Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rushon Boys

The kettle bag turned out swell, and work is proceeding on the spats. A matching small kettle bag is cut out. Meanwhile, TOP SECRET things are altering the sewing queue a bit.

The Continental Army kit has been languishing for awhile. Most of the gear is still acceptable, but upgrades are in order. While doing research for the winter march in January, a favorite subject reappeared.

An officer in the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment, Jean Baptiste Antoine de Verger, captured these chaps in watercolor at the Battle of Yorktown. Their mysterious waistcoat vests are worthy of speculation.

The classic late 18th-century waistcoat has tails and pocket flaps.  Both tend to get hung up in regimental coats and stand up in an unmilitary fashion. Overalls, trousers, and breeches ride low on the hips, and a gap can form where the shirt peeks out, especially if the waistcoat is too short.

A belt that buttons the tailless vest to the pants would seem a (vaguely French) improvement. It uses less cloth as well. Time to apply drunk tailoring skills to a belted waistcoat.


  1. Wow, that kettle bag looks amazing!
    I am really interested in the idea if a belt that buttons and holds down a vest, if I think I understand you correctly? I just assumed the blousy look of shirts showing above pants, particularly at the back when men crouched down, was part of the period look. This would be so much neater. What fabric would the belt be made of? To match the vest, or contrast, or even of patched together stuff, whatever was in hand?
    Thanks for your posts. I love hearing about how re enactors find their way thru stuff like this!
    Nancy N

  2. Thanks! Ideally the shirt isn't supposed to show at all at the front. The back is less of a concern since it is usually covered by a coat. The traditional waistcoat covers the waistband of the pants entirely. Eighteen-century fellers were damn skinny, bellies are 21st century problem. We get more shirt peek, but the American army was always trying to save cloth, and late 18th century fashion was starting to flirt with straight cut vests and coats without tails. The belted waistcoat is very mysterious, not much in the way of evidence. I'll walk you through a reasonable solution based on what we know, and 18th century tailoring. Blame the French. They were experimenting with cloth waist belts during the Seven Years War. American army regs mention them from the start of the Revolution. Stay tuned!