My First Large Sewing Project – NSM 9-8-15

My CW DressI have always been a huge Civil War buff. After college there was a time when I thought that I might try to get into reenacting. I didn’t know anybody who reenacted, but I knew that you could do it individually.

Since you can’t reenact without the proper attire I knew that I would have to acquire some clothing. The problem was that I didn’t want to spend $500 on a dress. In order to get something that actually looked period that was the neighborhood that I was looking at spending.

I decided that I would sew my own dresses. Or at least attempt it.

This was my first attempt at really sewing anything large. I purchased the homespun material, about 10 yards of it, and used a Simplicity pattern. I had purchased a hoop and corset in Gettysburg, so I was good to go with that. I’m not sure that I can fit into this camp dress anymore, though. I made it at a time when I was very sick, but didn’t realize it. I was beginning to be at my thinnest that I had ever been in my adult life. I wish that I was that thin again!

Once I had sewn the camp dress I decided that I would need a day dress, too. At the time Simplicity had just come out with a series of period patterns that really did a great job of actually looking like Civil War clothing instead of looking like a Cinderella ball gown.

This particular pattern was simple enough for me to sew and fancy enough to be able to wear as a visiting dress. This is really what I would have worn as a reenactor if I had gone out for the day to an event. The previous dress would have been worn if I was actually camping out and having to do manual labor in camp.


Visiting Dress 2I styled mine slightly different, and my hoop isn’t as wide as the model’s on the pattern, but I felt that my dress turned out really good. This one was more challenging than the first one. I had to sew lining to the bodice, plus all of the trim on my dress is hand sewn. I had lace that looked like it was hand-tatted so I used either coffee or tea (I can’t remember which) and dyed it a little bit.

The dress doesn’t look like much, but when you pick it up it’s quite hefty. I have to admit, though, that I loved sewing all of the trim onto it. I never did wear this as I had intended because then I met Jay, got married, and all thoughts of reenacting went right out of my head. That doesn’t mean that I will never use it. It just means that for right now I don’t have anywhere to really wear it.

I must agree with my mom on the Simplicity patterns, though. If you’ve never really sewn before and you want to give a try you should really use a Simplicity pattern. They are easy to follow with clear instructions and you don’t have a lot of elaborate things to do. Whenever I have to find a pattern I always head to the Simplicity books, first.

BoogartAnd since today would have been my sister’s 37th birthday I thought that I would post a picture of her, too. You can see a little bit of the quilt that my mom made her at the bottom of the picture.

Boogart we miss you and love you tons.

This entry was posted in Civil War, National Sewing Month, Sewing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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