Out with the Old, In with the Liebster!

Happy New Year everyone! Sorry I’ve been rather silent recently–December is certainly a hectic time of year when you build Santa Claus wigs and beards for a living, have a tendency to home-make Christmas presents, and also spend the week of Christmas bouncing around Michigan seeing family. But, the holidays are over (my final Christmas present was finished three days before Christmas–not as good as last year’s before-we-left-for-Michigan, but better than the year before that’s up-until-all-hours-on-Christmas-Eve)! We had a wonderful trip, and gorged ourselves silly on all the delicious food.

I got an extra special Christmas present this year in the form of two Liebster Award nominations–thank you so much to Chelsea of A Sartorial Statement and Nessa of Sewing Empire. You both have really wonderful blogs that would absolutely have made my nominations list if you weren’t already blessed ;-). It’s so great to know that the people who write blogs I really enjoy like to read mine too!


To start with, here are the award rules:

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.


I picked 11 of Nessa and Chelsea’s questions to answer:

What is your favourite fabric color / pattern you enjoy working with the most? (Nessa)

I’ll start with an easy one! Yellow is my absolute favorite color to work with–it just makes me smile! You may have seen my three yellow projects this year–a pelisse, day gown, and tam all from the same yellow and white seersucker. I definitely have more yellow projects in the hopper–a blue and yellow plaid Natural Form walking dress, and a yellow 1790s chemise gown.

What has been your most challenging project, to date? (Chelsea)

The most challenging one I’ve finished to date is probably the 1822 wedding gown I made for the Locust Grove Historic Picnic. It was entirely hand sewn and the most meticulously researched piece I’ve made yet. Check out it’s construction in my posts The Wedding of Miss Croghan parts 1-4!

Major Croghan walking his daughter to the ceremony. This is my favorite shot of my outfit for the day! Image by Fox and Rose Photography

It is currently being surpassed, however, by the pelisse I’m working on, which was cut to the person (draped on a body), and is being sewn with entirely period correct construction techniques that I learned at Burnley & Trowbridge’s pelisse workshop in October. If you ever get a chance to take one of their workshops, absolutely do it, the techniques and knowledge of period construction that I gained there were invaluable.

Do you have a favorite TV show or movie? If yes, which? (Nessa)

While I have many favorite movies and shows (when you work all day tying teeny-tiny knots, you end up watching a loooooot of TV), I have to give my current obsession a shoutout–let’s hear it for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries! Luckily I do ’20s gigs, and therefore have an excuse to fly to Australia and steal her entire wardrobe.

If you could travel to the past or the future, which would you choose?  How far in time would you go? (Chelsea)

I would definitely go back (obviously)–just for a visit, though (as much as I like the pretty clothes, I’m a fan of being able to vote, own property, and have a fulfilling job). I wouldn’t want to visit any particular historical event, but just hang around and see all the little bits of daily life that were never written down because they seemed so ordinary at the time. 1816 would be an obvious choice because it would make portraying the year at Locust Grove so much easier, but I’d also love to visit 1877 as research for the novel I’m working on (and will eventually write some blogs about–that is why I called the blog Fabric & Fiction, after all)!

Do you have a favorite museum you would like to visit or go to visit time and again? (Nessa)

I haven’t been to England yet, but I’d sacrifice years off of my life to have unlimited access to the Victoria & Albert’s textile collection.

What is the last book you read? (Chelsea)

I just finished the most recent book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It may be written for young adults, but I highly recommend it to everyone who isn’t a snob about that kind of thing–she’s a fantastic writer with strong, believable and seriously flawed characters that are fascinating to watch as their epic unfolds. I just started Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, and am really wondering how I haven’t picked it up before–there are too many amazing books in the world, it’s so easy to let them slip past me!

Is there a new sewing or crafting skill you would like to learn this year? (Nessa)

I told myself this time last year that I was going to learn to knit, but then everything got so crazy that I never got around to it. I already crochet, and I think it’s about time to add knitting to my repertoire. I also really want to start edging handkerchiefs with needle lace (oya). The results are so gorgeous, I’m a sucker for crafts that involve using a tool to tie knots (weird, right?), and it would be the perfect task to keep my hands occupied while I talk to visitors at Locust Grove.

How do you motivate yourself when a particular project is difficult or tedious? (Chelsea)

I’m a devoted fan of audiobooks. I listen to them all the time while I’m working, which helps distract me when something gets tedious. I especially recommend any of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series–the more recent ones are read by Stephen Briggs, who is utterly fantastic. I am terminally organized about my schedule, so I rarely let myself put down a project until it’s done, but I have been known to give myself rewards during a boring project (finish this seam, and you can have a chocolate, or blow through 5 lives on your current favorite iOS game). I’m also a fan of setting small goals. Write down all the little things you need to get done today. Each seam, each bit of trimming, whatever. The more small items you get to cross off of a list, the more you feel like you’re really getting somewhere. Or maybe it’s just me who has this sick joy in crossing items off of lists.

Which sewing / dressmaking task do you enjoy / eschew the most? (Nessa)

There are lots of things that I love about dressmaking, but one of those weird little things that I really enjoy is making eyelets. There’s something very satisfying about the regimented stitches, and the keeping it totally round and the smell of the beeswax from the thread you’ve waxed to within an inch of its life.

What do you like most to do on a rainy Saturday when nothing else is planned? (Chelsea)

This may be the most obvious answer in the world, but it’s lie on the couch with a mug of tea and a really good book.

What is your dream project?  Time and money are no object – what do you make? (Chelsea)

I think I would take a bunch of my favorite fashion plates from the 19th century (hey, if time and money were no object, what about one from each year of the 1800s?!) and recreate it down to the last detail–clothing, setting, pose, etc–in a photograph. Ooh, I like this idea, now–who’s going to give me the grant money?

My Nominations:

The Young Sewphisticate–I get excited every time a new post from Annaliese appears in my inbox. She makes fun theatrical costumes and beautiful clothing from the mid-19th c. (and she has a knack for pattern mixing that can always make me smile!)

Dames à la Mode–If you aren’t already a fan of Taylor’s gorgeous period jewelry, drop everything and go check her out immediately! Her blog is full of it, plus great research, lovely gowns and stunning photographs!

Inside Aimee’s Victorian Armoire–Aimee writes all about sewing, her projects, and life through the ages. She posts lots of great tutorials too–including actual period hair and beauty advice.

Bygone Elegance–Joanne creates gorgeously detailed historical outfits and I’m jealous of all the fun places she finds to take great pictures of them!

Scene in the Past–Ginger makes lovely costumes, and posts lots of research and process shots to go with them, which I just eat up!

Lady of the Wilderness–Amber makes historical garments–including an amazing Georgian calash, but she also designs Star Wars amigurumi–how happy is that?!

Nivera Swings Costumes–Like me, Nivera is interested in multiple aspects of costuming, including historical and cosplay. Her cosplay creations are detailed and impeccable, and she’s currently working on Celaena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass books, which I, for one, am super excited about!

Costumes & Chaos–I know Tumblr blogs aren’t quite the same format as most others, but this one is definitely worth checking out. Maggie makes lovely historical and cosplay attire.

Ruth Allynn Makes Things–Ruth gives lots of great detail about her sewing projects, and I love that her current one is starting with sketch and patterning and will–I hope–continue through every step of the project!

Costume Artist–Paige’s costumes are just what her blog name implies–incredible works of art, largely made from re-purposed items, and as intricate as clockwork.

By the Hush–Marlena Jane makes beautifully constructed historical garments, plus who doesn’t like a series called Fashion Plate Fridays? She finds lots of great ones and puts them all in one place!

The final step in the Liebster fun is asking 11 new questions for my nominees to answer, and here they are:

  1. What started you off in sewing? Have you been interested since you were a kid, or is it a more recent obsession?
  2. What is your favorite costuming book/resource?
  3. What item do you lose the most while sewing? (Mine’s the seam ripper.)
  4. What’s the last really great book you read?
  5. If money were no object, what new place would you visit?
  6. Are you very organized about completing sewing projects, or are you more of a whatever-takes-your-fancy sewer?
  7. What’s your first step when beginning a new project? Do you sketch? Start looking at swatches? Plan the accessories first while you work up to the big number?
  8. If you could buy yourself one present for your sewing room, what would it be?
  9. What form does your fabric stash take, and how do you organize it?
  10. Is there a certain item you can’t resist at the thrift store? Upholstery swatches? Costume jewelry? Handkerchiefs? Teacups?
  11. What made you decide to start blogging?

Thanks so much again to Nessa and Chelsea, who nominated me! I don’t normally participate in chain-letter type activities, but this gave me a fun chance to really feel a connection with like-minded bloggers, and I quite enjoyed it!

I wish everyone a happy and satisfying New Year–I’ll be back with your regularly scheduled programming next Sunday, when you’ll get to learn what Brandon got for Christmas (plus all the subterfuge that went into it!).




4 thoughts on “Out with the Old, In with the Liebster!

  1. Thank you for the wonderful post and your answers, Hannah. 🙂 They were very interesting to read. I hope you will get to see the V&A in person one day; you will love it! And best of luck with learning to knit and writing your novel! I have been dabbling into writing again more lately, too, and would love to hear about your progress. 🙂


  2. Hello, Hannah! First, congratulations on both of your Liebster awards – you sure deserve them!! I loved reading your answers, and hope that you do someday (soon!) get to recreate your favorite fashion plates. (And, I must say, the picture of you in your stunning 1820s gown and the Major Croghan belong on the cover of an Austen novel!) Also, I wanted to thank you, most sincerely, for the nomination! It is such a surprise & honor, especially coming from someone as talented as yourself!
    Keep inspiring us,
    Anneliese 🙂


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