Monday, September 18, 2017

The Royal Fusiliers in Canada, 1774


Here is the finished bearskin compared to a 1778 drawing of a grenadier by Philip James de Loutherbourg. The height difference is apparent, as is the grenadier's badge at center back. The cord pattern on the 7th Foot cap is completely conjectural, but is similar to surviving examples. Insanely talented Alexa embroidered the Regiment's badge on the madder wool bag. Perhaps some bear hair gel is in order.


Another de Loutherbourg comparison makes the cap height difference clear between grenadiers and fusiliers. Sadly, all the 7th's dress headgear was captured with their colors and a year's worth of clothing at Fort Chambly in October of 1775. Simple cocked hats were the order of the day after that.



The mock "Present" position, with the musket at half-cock. Remarkable that the part the tin shaping plate puts in the bear hide shows up in the drawing as well. The cap is light and surprisingly comfortable. Best of all, it half folds for storage. It's the perfect balance of intimidating and impractical.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Future Noir

Crank up the Vangelis, y'all. Somewhere in this pile (circa 1950-81) is inspiration. If any of this looks interesting to you, start here. You might bump into Adam Savage. Actual props and costumes have become big business, and like surviving historic clothing can be expensive.

Charles Knode created this coat from silk herringbone for Harrison Ford. No doubt there were several.

Ridley Scott describes it as "a Harris Tweed," and the Phillip Marlowe, detective with only one suit vibe is pretty strong. The shoulder yoke and back belt are a nice touch. Between still photos and the film there appear to be three different shirts and pairs of pants also, with one matching. Everyone knows the trench coat, but most miss the suit.

After weeks of searching for material, this appeared. Not silk, but they have a similar weave, which is fantastically soft. Shipping was fast. If you need linen, consider Lithuania. Previous experience with fiber reactive dye makes them an option. The terracotta color is misleading, in most images it is a warm golden orange with brown tones.

Perhaps some pants first to get the hang of the sewing machine.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Preenacting

Whoa. Has it been that long? Well, shit.

Getting thrown chez Calash leads to more adventure than anticipated. There have been excellent discussions, several detours and few new rabbit holes, but progress continues. This chap, discovered by Kitty, provides some cool details about bearskins. Turns out the lining comes right down to the edge of the cap. Unsurprisingly, the top of the tassel is painted to match the cord. Here's to completing modifications and finishing a new pair of drill overalls by the third weekend in September for some fusiliering.

Living history is weird. Information about the past is limited and trying to recreate a world from it is bound to be flawed. It's fun to try. Why not take the insanity one step further? How did people in the past view the future? This 1988 LA Times Magazine took a stab at 2013. Always interesting to see what they miss. Don't worry, we aren't leaving our favorite centuries behind, just exploring a side street. If you don't like science fiction or the 1980's you can skip some entries.

Speaking of which, here is what 1982 Hollywood thought an LAPD detective would look like in 2019. Yes, it is a movie, which makes it surprisingly harder to recreate. Isn't this just cosplay or costuming? Perhaps, but it's also history and that rain coat has to repel acid rain. It's still a uniform and a gun. Hot Topic, anyone?










  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Perfect Day

Mrs. Delaplace (her name is lost to history) is worried. Strange people appear from the woods and ask pointed questions about the fort. Ticonderoga was more  "composed of decayed wood and earth" than a fortification in 1775. Fortunately, the stone barracks are serviceable.

Captain Delaplace worked his 23-man guard hard. He acquired livestock, and made his family comfortable by hiring servants.  





A middle-aged enlisted man and his wife cook and clean for them. The woman cooks, scrubs, and tends livestock while the man mends and cleans the captain's clothes, helps him dress and sees to his shoes. The battle against rust on fuzee and sword never ends.

Captain Delaplace has written to his superiors with concerns about the post, requesting more men, but it is already too late.

While late, his Drunkenness managed to combine forces with Kitty to deploy a servant team at Fort Ticonderoga this past weekend. The work was pretty constant, and surprisingly pleasurable to toss dirty water and the occasional chicken bone down onto the parade.  Captain Delaplace's gaiters were very tight continuing to lose buttons throughout the day.

Kitty's chicken was a hit, and we actually heated water and washed dishes at table. Note to self: must learn how to tie a sash properly. Also try to attend at least ONE drill with garrison to say hello.




Someone got their frontlet plate. While slightly shorter than surviving examples, it still looks incredibly badass. Both the plated copper and the tin inner plate have a nasty habit of cutting thread, so caution is required. Pull gently.

Next time the leather sweatband and the tin stiffening plate. Sewing through hair can be fun, and cut threads begin in earnest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bag It

So THIS happened. Miss Kitty talked me into it. Honestly, I don't feel like I have much to say, but together we could be helpful. We're both obsessed with excruciating little details that most folks ignore. Speaking of which, thanks to Kitty and Alexa for lending their special brand of insanity to the bearskin project.

The cord machine was a huge success, which is great because there is no twisted cord on bearskin caps. Oh well. It works fine on 18th century hats, so it won't go to waste. Here is some braided wool cord in a Monkey Chain for the top. It's upside down and needs to be trimmed. The whitening is obvious, per regulation.

Kitty's tassels have a net stitch over the head. I am still paying for the one I cut accidentally, which required her to make a replacement. Jason kept the cord pattern simple. The tassels finish the ends on the right side.

 Here is the cap, inside out, with the bag partially stitched in. Historic bag examples have three layers: red cloth, rough hemp, and canvas.  Wrangling all that hair is a challenge. It needs to stay out of the seam. Secured at the top and bottom, it's clear easing is required around the sides. At the lower left is the patch to fix the bald spot. The whole cap is still remarkably light.

Next time, the frontlet plate goes on, the leather sweatband starts, and the tin plate goes in.