural resources.  

In 2019, I managed all of 1 1/2 projects (the "half" being a not-very-historical project to provide a component for my long-planned völva costume) for the HSM.  This year, I hope to do better.  Below  is a brief summary of the monthly themes and what I hope to do with them.  Text in quotation marks are part of the Dreamstress's explanation of the theme.  (I will edit this post to provide a link to her blog post on the subject after she posts the material there.)  The text in italics is my comments about what I might do with each theme.
  • January: Timetravelling Garments: "Create an item that works for more than one historical era, or that can be used for both historical costuming, and modern wear."  Pretty easy, since many garments that would do for the Viking Age will work for much of the Middle Ages and, in many cases, for earlier or later periods.  My D-shaped veil is a good example, but that's already completed.  Maybe the planned mittens (or the hood) for my völva costume would serve.
  • February: Re-Use: "Use thrifted materials or old garments or bedlinen to make a new garment. Mend, re-shape or re-trim an existing garment to prolong its life."  I still need to let out and expand my old Hedeby apron dress to make it wearable again, and I believe I've found the rest of the fabric I'd used which I'll need to make new gores.  Wish me luck!
  • March: Green: "Make something in a shade or shades of green. If you can also make it ‘green’ in the figurative sense, even better!"  I love green, but I don't really have anything I can use to make a suitable project that is green, even in color, except for my (diminishing) supply of green yarn for the nalbinded mittens I wanted to make.  I need to think about this one.
  • April: Local: "Support your local industry and your local history by making something that (as much as possible) uses materials made locally, or purchased from local suppliers, or that features a garment specific to your part of the world."  Great idea!  Wish I could think of a project that I could do in this manner.  More thought needed here as well.
  • May: Basic: "Make a garment that can be used for many occasions (like a shift, or the classic ‘Regency white dress’), or a simple accessory that will help you stretch the use of an already existing garment."  Another easy one.  I still need that white wool shift for my völva costume.
  • June: It’s Only Natural: "Make something inspired by nature, or use natural fibres and materials in a way that stretches your usual practice (e.g. natural dyeing, using cane instead of plastic whalebone for corsets/stays etc.). Or challenge yourself and do both!"  Maybe I can teach myself how to spin, and nalbind something small using the yarn I make?
  • July: No-Buy: "Make something without buying anything. Whether it’s finishing off a UFO, using up scraps of fabric from earlier challenges in the year, sewing entirely from stash, or finding the perfect project for those small balls of yarn, this is your opportunity to get creative without acquiring more stuff."  Still easy since I have lots of UFOs (unfinished projects).  the völva costume shift, my calendared linen shift from last year, my sprang cap, all qualify.
  • August: Celebration: "Make something for a specific historical celebration, make something generally celebration worthy, make something that celebrates a historical hero, or just make something that celebrates some new skills you’ve learned."  Perhaps the cloak for my völva costume? It would require me to do a kind of nalbinding with wire to make the holders for the stones to ornament the cloak, which would be a new skill for me, and it would certainly be a celebration-worthy garment for a notable saga character.
  • September: Sewing Secrets: "Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a make-do or unexpected material, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance)."  The HSM has featured this theme before and I still don't have a good idea how to work it into a suitable project.
  • October: Get Crafty: "Make use of your own skills or learn a new one to make something from scratch rather than buy material." More thought needed here as well.
  • November: Go Green Glow-Up: "Be environmentally friendly and celebrate how your making skills have ‘glowed-up’ as you’ve used and practiced them by taking apart an early make of yours that no-longer represents your making skills, and re-making it so you’d be proud to use it. It can be as elaborate as a total re-make, or as simple as getting the ribbons or buttons you didn’t have time to source at first. You could even take something from a challenge made earlier in the year, and fix the tiny things you weren’t totally happy with."  Fixing flaws in my Hedeby dress might well qualify.  Maybe.  If I pull this off, that would be a new skill of sorts, since I have never tried to refit a previous costume before.
  • December: Community: "It is the season of giving. Create an item that honours or supports the communities around you, whether Real Life or online."  I think I have an idea for this one.  Maybe.  More on this at a later date, hopefully.


  1. Good luck!

    Life gets busy. I only managed a couple of projects this year myself, and don't realistically see myself managing a lot of next year's challenges either.