Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nothin' Fancy

After years in the reenacting world, I think I found my clothing niche just a few years ago. Living in eastern NC doesn't really call for much pomp & circumstance with silks and rows of fringe- it does however call for sturdy & serviceable garments.  In the past few years I have found that I really only pull 2 dresses out of my closet. These 2 dresses are pictured above. I have worn them both for years, and still pull them out almost every event, despite there being some new choices in the mix.

The first one is a lovely green cotton print, I made this dress 5 years ago and I have dubbed the dress "Ole' faithful," as it will fit almost any social class or setting here in NC. Adding a clean collar & cuffs, belt, and fashion bonnet, it does make a respectable impression! I have also thrown on a slat bonnet for a day light activity. The dress has had blue trim added to the sleeves as well was yellow glass buttons down the front. I must admit, I have been wanting to take the trim off those sleeves- but the buttons are staying!
DH & I 

Tintype by Harry Taylor
Playing graces on a Spring day
Such a great day! 
DH & I at an event last March. 

Even Louisa had to have one just like it! 

The second dress I seem to wear all the time is my go-to work dress. I made it about 4 years ago out of some $1/yard homespun I found in the red tag section of Joanns's Fabrics because it had some fading lines on it. I had intended for the dress to be the staple for hard labor in my 19th century closet, and it has been. The fabric is thin enough that it is ideal for the heat that comes along with cooking.
It has some quirks- which I love. The neck stretched out during the fitting, so I had to re-cut it- this is has a pieced bodice, I have now lost at least 2 of the vegetable ivory buttons- so they will need to be replaced. The hem is stained with mud, suit, & who knows what else. The shoulders of the dress have started to fade- its more of a tinged yellow there now instead of its pink/brown gingham.
The first time the dress was worn- yes it was at work & they must know my name. 

This may be a staged photo

Stewing Chicken

Hanging out with my favorite blacksmith! 

I post all of this to say that you don'e need as much as you might think. I tend to portray the same type of person- either I'm working with ladies aid, or I'm cooking. Many reenactors feel as if they need a closet of 897 gowns to do everything the need- and you really don't. Yes, I have more dresses- but I don't wear them nearly as much as I do these two.