Saturday, January 9, 2016

Planning the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge

I haven't sewn any clothing in years.  Instead I have used my sewing machine for mending, sewing patches onto Karate gi's and finishing needlework.  I used to make quite a few of my own clothes, fancy clothes for the kids, and spectacular Halloween costumes.  Most of them have been passed onto other people, but I still own a silver lame lined velveteen wizard cloak and a black and red cloak for a vampire.  

I want to make clothes again and I have a collection of fabric to use.  I decided that the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge would get me started and challenge me to combine my embroidery skills with dressmaking.  I am not a reenactor and I plan to wear the clothes that I make for this challenge, so some of my selections will be from the 20th Century.  

Since it has been so long since I have made clothing, I don't have unfinished projects lying around, certainly not any period ones.  So for the January procrastination challenge, I plan to use fabric that I purchased 25 years ago to make a paisley blouse.  I chose McCall's Pattern M7053 and plan to make the long sleeved blouse.  I want to make the coordinating skirt as well (McCall's Pattern M6993), either in the same paisley or in a solid color.  These patterns are part of the McCall's Archive Collection and are based on styles from 1933.  

The February challenge is tucks and pleating.  I have some cotton fabric that is white with peach stripes.  I think that it would make a beautiful 1890ss shirtwaist.  There is enough for a skirt to match, but if I make the skirt, it won't be a period piece.  I bought the fabric to recreate a favorite, full skirted Norma Kamali shirt dress that I wore to dance in so there is plenty of fabric.  

The March challenge is for protection.  I plan to make a short cape using a pattern for a bustle-era cover up.  It is lined and has an optional beaded overlay.  The beaded overlay will be my December project since it would be for special occasion wear.

April is a gender bender challenge and I would like to make a man's smock.  There are lots of patterns out there for different versions -- some with smocking and others with peasant embroidery.  

May is holes and I will either cheat, and knit a shawl using a historic pattern instead of sewing something or I will figure out what to do with the lace on the late 1920s dress I found in Grammy's things.  The dress has deteriorated, but the hand made lace in the collar and jabot are still intact.  It is black, but so fancy that I wonder if my grandmother wore it to her wedding.  It is possible that it was another color and she dyed it later. 

I don't know what to make for June, July, August, or September.  The October theme is heroes and I would love to reproduce one of Elsa Schiaparelli's embroidered jackets.  They are absolutely fantastic, my favorites are one that has a woman's face on the front and her hair embroidered in gold across the shoulder and sleeve, and another with two faces that join on the back with ribbon roses across the shoulders.  The November challenge is to make something red, if I can't come up with something to sew, I can always use the red laceweight wool in my stash to knit a Victorian shawl.  

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