In the first part of The Lady Civil War Reenactor, I gave an introduction about what should be expected at most reenactments for women, why people choose to participate in reenactments, and a list of vocabulary commonly spoken by people in the reenactment community. In the second part of The Lady Civil War Reenactor, I talked about building the impression (persona) that you use that reenactments and what should be avoided. I also put up a short questionnaire designed to help you build your impression. In the third part of The Lady Civil War Reenactor, I got into more of the specifics in each type of impression that a female reenactor can do, broken down into basic economic and social structure in both the Union and the Confederacy. In the fourth part of The Lady Civil War Reenactor, we talked about the basic fashion items you’ll need to get started. The fifth part of The Lady Civil War Reenactor covered more specifics about fashion choices and how to choose the right fabrics for the right patterns and styles.
Today I thought we’d do something a little different. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching and talking, always talking, with this blog series but I feel like we’re lacking in visual learning. Getting familiar enough with any period in history enough to try and recreate it means seeing real things from that period. Those of us who are seamstresses find it best to study actual pieces of clothing that survived from the period because you can learn a lot about how things were done just by examining the construction process. That kind of examination can tell you a lot about economical, social and political influences that happened around the creation of that piece of clothing. For seamstresses, studying the real clothing is as important as other historians studying period letters and documents.
That being said, earlier this year, Kent State University did a really great job with an exhibit on Civil War fashion and how society, economics, politics, war, etc., affected fashion. I would like y’all to watch the video clips they posted. I think they will help you understand the period better, especially from the female point of view.