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. It includes the motto: Honi soit mal y pense. Perhaps some bear hair gel is in order.

Another de Loutherbourg comparison makes the cap height difference clear between grenadiers and fusiliers. The frontlet plate proclaims: Nec Aspera Terrent. 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 worn after that.

The mock "Present" position, with the musket at half-cock. Remarkable that the crease 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


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?