Currently I am working on a Civil War era naim coat made from a pattern taken from Peterson’s Magazine. The basic pattern is pretty simple, but I decided to make a hand quilted lining for it. At the rate I’m going, it will be spring before I’m finished. I guess that doesn’t matter too much, as my opportunities to wear it are limited, anyway. I am not a reenactor with any large group. I work part time in a Civil War era historic house museum. We do very few costumed events outside, so I don’t have much need for outerwear. However, every April, we do walk several blocks down to the statehouse to reenact mourning for Lincoln while his body was lying in state there. The weather has ranged from bone-chilling rainy days to sunny, almost balmy late spring weather. You just never know. I may make a lighter coat or jacket, too, just in case. I probably ought to make a jacket, since there are some nice patterns available and they might be suitable for indoor wear as well.
At least my mourning bonnet gets a workout then and for the ghost tour in October. I got some advice from the ladies on www.thesewingacademy.org on making it a little more historically correct. Even though I used a period pattern, since I modified the frame, the shirring in the section closest to the face disappeared. In original drawn bonnets from the period, there were also often ruffles incorporated into the outer bonnet. I will add some to cover the last section.
I am happy to report that I finally have an excuse to make a Civil war era ball gown, too. I have been secretly wanting to make one for a couple of years, but have absolutely no place to wear one. Now the museum is planning a ball for April, 2015 to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the end of the war. I guess that gives me plenty of time to design and construct it.
And since an instant gratification project is always nice, I will be making a felt 1920’s cloche for daily wear. I was able to find some barn red 100% wool felt on eBay to match the winter coat I wear the most. Now I just have to wait for the pattern to arrive from Vintage Pattern Lending Library.