Saturday, December 30, 2017

HSM 2018...plots and thoughts

It almost didn't happen--but the denizens of the Facebook group prodded us (the Moderators) until the ball got rolling...then it kinda happened by itself, and we just had to organize.  And finalize descriptions, which was actually kinda tricky.  But we did it, and so there will be another year...and hopefully many more, so long as participants remain excited.

Enough of that...  For my few readers who are not familiar with it, the Historical Sew Monthly is a series of sewing challenges or prompts for Historical Costuming, which you have to finish (NOT start) within two months of the deadline.  You can participate in many, or only manage a couple!  For more information, go to the Dreamstress' overview/sign up page
I have been participating (to some degree...only completed every challenge once; last year) for five years now, I think, and helping run it for three.  I am hoping to do much better than this year, which...didn't go well on the sewing front.  Majorly ambitious projects, with major problems resulting in lack of motivation, as well as working more.  The fact I was focusing on my other hobby of brewing also meant less monies for fabric.  I will discuss it more in my year in review post.

As usual, if I complete a challenge, I will link the post about it here.  And this plan is by no means set in stone...this post will get updated occasionally.

This Year's Challenges:

January: Mend, Reshape, Refashion: Mend or re-shape one of your previously made historical clothing items, or refashion a new one out of something not originally intended as sewing fabric.

Feb: Under: Make something that goes under the other layers.

March: Comfort at Home: Make something to wear around the (historical) house.

April: Buttons and Fastenings: Create an item where the closures are the star of the show.

May: Specific to a Time [of Day or Year]: Historically, some garments were worn year round, and for a range of events. Others were exclusively for certain times of year, or specific times of day. Make one of the latter.

June: Rebellion and Counter-Culture: Create an item that pays homage to fashion rebels and clothes that flaunt their place on the fringes of standard sartorial society, or that was signature to a rebelling cause.

July: Sleeves: There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there. Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.

August: Extant Originals: Copy an extant historical garment as closely as possible.

September: Hands and Feet: Create a fabulous accessory for your hands or feet.

October: Fabric Manipulation: Take fabric to the next level with any kind of historical embellishment or manipulation: smocking, shirring, embroidering, beading, pinking, ruching, printing, painting, dyeing etc.

November: Purses and Bags: You’ve got your arms covered in July, your hands in September, now make something amazing to dangle from them.

December: Neglected Challenge: Was there a challenge this year (or, if you’ve been doing the HSM for a while, in a previous year) you missed? Or didn’t create quite what you’d wanted for? This is your chance to make it up!

My plans: 

January:  Honestly, I am not sure.  This is something which doesn't work for me.  I mean, I have historical clothing which requires repairs of course--my porty (14th century Russian) have a massive hole in the knee.  My inar requires a shoulder seam resewn--the wool thread tears easily, but it's better than patching cloth.  My Huntsman's Frock Coat has a couple issues--missing button, and the vent coming loose.  Similar issues are going on with my front fall trousers, with a couple of missing buttons.  Aaand I have two pairs of 16th century shoes which need repairs.  However...all these feel like cheap entries, since none of them will take more than a hour or two to repair.  Maybe replacing the lacing band on my Stripy Doublet will do--that will not be a simple fix, and I tore out several eyelets when fighting last June.

None of my clothing can really be remade, although there is always the standard of using something from the thrift store--I will definitely be keeping an eye out for a long coat to cannibalize and turn into a new Inar, and if I spot one in time, that will work!

February: Under...this means undergarments and underpinnings.  Oddly, I have a couple of choices, including a corset--I've been talking about making one for years--and even a bum roll. Some research by Elizabethan costuming greats theorize that the method for achieving so much spring in those 16th century trunkhose (without filling them with stuff like tulle) was to wear what is essentially a bumroll.  I believe there are some written accounts to back it up.

March; Comfort At Home:  This is one of the challenges I was most excited about, and volunteered to write the blog post for.  For me...I want a new banyan.  Either something heavier or lighter than my current one...I haven't decided, and it will depend on what fabric I find.  It will require some thinking, and finding the right fabric.  Otherwise, I never did make the cap to match my current banyan--something in the style below.

Men's At-Home Cap, 1700-1750. 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Collection #(M.2007.211.826)

April involves buttons or other fastenings.  Soo many choices, given that men's clothing from 1330s on generally involves buttons as a decorative feature.  I figure I have a couple different choices, but I really would like more 14th century clothing, and just picked up some bright blue wool...which there should be just enough of for a cotte for myself...cottehardies, of course, have a rather extreme amount of buttons.  If I decide the use that wool for something later in period, like a doublet, the same applies.  The other option, of course, is to make buttons ahead for a future planned project...for that matter, I wanted to switch to buttons on my "fighting doublet"--the hook and eyes currently on it are a pain in the butt and don't look good.  Actually...that could also work for the January Challenge!

May is Specific to a Time (of Day or Year): While I was having some issues thinking of things--other than winter wear--don't some of Brueghel's paintings specify a time of year?  They do!--he did a series of 6 called The Months.  I had been thinking about using one of them, Hunters in the Snow as part of my resources for the Low Countries outfit.  There is also Wine of St. Martin's Day.

Hunters in the Snow.  Peter Brueghel the Elder. 1560s

June:  Rebellion and Counter-culture!  Sooo many options!  I want to make more Wild Irish outfits, maybe even (start) finish my gold appliqued Inar.  I still need to get the gold leaf for it, though...  I could also make myself the Carmagnole I have been wanting, which is a short jacket worn by French Revolutionaries.

The MET, Accession #C.I.39.13.67

July is Sleeves....making something where sleeves are the star of the show.  Well...I had a lightbulb moment last night.  I think I want to make something along the lines of those early 15th century cottes--the ones with the massive angelwing or bagpipe grande assiette sleeves--I picked up some navy blue wool which has a gorgeous, velvet-like nap on it which would be perfect!  Of course...I would also have to make hosen for it as well... 

Snipped from Giovanni Boccaccio,De Claris mulieribus, traduction anonyme en français Livre des femmes nobles et renommees, 1403. French National Library.

Extant Originals:  Again...soo many choices, since this is the kind of thing I love to do.  I suspect I may end up making something from the Greenland finds.  I really don't know, and will worry about it later, lol.

Hands and Feet:  Another one which has multiple options for me, since I really need more (period) shoes, as well as working on gloves.  Unfortunately, the timing doesn't work all that well, since the article has to be finished after the 1st of August...which means the 14th century shoes I need for Coronet are right out.

I think October's Fabric Manipulation is going to be a big one for me.  I have been talking about how I want to make a suit for myself, and have the wool for it.  For those not aware of it, bespoke suits have a fair amount of fabric manipulation in them, in the form of Ironwork--stretching and shrinking the fabric in certain places in order to shape it.  The style I wanted was very much 1910-1920s if I recall--the cut is nice, doesn't have bulky shoulders, and I like the high gorge on those earlier suits--, and I was thinking of using a draft from that period anyways...which means that it would work for HSM.  It appears 1910s is a little slimmer in cut and a touch more natural shoulder than the '20s.  Something double breasted, anyways.

Otherwise...pretty much any upper class 16th century clothing has fabric manipulation as well.

Like that Double Breasted One!

Purses and Bags:  A bag or belt purse for the Low Countries outfit.

Neglected:  This one I will just throw to the winds and see where I go.  I have the choice of any challenge since I found the HSM...that is quite a few!

© John Frey, 2017. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.


  1. I'd be interested to hear the support for 'bum rolls' as support for the poofy trunkhose. I'm vaguely pondering doing an x-dressing Tudor....

    1. It's secondhand, from a private correspondence with the Modern Maker. I just got permission to quote him in regards to wit:

      "For that spring that you're trying to get, I usually use an internal hip-pad (as is used in PoF inside the Red Satin/Cut leather trunkhose). The other thing I use is an "arming bolster" or "moulds" which is the manly name for a small bumroll. Moulds is a term that Dan Rosen has found in some wardrobe accounts and he believes it to be a pad. The pad is the main reason all my breeches have the right hip shape."" MM to me 9-28-17

      Of course, if I make it and write a piece of serious documentation, I will have to try to do my own research, but that is a start.