Researching Authentically Correct Texian Clothing For DH
When I first started dating my husband, Dan, he looked me carefully in the eye and explained he needed to share a secret with me. Before I realized what an ironic and unique sense of humor he had, and had a bit of a panic. This was decades ago, and we hardly knew each other except through work friends who’d been playing matchmaker. (And Linda, I’m talking about you!)
He took me into his immaculate and orderly bedroom, and my mind simultaneously went into the gutter and more panic for various scenarios. Then he began to take out banjos. And more, and more, and more. There were thirteen banjos in all, and he hung his head in shame. Then out came the autoharp, guitars, and maybe that’s when he pulled out a high school trumpet case. Wow, was I relieved! I was thinking the worst, and it just turned out he had a very carefully collected group of banjos and miscellanea.
At the time we started dating, he was playing with Hazel and The Delta Ramblers, a New Orleans string band fixture and Jazz Fest regular. These days he goes to festivals around the country, and sometimes plays with a group for 1830’s style music. And that’s when things get complicated.
A musician has to wear period appropriate clothing and accessories, or stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. These items have to be authentic for the period, so no hokey 1950’s Western shirts, cowboy boots, and the like. These folks play authentic music surrounded by folks who know when you’ve hit the mark costume-wise, and no fudging is allowed.
So by this afternoon, I’d researched appropriate drinking vessels, eyeglass frames, cravats, pants with no flies, shirts, coats, hats, and shot bags. I was sad to see a lot of the hyperlinks were dead as Santa Anna, and decided to start a new one here. Not only for my leaky long term memory but for others on the hunt also. During my searches, I discovered 1830’s clothing for women is either extremely expensive or homemade, as in I have to get out Ole Betsy, my sewing machine. Ole Betsy has low mileage after my foray into making a complete boy’s Colonial costume for school. Never did get my Colonial lady’s costume done.
You have to do homework on Texian reenactor websites to get authenticity correct. Never rely on movie representation because often glaring details get overlooked, or ignored.
So here’s the beginning of my list.
Crazy Crow American Indian and Muzzle Loading Supplies – Amazing source for clothing, hats, personal items, and more. The clothing covers men only.
Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. – Extensive source for American Revolution and early 19th Century clothing for men, with limited clothing for men. Also tents, glasses frames, etc. “For over 35 years, we have helped historical reenactors, movie makers, theatrical companies, pirates, and regular people find items including clothing, tents, books, knives, tomahawks, oak barrels and lots of other goods appropriate for 1750 to 1840 – especially the American Revolutionary War and War of 1812.”
The Quartermaster General – “Known for our knowledge, accuracy and quality, we specialize in the period from 1610 through 1810, offering replicas of 17th, 18th, and early 19th century custom clothing (both military and civilian), USA hand-crafted wood and upholstered furniture, primitive smalls, hand-crafted leather and other period-correct goods for French and Indian War & Revolutionary War reenactors; theater, television, and film industries; museums and living history sites.”
Etsy – Handmade clothing and accessories appropriate for Texas Revolution reenactors.
The Mountain Top Trading Company – Two kinds of hats, but loads of shot bags, powder horns, tents.
Blockade Runner Women’s Clothing – Women’s clothing, boots, shoes, etc.
Texian Trad’npost – Historically correct buttons, flags, books.
Lavender’s Green – 1776-1830’s women’s fashions to order. Company out of Oregon.
Dixie Gun Works – Need a cannon? Ever since I was a little kid with a neighbor who shot a garrison salute cannon off from time to time, I’ve wanted on for myself. This company has clothing black powder guns, antique gun parts, and more.
Cooperstown Trading Post – Men’s frock coats of assorted styles, handmade baskets, possible belt bags, “dropfront britches”, moccasin patterns, pipes, etc.
Past Patterns – Patterns for non-commercial use. Everything from women’s undergarments to men’s vests for the Texas Revolution era.
Old Time Patterns – women’s and men’s clothing patterns from 1800-1837.
Amazon Dry Goods – Patterns for women’s and men’s historically correct 1830’s costuming.
Smoke and Fire Company – American Colonial/Revolution to some mid 1800’s items. Most women’s items are Colonial. Some men’s ready to wear clothing up to early 1800’s.
Burnley and Trowbridge – Clothing patterns, sewing technique books (for authentic handsewing), sewing tools. If you love historically correct sewing, this site might become a favorite.
Costumers’ Wiki – links, links, and more links for costumers and reenactor clothing resources.
James Country – This website shows promise, but I don’t like having to guess what an item looks like, or sort through lack of details.
Doxie Queen’s Multi-Part Video on Making a 1830’s Day Dress. – Beautiful. Not to buy, but for inspiration for those of you who sew.
Maggie’s Costumes 1830 Dress Construction Demonstration – Again, not for sale but inspiration. Love her photos, and the dress came out beautifully.
Conner Prairie: Clothing in the 1800’s – beautifully photographed and researched page on 1830’s clothing, social status of the textiles and fashions, and more.
Danielle’s Costuming Diary on an 1830’s Dress and Bonnet – Perhaps too fancy to use for all but the richest and most fashionable of the 1830’s United States, but she made an exquisite dress and bonnet.