Fast forward to the end of 2014. The lovely Dreamstress, Leimomi Oakes, made the decision to revamp the Historical Sew Fortnightly, with challenges due every two weeks, into the Historical Sew Monthly 2015, with one challenge per month. Personally I feel a lot less intimidated by monthly challenges, though there was no insistence on creating something for every challenge in the prior version. I plan way too much and get overwhelmed.
Also, a friend of mine lives in an apartment in a big Victorian house built in 1892, and that has given me a jumping-off point on a new era to branch out into, and away from my usual medieval and Tudor. I've done a bit of research and joined the Victorian Costuming Bees group on Facebook in addition to the Historical Sew Fortnightly (still under the old name) and Costume Pattern Reviews.
So without further ado, here are the challenges for 2015 and my plans:
January – Foundations: make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.
— An easy start is a Victorian chemise and/or split drawers. I have easy patterns for both, and I already have white muslin. My 1890's character is middle class, so nothing too fancy is required. She is also forward-thinking and has a sewing machine (win). If possible, I want to start on petticoats as well.
February – Colour Challenge Blue: Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.
— I'm not 100% sure what to do here. I want to make a new Victorian corset, but my old one is blue too. A corset is the next logical step since anything else would need to be fitted over it. Perhaps petticoat(s) with blue detail?
March – Stashbusting: Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.
— This may end up being my corset, since I want a green striped Victorian corset and I already have the perfect fabric in my stash.
April – War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear. Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.
— This will require more research if I want to keep constructing for my late Victorian character, but I do have a pattern for WWII Era trousers from Wearing History that I want to try.
May – Practicality: Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in. Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.
— Anne's apron here:
June – Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.
— Late Victorian is completely out of my comfort zone already, so I think continuing the theme would be appropriate, perhaps with a shirtwaist (easy enough not to get me overwhelmed).
July – Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look. Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.
August – Heirlooms & Heritage: Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.
— I am lucky enough to have a photo of my Sicilian lots-of-greats-grandparents from the very early 1900's, and my lots-of-greats-grandma's jacket looks like a pattern I've seen from Truly Victorian.
September – Colour Challenge Brown: it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.
— Easy enough to make a practical brown skirt.
October – Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).
— This is where I do more research to get some ideas, perhaps something for the late Victorian women's movement.
November – Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.
— This is where I have more fun with the Anne of Green Gables movies! I love Anne's face (and hat, and entire outfit!) in this screenshot:
December – Re-Do: It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.
— Whatever I didn't get done, or more petticoats. I'm certain there will be something I skip out on.
So, I have high hopes for getting myself out of my sewing slump. We just had a snowstorm drop several inches of snow on us, so maybe that will be the reason I need to just stay in and have a tea-and-sewing day! Wish me luck!