1850s · 1850s sewing · Dress · Finished! · Reenacting · Reenactments

Smoke gets in your eyes (aka the reenactment)

Well, I’m back from a full weekend in the 1850s! It’s amazing how pooped I was this morning. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the only event that I camp out at, and, as a result, it requires a lot more planning and prep work than the typical reenactments I go to. So, I expected some tiredness as a result of the fabulousness that was this weekend, but not as much as I got!

I actually made 3 new dresses: a wrapper (which is like a mid-19th century robe) which I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of, a lavendar sheer dress:

and my blue print work dress:

The blue work dress definitely got the most wear, and I’m really glad that I went with the short sleeves as it was hotter than Hades this weekend.

I spent most of my time in it hauling wood, looking after twins, and cooking over an open fire, where I got a lot of smoke in my eyes (hence the title of this post, it’s not a reference to the Mad Men pilot!) and mouth and had coughing attacks. As a result, all of my clothes smell like campfire, and they’ve been airing out all day today.

But, it was all worth it to get to play with historic babies in costume!

Anyways, I’ve decided to take a break/hiatus from reenacting and historic costuming for a while, and focus on some other hobbies (like finally learning the ukelele that I got as a graduation gift back in June!). I’m just a bit burned out by reenacting right now, and am really dying to sew something that I can put a zipper in! Anybody else ever get burned out from a hobby before?

1860s · Reenacting · Reenactments

First Civil War Reenactment AAR

Children learning about history!

I’m back from my first Civil War reenactment! It was an incredibly interesting experience, watching the battle and hearing and seeing so many muskets and cannons go off. The field that the reenactment was held in was just so gorgeous and quaint, with an antique barn (where a fashion show was held!).

Anyways, I spent my time in the Confederate camp, mostly in the Dressmaker’s Shop, working on a commission:

I wore my tan wool skirt (which was totally a mistake with the muggy weather we had) and what’s called a “whitewaist,” which is a sheer cotton bodice that was fashionable in the early 1860s. I made this whitewaist back in 2008, but since I only do about one late 1850s/early 1860s event per year, it doesn’t get much wear.

I also planned with “Historic Baby” (aka Alanna) who is the daughter of a reenacting friend from Oregon.

And of course, special thanks to my fake auntie for taking me along with her!

Aren’t her accessories just fabulous!?

All in all, I’m really glad I went and wouldn’t mind going back again next year. I met some incredibly lovely people and had a fabulous time. That being said, Civil War Reenacting just isn’t for me. I realized this weekend that I like reenacting in a historic house setting where the buildings are already there. Because there were no actual Civil War battles here in WA state, the reenactments inevitably have to involve encampments with tents. And it’s just amazing the time and effort that goes into finding antique and reproduction items to use in a camp and then set everything up and take it all down. I have great respect for Civil War reeanctors in this regard.  But, just having to show up wearing a costume at a historic site that has the bildings there is just more appealing for this young reenactress on a budget. 😉

Alright, back to sewing. I have 2 commissions I need to finish this week, and then I can finally sew things for myself. Look forward to that! 😉

1850s · 1850s sewing · Dress · Finished! · Reenacting · Reenactments

Reenactment: Queen Victoria’s Birthday Celebration

This past weekend was our May reenactment, Queen Victoria’s Birthday! I always look forward to this reenactment – the ladies are so well dressed, and it’s a chance to celebrate the refinements of the British Empire out in the Pacific Northwest.

I finished the little girl’s dress just in time for this event! Despite it being a little too big in the bodice (although for a growing girl that’s ok since she’ll be able to grow into it), I really like how it turned out and Janelle just loved it. She actually told me that she would wear it for every single reenactment she attends at the fort (and then I quickly replied that she didn’t have to wear it when it was really hot since it’s made out of wool).

Janelle in the new dress I made her. Look at her little model pose! I’m definitely having a good influence on her.

So, we both wore plaid Pendleton wool dresses during the day, and weren’t too hot (luckily!)

I also had a first-person presentation in the afternoon (for those non-reenactors, first-person is sort of like method acting where you become the character and speak as them) since I was portraying the wife of the Chief Factor (esentially a manager) of the fort. Despite being a “reenactor” for several years, I don’t necessarily consider myself an “actor” (or, actress). So, delivering a monologue as someone else was slightly nerve-wrecking, but luckily I had notes to read off of (since, despite being a history major, I’m really awful at memorizing lines).

My reenacting bestie, Nona, was also able to make it to the event and we had so much fun catching up!

Nona playing croquet. Isn’t her outfit so fabulous!? I definitely need a red dress now.

Oh, and finally, something really interesting happened last week. I’m currently in the midst of writing a 20-page research paper on Living History and Reenacting for my Senior History Seminar class (which partially explains my lack of blogging). Anyways, I was going through one of the books entitled “Living History Museums an Historic Sites in the United States” and decided to see what they said about fort Nisqually under the “Trading Posts” section. Lo and behold, a photo of Nona and I! I mean, how often does that happen – doing research for a paper and discovering a photo of yourself in one of your source materials!?

I brought the book with me to the reenactment, and of course Nona and I had to get a photo of ourselves with it!

Next month’s reenactment is a 19th century cooking contest and I’m already scheming up what to make after coming in 4th last year. I’ll be entering solo and cooking over an open fire all by myself for the first time (since Nona will be off to Indonesia for the month for a fabulous adventure), so of course a new dress is in order! I’m thinking something more working-class with a crazy mid-19th century printed fabric. 😉