Over the weekend me and my kids jumped back in time while visiting the Old Fort Wayne in my hometown in Northern Indiana. I found the event by chance so this costume wasn’t the result of long planning but I just love we looked as a little group (Adam was sick and couldn’t make it!). Let me tell you a little more about what we’re wearing!
My costume is mainly the result of pieces I had on hand and upcycling second hand fabrics. My jacket is made of an Indian print cotton that was a tunic I found at the thrift shop (see the project here). My skirt was a brighter blue thrift store fabric that I over dyed navy and ended up a pretty periwinkle. I attempted to coordinate it all with navy blue silk ribbon which I pinned at my bust and on my cap.
Speaking of my enormous cap, it’s made big to fit with the hair. If you’re unfamiliar with the period, you’re probably wondering why go for the Martha Washington look, Jess? but frizzing and powdering one’s hair was quite stylish in the 18th century. I used the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty for both guidance on my hairstyle and my cap and bows. I wanna say something like ‘big hair, don’t care’, but the truth is I do care - I love it so much! I got my curls and volume with tiny sponge rollers and an overnight wet set, some hairspray and the powder is corn starch. No backcombing or cushions! I did use one hair piece in back (but it’s mainly so I had something to fill out my cap a bit and pin it onto.
My other accessories are a white cotton voile fichu made from leftover yardage from my Jane Austen project, white knee socks and my American Duchess buckle shoes. I carried a basket to hid my phone and camera!
My son is wearing the shirt, waistcoat and breeches from his Hamilton costume. Beatrix is in a simple cotton shift, very common for toddlers of the time, with a drawstring neckline and grow stripes at the hem. I didn’t use a pattern - just measurements and an hour of machine sewing!
I loved visiting the Old Fort when I was a child, so coming back as an adult was a lot of fun. All of the costumed interpreters were so nice - I always get nervous if I’m going to feel accepted into the group. I’ve been to events with really grumpy re-enactors and this was completely the opposite. I will definitely do events here with my family again in the future! You can even register to spend the night in the Fort and hello! I WOULD LOVE THAT! Let’s see if I can get Adam on board and cobble together enough of a kit for us to do an old timey overnight!