Current Projects

Monday, June 8, 2020

HB The Revolution 2019

(I'm slowly slogging my way through the backlog of events from the last year that I never got around to posting. Bear with me.)

Going to the Huntington Beach Historical Society's annual Revolutionary War event, The Revolution, was so much fun in 2018 that going back wasn't even a question. With chemise dresses and full undergarment sets already done, conveniently being able to go in costume was just a bonus.

I did a poll on Facebook asking which side I should support: American/French or British? A few scallywags voted British, but the overwhelming majority kept it patriotic. To be honest, my major inducement to do a British impression was because I wanted to wear a miniature portrait of Horatio Nelson c. 1781, and can you blame me?
Captain Horatio Nelson, by John Francis Rigaud, 1781, via Royal Museums Greenwich
But I did ultimately decide to go American if only to appease my ancestors.

Most of my ensemble was already done from making French Revolution Zombaes in 2018. I reused the chemise dress, sash, and most of the undergarments. To account for winter weather, I got a thicker long-sleeve shirt (cut down to elbow-length) for a new shift. To transition the costume to daywear and make it more appropriate for a middle class British North American colonist, I made a second petticoat in blue, a matching neckerchief (based on one made by The Dreamstress), a new hedgehog wig, a Gainsborough/portrait hat, and a miniature portrait of George Washington. I also wore some other vintage/antique jewelry - earrings, bracelet, and rings - from my stash. Most significantly, not wanting to wear and hide sneakers again and without any decent alternatives, I gave in and bought the American Duchess Kensingtons in oxblood I've been lusting after for ages, with the James buckles. They're admittedly a little difficult for me to wear with my foot/joint problems, but I still love them.

The hat.
With the old French Revolution Zombae wig, not the new wig

The George used in the mini portrait.
By Pierre Eugène Du Simitière, 1779, via Princeton University Library
It was chilly and breezy, not unusual for southern California in winter but definitely cooler and more blustery than the year before. (We were lucky to be there on Saturday, as on Sunday it straight up rained.) Being in thin cotton dresses, a few people asked if we were cold, but with full tights, two petticoats, stays, and a decent weight shift, we were actually quite comfortable even into the early evening when we left.
I forgot to bring cash and the library's ATM was broken so I miraculously left without any books from their Revolutionary-themed sale. I bought about 10 last year and still haven't read any of those, so really this was no big loss, though I do regret missing out on the 1776 film soundtrack record. We did find a Franco-American alliance cockade that my friend got to go with her French-inspired ensemble.

We met some fantastic people throughout the day. A photographer duo asked if they could take our photos and very kindly sent us copies after.

We also wandered into the tent of an artist who was set up selling his work and taking photos of the event, and he sent us some candid shots as well.

All in all it was a great outing, and for being my first real attempt at historical costume at a historical event I'm really pleased with the result. This will definitely be a new staple in the costume/event catalog.