A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Getting Started.

If you are a part of this group (The NECLHG 1680-1760), then your time period will be somewhere between 1700 and 1760ad. If this is your chosen time period, then the first thing you need to do is choose a persona for yourself (you can have more than one if you wish). Your persona is what & who you are. We do not interpret historical people like George Washington, or Daniel Boone, but you can be military or a woodsman like Boone. Women can also be woodsrunners just like woodsmen. Ann Bailey & Mrs Pentry were both woods women. Woods woman clothing can be the same as woodsmen's clothing, or it can be a mix of woodsman's clothing & woman's clothing.



The next thing you need to do having chosen your persona, is to research that persona. You need to know what they wore, what equipment they used & the skills they needed. Once you have this information, you need to start clothing & equiping yourself in the manner of your persona.


As the personas available are many, I will start with the woodsrunner. This is for both men & women.

The frock was designed to cover all, to protect one's under clothing. This one I am wearing is in the English style, but similar ones were worn in France & throughout Europe. Usually made of linen or tow cloth.

You can start wherever you wish, but if you intend to participate in our activities, then you need to "fit in". Imagine if you were suddenly transported back to the 18th century. Your modern clothing would set you apart, make you stand out. One of the best experiences we have is feeling that we have in fact just been transported back to the 18th century. Everything we wear & use fits into that period, & it feels very real. If you do not fit in, then it spoils this effect for everyone else. We don't mind you attending in modern clothing so you can see what we do, but we do like to see you making some progress toward fitting in if you intend to stay the course.


The frock covers all, well almost so. It is made on the same pattern as the shirt, but it is of a heavier material & it is a little longer than the period shirt. Take a look at the image above. We only use period materials for our clothing & equipment, but if you are allergic to natural materials then we will allow you to use something else. The above frock is made of linen, but if this is too expensive for you, you can use cotton.
 

The breechclout needs to be as long as you are tall, though some people have longer legs or longer upper body, so it is advisable to use a tape measure & see how it is going to fit.

Second hand materials are fine, my first period shirt was made from a second hand linen tablecloth, & it was the best shirt I ever owned. It lasted for many years. Heavy bed sheets also work well for shirts & frocks & even weskits/waistcoats. Another alternative is the modern pullover work shirt which comes in a kaki or tan colour. Get an oversized shirt. Unpick the pockets, remove the buttons. Replace the cuff buttons with bone buttons. This will get you through until you can make the real thing.

Woodland Indian leggings can be made of wool or leather. They have side flaps and reach from the foot to just above the knee. No higher than mid thigh. A leather thong is attached to the tops & it is secured to a leather tie about the waist. They are secured at the knee with garters.

Trousers & plain leather shoes will work temporarily, but breechclout, woodland Indian leggings & moccasins would be even better. Remember, the frock comes down quite low, & within practicality it can be as long as you like.

My woodland Indian centre seam moccasins. I attach the flaps seperately & make them longer for more protection against snakes. They wrap around above my ankle. I stitch on extra soles which makes them last longer and easier to repair. I can still feel the ground beneath my feet.

Seeing as we are in Australia, I suggest you stick with a low crowned wide brimmed hat in either straw or felt. These too can often be found in op-shops along with leather clothing for making leggings, & materials such as bed sheets for making other clothing.


Links for shirt pattern: http://www.marquise.de/en/1700/howto/maenner/18hemd.shtml

http://www.gentlemenoffortune.com/basic_kit.htm

This article also published on our group's forum at:  http://eighteenthcenturylivinghistory.freeforums.org/post468.html#p468

2 comments:

Murphyfish said...

Excellent piece Keith,
Are you going to continue and expand on this?
Regards,
John

Le Loup said...

I was thinking about it John. Thanks for the feedback.
Regards, Keith.