Historical Sew Fortnightly

Well this year has gotten off to a slow start! But…we started back to work last week and have mostly gotten all of the mess from Christmas in the Colonies and A Christmas Carol all washed and put away. Our first project of the year is an Irene Adler dress for our Sherlock Holmes play coming out in March. More on that as it comes along!

I decided to participate this year in the Historical Sew Fortnightly. I also decided that since I sew for a living any project that I make for work will not count (kind of a bummer for some things!), but only personal projects for myself and my family. I have had larger historical wardrobes in the past, when I was working the tours full time, but now I just want one or two good outfits in each era. I only work tour occasionally, but when I do I want to look good! I also want to start doing more events that will allow me to wear my historical stuff, so that is one of my goals this year. The first event I want to go to is Gibson Girls and Guys go Golfing. It’s through my costume guild, Costumers Guild West, Inc. It’s in March, so that gives me a few minutes to get outfits together for myself and my husband.

The first challenge for the Historical Sew Fortnightly (HSF) is Make Do and Mend. Some people are using up fabric in their stash and making do with patterns and things on hand. I had mending to do. Yay! So exciting. But…I had bones sticking up out of my stays, and my drawers needed attention.

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And here are the stays mended:


It’s ugly, but the canvas is starting to fray, so the stitching had to go far enough up to catch good canvas and cover the bad. We have a challenge coming up called Under it All, and I’m looking forward to maybe making a pair of stays for myself that actually fit (and mayhaps enhance my figure:).

Here are the drawers in their hastily fixed state (a state that did not work!):


My drawers had been a little bit long in the crotch, just enough to be annoying all day long, so I did a quick fix and folded the waistband over and sewed it down. One of the problems with this is the extra bulk at the waist, and the other is that now the button and buttonhole were inside and backwards! And the waistband was shorter…and I’m slightly plumper then I was when I made them. I had to safety pin them very carefully, as I didn’t want the safety pin to pop while I was wearing them, especially as I wear them under my corset, and that would really hurt!!

Here they are fixed:


I took off the waistband, cut about an inch off the waist and put the waistband back on.

I also mended my 1880’s teagown. We had used this style for work dresses, and for some reason everyone loves this dress. I have come to realize that this style is perhaps not the most accurate style to use for an everyday or wash dress, but oldies are goodies, and despite all the wear this one has a little more time left.


It had a chunk of the hem missing, despite being ferreted, so I trimmed the icky bit and re-ferreted it. It also had a tear right above that and since I was at home I had no patching materials. I had found the piece of twill tape I used for the ferreting when I was going through my costumes looking for mending, so I just used that to mend the tear as well.

The next challenge (due Feb. 1) is Innovations. Something that was new and innovative in your chosen era. I have so many eras its hard to figure out what to use. But…I need hoops for my Civil War dress, so that might be my project. However, hoops of all kinds have been around for quite some time, so that might not count. Ideas? I’m open!!


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