Sunday 11 February 2018

HSM Favourites for #1: Mend, Reshape, Refashion

When the Historical Sew Monthly started as a Fortnightly, and for several years after, Leimomi would choose her favourite entries for the challenges, picking not just personal favourites but also things that in her opinion best represented the spirit of the HSM and the particular challenge.

Then the group got even bigger, life got even busier and that practice fell by the wayside in favour of more pressing things to do. But for this year, we decided to bring the favourites posts back, because they’re a nice way to wrap up the challenges and motivate the participants. This time around, each moderator would choose one item, write a little blurb about why they like it, and the person doing the inspiration post for a given challenge will post all the favourites on their blog.

So obviously it falls on me to post about our favourites for Nr. 1, Mend, Reshape, Refashion.
Just like before, for our favourites we will always try to select items that really represent the spirit of the challenge: in this case, to remake a costume to be wearable again (just like our ancestors did), or to look at historical clothing and things around you with an open mind to see what could be used for a project; generally, to research, stretch yourself, learn more, sew better, and get something made.

 (Header image from the original post so that you would not get a premature peek at our choices, hehe.)

There will always be amazing things that we won’t show you (because there are only so many of us and so many of you!). So we recommend you always check out the comments under the inspiration blog posts, the photos in the Facebook albums and the hashtags on Instagram to see the rest of the fabulous things that were (ever!) made. (Yep, you do have to be a member of the Facebook group to see it, yep, if you ask to be a member we’re going to ask you some questions, and yep, it might take us a few days to let you in, but if you are really interested in the HSM, as a participant or active cheerleader, we’d LOVE to have you!)
And now without further ado, the favourites! Just like Leimomi used to do it, entries with photos link to FB, entries without a photo link to the blog post of the maker.

Okay, so nominally this is Kura’s pick, but really it was a common favourite! We all liked the historical accuracy / impressive amount of research into an earlier, less documented period. Kura has been too busy to devote much time to moderating recently, so she agreed to at least have this presented under her name. :D

When you wear historical clothing regularly, and actually do physical activities in it, repairs are a fact of life, whether patching a knee or elbow, splitting a seam, repairing a hem, or just re-attaching popped buttons. And quite often, it is a task we procrastinate over *looks guiltily at my own pile of garments needing repairs*simply because it’s work; it is generally not creative, but is tedious.
Only a few people chose to actually do repairs--either because it felt like something too simple to enter, or because they had other plans--and this one stands out to me because of the fabrics involved.
Dana decided to...with her self-confessed limited handsewing skills...t o patch a rather large tear in a silk chemise. Not a task I envy her doing. As near as I can tell, she cleaned up the edges, resewed them together, then applied a narrow patch over the top in order to spread the strain over a larger area.

Sarah remade a knitted mid-19th century hood her daughter would not like to wear into hood for herself. I like this project because it not only reuses material, but utilizes hours spend on knitting too. Besides, it is not just minor alternation, but the original hood is completely redyed and reshaped.

Leimomi: Dana’s 1860s hood (Hoods and headwear in general were a rather popular entry both for the participants and the moderators, it seems! - certainly not anything I foresaw when writing the inspiration post...)

I love Dana’s 1860s hood made from a cut-apart sweater. Historical costuming is challenging because we often ask ourselves to have more skills than the vast majority of clothes-creators would have had in the past: drafting, draping, sewing, knitting, hatmaking, hat-trimming, lacemaking - even shoemaking. And we ask ourselves to have these skills across multiple eras. As someone else who doesn’t knit, I really enjoy the way costumers use ingenuity create knit garments without actually knitting. Dana used a photo of a Civil War laundress as inspiration, and created a garment that will look and act just like a knitted hood - without knitting. So clever!

Because it's pretty, simple as that. I love the fall of the pleats and how Alyssa managed to make the plaid work for her despite not having enough fabric for a planned plaid-matching. And I also like  that it’s one of the entries that fit into one of the further possible interpretations of the challenge I originally suggested: that of changing a garment to a different figure.

So hopefully you can see you don't necessarily have to do a big project to wow us. :-)

Next time, over to someone else... see you in August! (Well, hopefully there will be other HSM-related things to post in the meantime. ;-) )