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The Andes Candies coat at Saratoga

I didn’t get nearly as many things made for the 2013 Historical Sew Fortnightly as I wanted to. Some of the challenges didn’t appeal to me,  but mostly I just couldn’t keep up! Reenacting ate a lot of my life, especially in the late summer and fall. The Andes Candies coat and the What Cheer Day sewing, while totally gratifying, happened when I was thinking about the “Green” color challenge. But, on the positive side, because I’ve waited and played with Spencers, I have a much better pattern plus what I hope will be an entry for HSF #25, the One-Metre Challenge.

Looking ahead to 2014, I can see that July and August are going to be tough. We expect to have a lot going on at work, and the reenacting season will be in full, heavy swing. (Starting July 19th, there are five weeks in a row of events and work. We won’t be able to do everything, so there will be some figuring out to do. Also, our house will be a mess.)

The 2014 Challenges Announced Thus Far:

Last year’s mending. This year: more lost buttons.

Challenge #1, Make Do and Mend, will be a chance to fix things I know are awry. There’s a petticoat hem come undone, some binding that needs reattaching, buttons popped off waistcoats, and haversack straps to be shortened. That’s all without even looking: Imagine what I’ll find if I look (or maybe not, it could get ugly). I think this challenge will help me tidy up after last season, and prepare for the next. There was mending last year, too.

Challenge #2, Innovation, is a little more worrying. I’ve got a major dress project underway, and will have to adapt that to this challenge. Fortunately, I think compere fronts on sacques might count as an innovation, so that will help keep me on track.

Mrs. Elijah Boardman and her Son, William Whiting Boardman. The Huntington Library, 83.8.15

Mrs. Elijah Boardman and her Son, William Whiting Boardman. The Huntington Library, 83.8.15

Challenge #3, Pink! Will probably not be mine. None of the things I plan to make are even remotely pink. I thought I had some pink silk and was about to ditch the sacque for a pink Ralph Earl, but it turns out that silk is more lavender than pink. I looked at some pink silk, but then Sew 18th Century helped convince me to buy the cross-barred silk instead. And, like yellow, pink can be unfortunate on me, unless it is coral. Of course, pink can mean red if you’re making traditional hunting clothes…so this could still get interesting. And I know of a receipt for 5/8 of a yard of pink satin…which sounds to me like a waistcoat.

Challenge #4, Under it All, will probably have to be pocket hoops or other skirt supports for the sacque. I have been working on a faux quilted petticoat, with limited success (it may qualify for make do and mend…), but would need hip pads to round out the silhouette properly. Have you noticed this is a bit out of order? Yes, I need the skirt supports first, but six weeks in advance is plenty of time! Well, from this vantage point, anyway. It’ll look like madness on the other side of New Year’s.

I know I’ll miss deadlines and fall behind, I know I’ll get distracted in the summer and stop reading about all the great things people have made, but thanks to the HSF, I’ve kept more on track and become a better seamstress, than I was a year ago. Many thanks and kudos to the Dreamstress and everyone else around the world who joined in, and will join in, on this international sew-along.