Pics from the last civil war re-enactment

We're back.  The last civil war re-enactment of the 2010 season for our Oregon group is over.  Saturday was beautiful and in the high 70's, Sunday it rained off and on all day and everyone had to take home wet canvas.  But, that's how it goes sometimes.
I've talked to you about my kind of weird hobby of civil war re-enacting, something that my mom and I have done since I was a kid through her business, Lavender's Green Historic Clothing.  Now, my cousin is very involved, too, and her darling 21-month-old has already been to 8 civil war events in her short life!
Some of you mentioned you'd like to see pics of this year's McIver Park event, and I'm happy to oblige!  Most of the pictures we took were of Brenna, the toddler, in her darling new big-kid dress (rather than the all-white baby clothes she wore last year).
We had another ladies' tea on Saturday:
Brenna got a tea cup, too!
And I delivered the fashion shows, as usual (both days, at 2:00).  Hard to get good pictures of these, since I make funny faces as I talk!  Other re-enactors come up to model, as I talk about fashion and culture for women, children, and civilian men.  I start with women's day dresses, then talk about teenagers' fashions, then children.  Then men's clothes, special exceptions like maternity and mourning, and then, of course, underwear!  Although no one models their period undergarments (we're all too wrapped up in the living history to strut around in our corsets, although we'd be covered up by modern standards).  Then I take questions.

I should clarify: Civil war reenactments are meant as educational events for the public. All day, folks in jeans and flip flops come check out the events and the re-enactors do demonstrations and shows for them just like at a house museum or historic site! Spectators aren’t supposed to come not in costume.
And, of course, we set up my mom's store where she takes custom orders and sells ready-made corsets and other things.
Brenna was good company there, too!
She also enjoyed playing with her antique stroller, particularly, putting pine cones and sticks in it.
The Oregon group, the Northwest Civil War Council, always re-enacts 1863, although not any famous battle in particular.  Of course there wasn't much going on in Oregon back then, but we pretend we're somewhere where there was!
It was a lovely weekend and now we have several months to improve our camp and wardrobes for next summer's four big battle encampments.  With my mom's business and special interest groups, however, we find many more occasions to wear historic clothing!  The winter is a nice break from camping with canvas, and it's always nice to wear awkward clothing indoors, with indoor plumbing and other modern conveniences.  I'll be sure to let you know when we make any beautiful historic garments over the next few months!

9 comments

  1. That looks like so much fun! =)

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  2. I do not find your hobby weird at all. I see it as an intelligent, absorbing, enlightening hobby, the social life is appealing too. Well done.

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  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE the dresses!!! so cool!

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  4. Brenna is so adorable! She looks so comfortable in her historical clothes that I can suddenly imagine a little kid really living in those clothes

    I'm always impressed with your group. Everyone wears clothes that fit, and are flattering, but aren't ridiculously fancy and over the top. It's a big testament to the quality of your sewing, and your mother's sewing.

    The girl in the blue dress is particularly fetching.

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  5. Such beautiful dresses! I do love dressing up - that must be so much fun!

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  6. My family also does civil war living history and I found your blog last week and I love seeing another group that sews great repro fashions! My family does more of a working impression at most events, but we still try to sew flattering and beautiful gowns and do our hair nicely with a fun sun bonnet. Very inspiring to see your posts!

    blessings,
    Rebecca

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  7. How neat!!! Love the pictures and the dresses are beautiful!
    I'm very curious about historical reenacting. . . do you have any suggestions on how I can find a group in my area and get involved?

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  8. Thanks, everyone!
    @Chip, and other readers (got some emails about this, too), I'd love to help you out with questions about civil war reenacting!

    Civil war reenactments are meant as educational events for the public. All day, folks in jeans and flip flops come check out the events and the re-enactors do demonstrations and shows for them just like at a house museum or historic site! I highly recommend coming as a spectator a couple times before picking a group.

    To find a group near you, I recommend just Googling “civil war reenacting” and your state or region. You can also look at the Citizen’s Companion site—it’s a magazine for civilian reenactors. http://www.citizenscompanion.com/news/index.asp

    The thing, the problem, almost, with most civil war reenactors is that it’s usually men, usually military-focused. So when you see the “4th Texas Infantry” or whatever as a group in your region, yes, they may be, but that means they portray that unit of soldiers. That’s not what you’re looking for—you want the “____ Regional Civil War Association” or something… ours is the Northwest Civil War Council, for exapmple. The “battle events” or “encampments” are the weekend-long things you want to go watch. Since we started 20 years ago there are a lot more women reenacting with our group, but it is still a men’s hobby primarily, and not all the men’s wives and kids come out, too. Every group is different, and cares more about different things. Just looking around online, I notice that a lot of groups do not focus on authenticity of women’s clothes! Which, of course, I care deeply about. It’s part of why I give the fashion shows. I recommend going to several reenactments if you can, and get a feel for the different groups—they should be friendly and welcoming. Before you invest any money in the hobby (it can be expensive, although if you sew you lower the costs of dressing appropriately) and talk to an expert in your group. Ask around, and look for great research books. 19th century sewing is very different than modern sewing, too. I’m happy to answer any specific questions if you get to that point, also!

    It’s a very fun hobby for kids and families, either as a spectator or as a reenactor. Thanks again for reading and good luck!

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