Photos and Considerations


Lately I've been thinking about what I want to do re: costuming.  Several weeks ago, when I went to the Saratoga Battlefield for the Artificer's Weekend, I decided that I really was going to start going to events.  The next weekend was Defiance and Independence at Fort Ticonderoga, and I was all set to go ... but then I found out that there was an Iron Man competition thing going on that would make horrible traffic, and I thought about driving in my stays, and how the only member of the 62nd I knew wasn't going to be there, and the last few weekends had been really busy, so I didn't go.  So I've spent the last few weekends chilling, because I push myself at work and can't handle being "on" on the weekend as well.

Me at Saratoga, after having shaped my hat - much better!



I tend to think that if I really wanted to do reenacting, I would be doing it.  I have two groups to choose from locally, and I could go to events without one if I wanted (if not knowing anyone/being on my own weren't part of the problem), but in general I'm not sure if it's for me.  There are issues with my kit that need fixing, and in general I feel like reenacting lends itself to a constant improvement, which is rewarding - but because fashion history research is part of my career, I don't want to box myself in and concentrate too much on one era.

The non-reenactor-costumer side of things seems to be more my cup of tea - not that I don't love trying to be as accurate and stitch-county as possible, but you get a wider range of eras and can focus on making an outfit you like rather than representing a class or occupation in specific.  The trouble here is that I don't live near any places where costumers tend to congregate!  There is a Victorian street-walk around Christmas time in Saratoga and I'd love to make a late 1830s outfit for it.*  But for the most part, there aren't non-Revolutionary War events, and I don't have any local friends interested in creating our own.

 I have no other relevant pictures, sorry.

Working at the Chapman has fired me up about sewing for research, but right now I'm rapidly approaching the end of my internship and don't yet have a new job lined up - at the same time, I owe $200 on my student loans each month and $100 to my father for my horrible car.  I have a bit of a stash built up - a bundle of cotton for that Victorian street-walk outfit - but not all of the fabric I'd need to make anything, and I really do try to limit my spending.

I don't have anything profound to wrap this post up with.  It's really just thinking out loud.  I had thought that reenacting would give me what I want, but the more I think about it, the more I'm not sure.

* Speaking of which, I don't suppose anyone knows of a good source for a solid cotton twill or sateen?  Sateen would be best because it's what I see a lot of in historical corsets and dress linings, but nowadays it seems like it only comes in a really light weight for sheeting that's not what I want at all.

Comments

  1. I don't have very many events to go to around here, but I will admit that I get a little burnt out, everything feels same-old-same-old from event to event, and I wonder why I put so much work into getting ready, packing up, and dressing up. Especially because the actual process of sewing a new piece is way more fun than wearing it, to me! If the creative process is what is fun for you, have you thought about finding small local house-museums who might be interested in having replica clothing on display? I'm thinking about getting involved in this aspect because it seems a shame to do that much work on a gown or garment for it to only come out when I wear it once or twice a year. Plus like you I'd love to try non-18thc clothing and a lot of the house-museums in my area are mid-19thc to early 20th. Might be a fun project!

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    1. That's an excellent idea! I could definitely see doing that, maybe at half or quarter scale to save on materials. Maybe I'll bring it up at my internship sometime next week. Which is actually my last full week, which means that I will be having some free time while I look for another internship/job.

      You've also reminded me that I got a 1912 project skirt pattern back in June, and I've got that cut out to scale now. :D So there's some useful sewing that doesn't require any personal fitting at all!

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  2. Aw, I really know how you feel! I'm also on a very very limited budget and live far away from other reenactors. I know there's one medieval group in my town but it's actually a group of friends and they do everything together - as a group of friends. Like, they don't advertise their events on the web or anything, so it's kind of hard to get in... and I'm not that interested in medieval clothing anyway. So, I usually have to travel to the capital to get to reenact 18th century once a year and I can't afford to travel more than that. *sigh*

    It's really depressing sometimes, when you read on fb about others having dancing lessons or tavern parties and I'm here all alone with my sewing... I've even tried to arrange events, but it didn't turn out to be that fun. Why? Because the others weren't even half as interested in the 18th century as I was and they didn't know how to sew or anything so they asked if I could borrow my costumes or make them costumes.

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    1. It sounds like it would probably be a bit awkward with that group, too, if they're that close. Not to advise against it! But I would never be able to get up the courage to try to a group like that. Or to try to arrange my own events!

      I do get a bit of a vicarious thrill from looking at other people's event photos, but it's tough. I think there are more events around where I live, I just don't find out about them until it's too soon to make anything. Which is a pretty good argument for making stuff from all different eras for no specific reason, really!

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  3. You look so sweet!
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

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  4. So late on this--sorry! But wanted to say--reenacting might not be the be-all and end-all to fill the costuming-for-fun part of life, but it does help you meet others with goofy history penchants. I do a lot of Rev War reenacting, but in the off-season we often plan non-Rev-War "invite only" friends events--Christmas parties, skating parties, teas. The more people you know and the more time you spend together, this kind of stuff just seems to come together! It does take time to build those relationships (and it takes finding the right group...), but I've found them to be really, really rewarding.

    I love the idea of offering to make repro clothing for small museums--after working at one, I know they can often really use the help!

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