A Way To Start 2016 : Blog Awards !

Happy New Year once again! I hope everyone passed a pleasant New Year’s Eve. To begin the new year (and another year with the Historical Sew Monthly), a planning post would be in order. But, since my long-term planning usually combusts around Easter, I think I will go without it this year. ;)

Instead, I would like to spread some new year’s happiness. Last month, the wonderful Chelsea of A Sartorial Statement nominated the blog for a Liebster Award. Receiving another award nomination has left me overjoyed, since I am always happy when readers like what I post and I can share the joy with me. Now I would like to pass on the love to you and nominate some of the awesome blogs you write. :)


To start with, here are the award rules (usually I am no big fan of chain-mail kind of activities, but blog awards are the big exception):

1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you.

2. Answer the questions the nominating blogger asked.

3. List 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that deserve some recognition.

4. Write 11 questions for them to answer.

5. Notify them that they have been nominated.


Here are the questions Chelsea asked, and my answers.

1. Where is your favorite place in the world?
Oh, that is a tough one. But, offhand, I would say Vienna with its amazing old city palaces, coffee houses and fashion collection. Another beloved place where I go when I badly need to unwind and relax, is the huge garden of a nunnery near the Rhine where you can walk and get lost in beautiful nature for hours.

2. What has been your most challenging project, to date?
That would be my pair of Regency long stays. Despite the great instructions they came with, they really challenged my sewing skills. After finishing them though, it felt as though the project had hugely improved my sewing techniques. :)

3. What do you like most to do on a rainy Saturday when nothing else is planned?
Usually, I will go for a coffee and then write on a short story, get carried away on some embroidery or, sometimes, start a new sewing project on a whim. ;)

4. If you could travel to the past or the future, which would you choose?  How far in time would you go?
Hmm. I would say it would be the past for me and I would go back as far as the bronze age to learn more about the origins of human culture.

5. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
It is not really a “tradition” but, what I like most about the holidays is to get together and spend time with family or friends.

6. How do you motivate yourself when a particular project is difficult or tedious?
I put it aside for a while, but not long enough to become a proper UFO. Then I try to find some small rewards (like a nice dinner, some new fabric or a coffee)to get me going again. Although, the biggest reward is finishing the project and enjoying it. :)

7. Do you ever have a hard time explaining your hobby to strangers?  If so, how do you handle that?
Not really, no. Usually I just tell them why I like doing it so much and that does the job rather well. Another matter, though, is when the ladies at the fabric store ask what I am making… ;)

8. What is your most invaluable tool?
After the last hand-sewing adventures, I would say it is a good supply of beeswax to wax the threads/yarn.

9. What is your dream project?  Time and money are no object – what do you make?
An early 18th-century silk mantua. Should I ever marry my own Mr. Sharpe, making one as my wedding gown would be an absolute dream.

10. What is the last book you read?
“The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas.

11. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  (Food, TV show, clothing item, etc.)
Other than fabric and embroidery yarn, it is BBC’s “The Musketeers” right now. It is the first TV show in a decade I absolutely went nuts about, and even wrote fan fiction on. The costumes may not always be at the height of accuracy, but I enjoy it a lot nonetheless. :)


Now it is time to nominate some of my favourite bloggers and their amazing work. Even though it is not my first round of nominations, I will never run out of really wonderful blogs, and people, to nominate. Here they are:

Laurie of Threads of My Life who blogs wonderfully about her beautiful creations and her adventures in costume.

Lydia of The Antique Sewist whose historical costume creations are absolutely gorgeous, or even breathtaking at times. :)

Hannah of Fabric & Fiction who mostly sews Regency attire, like me. I simply love her blog and the detail that goes into her work.

Hana of Marmota’s Dress Diary who is a very skilled seamstress and great blogger. I love her detailed research of historical garments and fashion history.

Beth of Beth’s Bobbins who writes about her sewing and other textile arts, but also about recreating historical hairstyles. I really enjoy following whatever she does/makes.

Gina of Beauty from Ashes whose costumes always look so perfect and whose blog is a lovely read every time.

Marlena Jane of By the Hush who blogs about her sewing and reenactment life with a twinkle in her eye. Both her posts and here costumes are just great.

Meg of Nutmeg Sews who makes absolutely beautiful historical costumes and blogs about her projects in a good amount of detail. Her blog is much fun to read.

Cassidy of A Most Beguiling Accomplishment who really knows her stuff and makes stunning costumes which she blogs about sharing many details. I also got her book “Regency Women’s Dress” not long ago and love it.

Jeannine of J-Nine Costumes whose blog and projects are simply great to look at and read about.

Bránn of Matsukaze Workshops who is a gentleman seamster (yes, that is a word) making all the historical garb he needs and I just love what he writes and does. There should be more enterprising young men like him in the sewing community. :)


And, last but not least, here are my questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favourite fabric color / pattern you enjoy working with the most?

  2. What is your most favorite place / space (be it a room, building, holiday destination etc.)?

  3. Do you have a favorite TV show or movie? If yes, which?

  4. Is there something you like to collect (fabric, ribbons, buttons, cups etc.)?

  5. If you could travel to one of your sewing era(s), which one would you like to visit most? Is there a specific date/place you would go?

  6. What is your favorite novel / author?

  7. Do you have a favorite museum you would like to visit or go to visit time and again?

  8. Which is the absolute dream fabric or notion you would really like to work with, cost notwithstanding?

  9. Is there a new sewing or crafting skill you would like to learn this year?

  10. Which sewing / dressmaking task do you enjoy / eschew the most?

  11. Where is your favorite place to sew or craft?

Those are my questions. I hope you will be okay with answering them and am much looking forward to reading your answers. :)


To conclude this post, I would like to wish all of you a good, happy and healthy year 2016. May all your wishes and expectations come true.

Warmly, Nessa



The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

On Thursday night, my fellow blogger Crystal at Adventures in Bias Tape provided me with the most awesome surprise: A blog award! Even now, three days later, I am overjoyed to receive her nomination. As always, I am very, very happy when others like my blog and enjoy the things I write about as much as I do. But I am also thankful, since this award provides me with another chance to pass on the admiration those bloggers I love to follow. :)

Long story short: I want to thank Crystal a million times for giving me the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.” It is a great honor to place it here on my blog. :)

Now, to pass on the joy to the wonderful bloggers I follow. To off, here are the award rules:

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
2.Put the Award logo on your blog.
3.Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4.Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
5.Nominate ten blogs.

And here are the ten blogs I would like to nominate for their amazing work:

My questions for you are the following. I am excited to hear your answers.  =)

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is / are your favorite topics to blog about?
  3. Do you have a favorite book and or author? And what do you love the most about them?
  4. Which is / are your favorite historical (sewing) periods?
  5. Do you have a piece of clothing in your wardrobe that you really love?
  6. Which sewing / crafting technique would you love to learn?
  7. If a time traveler offered to take you anywhere in time and space, where would you go?
  8. Describe your ideal dress fabric.
  9. Which is your most important sewing or crafting tool?
  10. Are you more of a lace or a ruffle person?

And now, it is my turn to answer Crystal’s questions *sharpens pencil*. I hope they will prove satisfactory. ;)

1. Why is your blog named what it is?
Most of all, the blog title says what I love doing: sewing and researching Empire-style fashion. That it could also refer to an actual empire of sewing is just a funny coincidence. I would never, ever dream of that. ;)

2. What made you decide to start blogging?

When I started blogging, I had been about a year (and two dresses) into recreating historical fashion. After researching online a lot, I knew that, in our special little costume community, blogs transport a great deal of the knowledge required to make beautiful period garments. Around that time, I was staying in Vienna and discovered the historical fashion library. That was the special moment that encouraged me to start contributing the things I learned  through my own blog.

3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

That one is easy: Getting in touch with other bloggers and people who share the same interests, to enjoy, exchange and discover new ideas. And to drool over everyone’s gorgeous creations of course… :)

4. On average, how much time do you spend sewing?

It really depends on how busy daily life gets. But, on average, I would say between one and three days a week are dedicated to sewing and/or embroidery.

5. Of your favourite eras, do you prefer having patterns pre-made or making your own?

Given the time, I like to make my own or at least size up / alter period patterns to fit. With certain garments though, such as corsets *cough*, I prefer patterns and instructions made by more experienced folk. ;)

6. Speaking of favourite eras, which one is yours and why?

Actually, I have two at the moment: Regency/Empire and Edwardian.
Regency, because I adore the style of, light and gorgeous, high-waisted dresses and how the accessories, like underpinning and spencers, are created around this special style of dress.
Edwardian fashion I like because it is a fashion that is still pretty “recent” in historical terms. And because it has its own, adorable, way of playing on fashions that have gone before.

7. What is the most unconventional object used in a previous project? (Either in the making of, or actually in the item)

Hmm. I seem to be a rather conventional girl with what I put into the garments. The weirdest might have been a length of thick hemp rope, to weigh down the hem of my bodiced petticoat. But that might have been a
In the making department, the weirdest tool is my “bodkin”, which is actually a big no. 1 carpet needle which I got for a few cents at the craft store.

8. Describe your ideal sewing area.

A well-lit room with a big drafting and cutting table (not the floor), a neatly ordered fabric section and lots and lots of space for my historical wardrobe and patterns / pattern books.

9. Care to share your favourite sewing tip/trick?

Sure. I love to tie the ends of my hand-sewing threads into a quilter’s knot. It is the least fiddly knotting method and works well on all kinds of threads. If you have not heard of quilter’s knots before, you can out more in this tutorial.

10. Coffee or tea? Plain or doctored?

Tea at home and coffee when I’m out. I love both equally as well, but each has their time. And, I take a lot of milk with both of them. If you put sugar in either, though, I will scowl at you. ;)

Here you go. I hope my answers were not too lengthy. :) Now, I shall proudly attach the award badge to my sidebar. Receiving this blog award has been a wonderful thing and it has made this week so much better. I hope your week has been a good one as well and you can now enjoy the final hours of your weekend. I shall see you all soon, with a few corsetry updates. :)

Much love, Nessa

Liebster Award Part Two – The Q&A

While I was away working, the lovely Gwenyver has nominated me for my second Liebester Award. For those of you who have not heard of it: It is an award bloggers from all genres pass along to other bloggers they enjoy following. Usually the nominations go along with a set of questions asked by the nominating blogger.

And now it is about time to finally answer the great questions that came with Gwenyver’s nomination. They have made me think a little and I hope my answers will give you a little more insight into my love of historical costuming. So, please enjoy this short Q&A:

How did you get into costuming?

This is a tough one. Prepare for a longish story. ;) Okay, here goes:  the whole costuming enterprise started on a rainy winter afternoon about two years ago. I have always toyed around with the idea of sewing my own thing, since I was very young. Back then I sometimes sewed little dresses for my cuddly toys from old cloth handkerchiefs, but somehow it never stuck. Then, this one afternoon I got it into my head to just sew a historical dress. I googled around for hours and hours until I found an original pattern for a Victorian wrapper. Then I pretty much got the fabric, drafted a pattern and taught myself to sew.

The story went on during my exchange semester in Vienna. Here I discovered the most awesome fashion library ever. They carried original copies of Ackermann’s, Costume Parisienne and Wiener Moden-Zeitung from the Regency era. And the many trips there rekindled an old love. But I also got to look into some original Edwardian pattern books and I still have some of those patterns in my “want-to-do” pile. And that is how I got into costuming.

The Victorian wrapper pattern that started it all.

What is your favourite type of costumes? (Historical, Sci Fi, cosplay, Movie Recreation, Original Concept, Ethnic, etc.)

Historical all the way. At the moment I mainly work on Regency projects, some Edwardian patterns are in the planning and I have a soft spot for late Renaissance fashions.  Then I also own a few sets of Bavarian folk costume and hats. But, since my family is mainly Bavarian and Austrian, I do not regard those as costumes, more as proper wear. ;)

Sewing machine or hand sewing?

Originally, I sewed everything by hand and I still do that a lot. But last Christmas, I got my first sewing machine. And it really is faster to use it sometimes.

What is your preferred method of embellishment?

All kinds of embroidery. It does not have to be overly fancy, but I really am a sucker for it, as you can also see on the blog.

Do you wear any sort of physical modifier to complete your look when you are in costume? (wigs, coloured contacts, prosthetics, allover make-up, etc.)

Well, I do wear Regency stays under the dresses, to achieve the period silhouette.  Besides, they are also so much comfier than a bra, no kidding. As for wigs… I might have bought something that counts for one earlier this week. But this is still a bit of a secret. So shh…

Which costume are you unsatisfied with and wish you could redo?

That first wrapper is still sitting in the PHD pile. One day I will give it a proper makeover. And there is also a half-authentic Italian Renaissance dress in dire need of re-work.

Is there something costume related that you compulsively buy / hoard? (Patterns, fabric, jewelry, trims, etc)

I will answer this one with a picture:

(Found on sewdelcious.com.au)

If you could bring back one fashion trend from any time in human history, what would it be?

The Empire waistline; because it looks flattering on women of all shapes and sizes. :)

What skill would you like to learn/master next to improve your costuming?

Making needlepoint lace and also embroidering scalloped hems with period white-work.

Is there a costumer that you admire? Who are they?

I admire everyone who sews their own historical costumes, era notwithstanding. If I had to pick one, it would be The Dreamstress. I love her blogging style and the things she makes. And she also created the HSF, which has brought together an awesome crowd of historical sewers from all over the world. Without the fortnightly challenges, my historical sewing adventure would definitely not be the same.

Could you please share a funny costume related story?

It is not really a story; but my dad is my biggest fan. He has no background in historical costuming at all but has a very keen eye for shapings. So, whenever I show him a new gown and he politely tells me that it is not really flattering on the silhouette, I know that it fits exactly the way it should. We have a good laugh every time he does that.

And that was it already. Thank you again, Gwenyver. Your nomination has really flattered me. It is so wonderful and priceless to know that my beginner’s sewing blog is actually this enjoyable to readers out there. :)

Love, Nessa

P.S.: As this week has been pretty exciting in many ways, please look out for a little summary here very soon. It will also include quite a bit of sewing. ;)


Back In Business

Hello again everyone,

After six long weeks of going without needlework and blogging, it feels really great to be back with you. To be honest, I have missed you all at least as much as the sewing. But now I am back and I promise I will be following your sewing ventures more closely again. :) As far as my own sewing goes, the time away from the blog has left me bursting with new ideas. On top of that, I have also stocked up my stash with a few new sewing goodies. Here is a quick summary of all that is new:

New Ideas

Without sewing materials at hand, my creative side got a little stir crazy. As a result, I got back home with a whole pile of new ideas. The inspiration for them came mainly from scavenger hunts through Pinterest, but also from questions and projects making the rounds in the historical sewing groups on Facebook. They really are an invaluable source of inspiration. :) All in all, the following new Regency ideas have popped up:

The open robe I have been wanting to make ever since I started this blog has finally gotten a face. I would like it to be sleeveless and tied with a string. As for the fabric, I am currently drooling over some saffron and burgundy-colored cottons with small floral prints. Additionally, I have also started plotting a short gown from a similar fabric in a different color.

As far as fitting underthings go, I realized that my bodiced petticoat might be a little sweaty for summer wear. So it is time for a lighter linen petticoat, without a full bodice. On top of that there are also the split drawers from the Simplicity pattern I have showed you last time. And once those two things are done, it will be due time for my first chemisette, or maybe two, or three…

Lastly, I have decided that it is finally time to start making my first reticule. As I have not done much embroidery lately, it will feature some colorful floral work, based on period patterns. There are so many awesome patterns out there and I am really aching to bring some of them to life in my embroidery loom. I really can’t wait :)

New Goodies

When I got back home last week, my mother introduced me to a new shopping center not far away from where they live. And the place also boasts a new fabric store. It is a branch of a Danish chain called “Stof & Stil”. They sell a lot of affordable, but not too bad, cottons and linens. Some of them have the most delicious floral prints which helped inspire me to make the open robe and short gown. Thanks to them I have now stocked up my strategic muslin reserves to a whole of 12 yards. Yay. :D

As they also sell a lot of tools and notions, I finally got around to buying a new pair of embroidery scissors. They are rather simple and do not look like anything special, but they cut like a charm. You can also see them in the photo of my current project below. ;)

And, today I did something really unusual: I bought another pattern. Normally, I try to self-draft and pattern whatever I can, but today I got a little weak. As Jennie is currently holding a 15% sale at Sensibility Patterns, I have finally decided to get her “Elegant Lady’s Closet” pattern. It features a nice variety of Regency dresses and one of them has a crossover bodice. I have a feeling that it will come in very handy when I start making the shawl-front gown from Wiener Moden-Zeitung…

Old Friends

But there are not only new sewing adventures, waiting to be discovered. There are also some old ones, aching to be completed. For once, there is my first 1800s dress, based on Janet Arnold’s smock pattern. It has been sitting here all this time, but now the bodice is nearing completion, just in time for the HSF “Terminology” challenge. Here is a little update on the bodice:

The bodice progress… and the new scissors.

Assembling this little beast has been quite a challenge of its own. But it feels great to finally see it made up in the fashion fabric. Now it is due time to get cracking on the skirt. I will keep you posted on the progress.

But for now, that is all from my end. It really is good to be back. I was also more than happy that Gwenyver at Confessions of a Costumeholic nominated me for yet another Liebster Award. I will try and answer her questions here very soon. And then, I might also start a new round of nominations as well. There really are more than a few of you who deserve an award for their stunning and inspiring creations. :)

Much love and until very soon,



And the Oscar goes to… – My first blog award, ever.

This may be a little off-topic, but not really: Back in February, my follower BMary gave me a Liebster Award, because she really enjoyed the things I blog about. I was more than a little flattered when she told me. Usually, I am no big fan of blog memes, but this one is a little different. The aim is to promote blogs with fewer than 200 followers to a wider audience. So, this time, I will join in on the game and spread it a little across our little island of historical sewing blogs. :)


Here is what I have to do to claim the Liebster Award:

First, thank the blogger who has nominated me: Thank you again, BMary. I feel very, very honored. :)

Second, nominate ten other blogs I adore and notify them of the nomination. After long and careful consideration, here are those ten bloggers I would love to receive an award for their wonderful work:

  • Making Makes My Life – Kura’s sewing and thrifting blog. I pretty much love every post she writes.
  • Threading Through Time – Susan, and her sewing persona Lady Constance, telling the world about their historical sewing projects and all the fun and trials surrounding them. Nicely written and full of beautiful historical sewing.
  • Fashion through History – Åsa’s inspiring sewing blog. We like the same periods of fashion, yet I find her creations much more stunning than mine.
  • Adventures in Bias Tape – Crystal’s historical sewing blog. Wonderfully written and great to look at.
  • Haeckelsdream – Silvermedusa’s blog was the first historical sewing diary I ever followed. She also writes about her famous ancestor Ernst Haeckel. We both like Regency and actually live in the same country.
  • Tea in a Teacup – Kelly’s blog was the one that first inspired me to start a Regency wardrobe, along with my own blog. Her creations never fail to inspire me.
  • The Bull Rampant – A fellow newbie seamstress working on her Regency wardrobe. She really deserves to be featured on here because I think what she has done so far all looks pretty awesome. :)
  • My Darling Dear and the Regency – Abigael is another blogger sewing gorgeous Regency fashion for the Historical Sew Fortnightly.
  • Dawn’s Dress Diary – Dawn blogs about her sewing and crafting endeavors. I love to read her diary and look at the beautiful things she makes.
  • WyldeHills Costuming – I found this blog through the HSF facebook group. Everything she sews is just perfect and stunning.

These are my ten nominees. I hope you will not mind the meme and join in on the fun. All of you really deserve an award for your writing, and sewing.

Third, come up with ten questions for your ten nominees to answer. As all of the blogs are related to historical sewing, there will also be some sewing questions included:

  1. What is your favorite historical period?
  2. How long have you been sewing, and how did you get into it?
  3. Which historical person would you like to meet and why?
  4. Do you have a favorite kind of fabric you enjoy working with?
  5. What will be your next project?
  6. Which place, in space and/or time, would you love to travel to?
  7. Where do you wear your sewing creations? Are you a regular at historical events or do you sew it just for yourself?
  8. Do you have a favorite clothing item, historical or modern?
  9. What is your favorite book?
  10. What are your other hobbies?

And fourth, answer the questions you received from the one who nominated you. So, here is my Q&A for BMary… this may be a bit embarrassing *blushes*:

1. Who do you know personally that inspires you the most and why?
Definitely, my dad. He has always had his own take on things and brought me up to be a free spirit, doing what feels right to me. From him, I also got my appreciation of classics, art and history.

2. What is your next goal or project?
Finishing my bachelor’s thesis on personality traits and psychopathy. I would like to finish it soon, along with some sewing. Preferably, without going all psycho myself… ;)

3. What have you always wanted to do?
Learn to play the harp or zither. Admittedly, I do own a zither, but so far I can’t really play it. Perhaps, one day.

4. What is your guilty pleasure song?
Currently, I would say “Landscape” by Florence and the Machine.

5. What’s your favorite animal?
This one is hard to pinpoint. I would say a barking turtle with fluffy cat ears. Does that count?

6. Where and what is your favorite place?
That certain armchair in the back corner of Spreegold café in Berlin. I have not seen it for a whole year now. But when I still lived there, you would find me sitting in it and reading, at least once a week. Here is a picture:

7. What song do I need to listen to, right now?
“Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” by DeeDee Bridgewater (originally it was sung by Billie Holiday though)

8. What is your favorite meal that you cook?
Black beans and rice.

9. Tell me a fun fact about yourself!
I have a French middle name. Not many people know it. But if you find out the first name of the main character I use in stories and role-plays sometimes, you will know it, too.

10. Post a picture of something that is important to you or something you care about.
Okay, now I am probably embarrassing myself. But this is Cal, my stuffed rabbit; she was a graduation gift from my parents. I am well over 20, yet she still travels with me everywhere I go. ;)


That should be all. I think I may leave the stage now and give the Liebster Award a place of honor on my sidebar. It is always a wonderful thing to know others enjoy the things you write, be it a blog post or fiction. I am still feeling chuffed, even a month later. :)

Love,  Nessa