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Friday, August 24, 2007

Men's Clothing

My initial Goal for Kris was to have just enough of his uniform in order to March in the parade. I knew we would have to borrow the rifle since that would be one of the more expensive things we will buy, but I figured I should be able to get most everything else.

Items we needed for Kris to march:

Black Shoes
Although there are sites that sell period shoes, like these from Jas Townsend. These run for $90 on this site, and prices are comparable pretty much everywhere I looked. Many re-enactors decide to go the more cost effective route and will buy plain black shoes at Wal-mart or similar store. At first we used the shoe laces that came with them, but now we have leather that we have purchased from a Sutler and use that for the laces. Some day we may go this route for Kris, but for now the cheaper choice works for us. With so many things to buy up front, it only makes sense to cut corners where it's not so visible to the public. We paid around $20 for the shoes we got.

Cotton Socks
These are relatively inexpensive and are pretty much the same price no matter where you get them. These really shouldn't be bought in the modern style because the men’s socks were very plain with no ribbing in them, so we felt it would be better to just buy a couple of period socks for him. We ended up just buying them from Flying Canoe Traders, since that was where we bought his pants. They ended up being $8 a pair and we bought one in blue and one in white.

These are inexpensive as well, but Flying Canoe did not sell these, so we did an order from Jas Townsend that included these. Since we were buying period socks, he really needed these to help hold the socks up. Although even the period socks have some grip to them and don’t slide down so easy, in the 1700’s the socks would have had almost no grip and would have slid down very easily, so it would have been rare to see a soldier without garters on. We paid $7.50 for a pair of these.

We needed pants for Kris. When I was looking at websites I saw breeches that go to the knee and I also saw pants that go to the ankles. I was not sure which was more appropriate to wear. After looking at pictures of other RevWar re-enactors I saw that the vast majority of them had the breeches, so that’s what I went with. We got them from Flying Canoe because they came highly recommended for their quality and their turn over time in shipping them out. Most other sites will make the pants from scratch when you order, but Flying Canoe has them on hand ready to ship (unless you are an odd size.) Since they are in Canada, you do have to factor in the fact that it may take longer to get to the US, but they shipped them to us the quickest way possible and the pants arrived 2 days before the parade. I chose to buy the Natural color, since it seemed to be the most neutral. The pants were $55 and I believe the faster shipping ending up being $20. The pants were slightly big so I just took them in on the sides for him.

This is the shirt that is worn under everything else. It is supposed to be long enough to wear as a nightgown at night. Generally you would wear something over it, but it is not always necessary. I decided that I would make this shirt for Kris. I bought the pattern from Jas Townsend. The most authentic thing to make clothes with is 100% linen, although they had cotton at the time, it was not as widely used as linen was. But it is perfectly acceptable to use cotton or linen or a blend of the two. If cotton is used it should not be a printed cotton, if it can be avoided. I found that the homespun cotton as Jo-Ann Fabrics worked really well for some of my projects, and it was relatively inexpensive at $2.99 a yard. For the first shirt I made for Kris I wanted to use linen, I found a great online store that sold linen for an awesome price. The store is I have linked you to a great article that helps you choose the best weight of linen from their site. I bought the linen for $5.51 per yard plus shipping. Kris’ shirt took 3 yards of fabric. I hand sewed the entire shirt the first time, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. However, the second shirt I made (which I made after our first real re-enactment) I machine sewed any seams that weren’t visible and then hand sewed any seams that could be seen. Although I am sure it wouldn’t have been a big deal to machine sew the entire thing, I chose to keep it as realistic as possible. I think the shirt pattern I chose is more for Rangers, but it’s easy to make and I like it so I am sticking with it for now.

Hunting Shirt
We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a hunting shirt from another re-enactor in the regiment. A shirt similar to the one we borrowed is sold at Jas Townsend. The one we borrowed didn’t have as prominent a “cape” and it had a little more fringe on the neck part, which I guess is really not period correct, but it works for the time being. I am not sure where the exact shirt we have was purchased, but we did appreciate being able to borrow it.

Leather Belt
Since we knew we had the hunting shirt to borrow, we also knew that we would need a belt to keep it closed. We decided on a leather belt from Jas Townsend. It did not have any holes punched when we got it so I used an eyelet punch to punch the holes. I suppose that it would have been better to cut the holes with a knife since I assume they wouldn’t have had hole punches in the 1700’s, but these are things you think of only after the deed is done.

We borrowed the hat for the parade as well. The hat that we borrowed was a felt hat, which I believe was a blank, but it had been molded into a tri-corn. There was no white trim on it. The blank can be seen at Jas Townsend. After the parade one of the other re-enactors in the regiment approached Kris and let him know that he had a similar hat that we could have. He had ordered one online, it got lost in the mail so they sent him a replacement, after a while the first one showed up so he had two and he really only needed one. We were very grateful for the hat. The hat was a little small for Kris’ head, so we placed it over a pot of boiling water to steam it, then we put it on Kris’ head which molded it to the shape of his head and we let it dry. Now it is just the right size for him.

Cartridge Box
One of our larger expenses was for a cartridge box. This was something that Kris couldn’t borrow so we decided to go with one from Dixie Gun Works. They came highly recommended from other people in the regiment. The sling for the box came separate from the box itself. The box cost $35.00 (on sale) and the sling was $16.95. We may consider getting another box for Kris later on so he can carry more round with him, but this works for now.

The last thing we purchased in time for the parade was a haversack. We were able to buy this at Jas Townsend. Again this was another one of those things that we could find anywhere, but since we were placing an order at Townsend, we decided to just get it there. We went with the neutral color to match everything else. The haversack cost $10.

Believe me yours faithfully,

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