Creating a 1750’s Gown…For Me!

 

There comes a time when all business sewing needs to take a pause, and personal sewing needs to take over.

You see, I don’t often sew for myself.

I think the last time I created a gown just for me was at least a year ago.  Most of the time, whenever I sew it is either for a client or to sell on my shop.  But with a little more free time on my hands (thanks to longer naps by my little one), I wanted to try something new and different. …something for me! 🙂

After thinking about what I wished to create, I decided on an outfit to wear at next year’s French and Indian War Reenactment…in July.  The tricky part about making a gown to wear in the summer while it is still winter is the fear that I am going to sweat like crazy!  More about that later!

So, as always, whenever I begin a brand new decade or project apart from the norm, I begin with an inspiration board.  This is where I gather images of actual gowns, paintings, or pieces of a gown I want to try and incorporate.  The problem with this particular gown is I wanted to include WAAAAY to many aspects and techniques, so I had to really cut down.

Here is the inspiration board of this particular project:

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Old Fort Niagara: The French and Indian War

Well, this weekend was the huge reenactment at Fort Niagara focusing on the tension during the French and Indian War of the 1750’s (a.k.a. The Seven Year’s War.)  The fort is unique and very beautiful as it sits on the side of the Niagara River on the border of New York and Canada.  I spent the day there yesterday and was surprised at the large amount of re-enactors (Native, French, and American) who participated.  While the majority of those reenacting looked amazing…I did notice a few people who, well, just looked plain sloppy and tried to hide the tops of their Nike socks by turning them down….not a good look in any century.

There were many sutlers there and live music which made the whole place a giant flashback to 1750!  Although in spite of all my wanderings through the shops, I didn’t buy anything.  There were two reasons why…one legit, and one personal.  First the legit reason:  I focus on 1860’s fashion and I found myself wandering through thinking “too old-fashioned” or “no longer in use…something else has been invented” or “while beautiful, this is something an 1860’s women’s grandmother would wear…soooo nope!”  Don’t get me wrong, the fabric and trims were beautiful, but just not my era.

The other reason I didn’t buy anything was that I was completely and utterly ignored by the majority of sutlers.  It seems that if you aren’t dressed in period clothing than you are invisible.   Literally.  Not ONE shop owner even acknowledge me.  Am I so special that I have to have to world stop? No, but it is good business practice to greet each customer…especially one who (if found the right fabric) was ready to plunk down hundreds of dollars to stock up on accurate fabric.  I know I have ranted about this before, but between getting snubbed at small quilt shops by older women who think I’m an idiot, to sutlers who do not see me, I am getting very disappointed in the reenacting/sewing community.  We need to be welcoming so more people WANT to get involved!

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