Not the best weekend, but not the worst. Let’s start with the best parts, and perhaps the worst will be forgotten.
We went up to Minute Man on Saturday for the first of two rounds of early-period drilling for the 1763 event which will feature Marshall’s company of militia. One highway closing and a lack of period clothing later, we arrived. There was crossness, mostly occasioned by the closing of 95 northbound at Pawtucket, as we do not like to be late.
This early drill is pretty interesting, especially compared to von Steuben’s manual, developed nearly 20 years later. The early manual is almost baroque, and seems full of superfluous movements, described with superfluous words. In some ways, it reminds me of Morris Lapidus: Too much is never enough.
I sat under a tree and watched while re-pinning and re-basting Mr S’s bloody overalls, which must be done one week from Thursday, ready to be put on for a 7:30 AM departure for a parade on the North Shore, with a step off at 9:30. DC appeared, watched me sew, watched the drilling, got anxious as he always does, but was favored with the present of a rope work dice cup from one of the older members of the regiment. It’s a small kind of acceptance ceremony he performs.
After struggling with the utilitarian overalls, I felt the need for a more artistic pursuit. The horrid green frock coat seemed less horrid after staring at what was on display, so I brought it ought and made Mr S try it on all over again. It will still need altering to fit properly, but I think I can manage that better than I can making it into a waistcoat and making a new, proper frock coat. (Though I have some lovely wool, and a plan to have him turn out in that for next year’s Battle Road.)
I found more green linen scraps in my stash, and then it dawned on me: If you haven’t got width, go vertical. With Koshka’s tutorial onscreen and Costume Close Up, I fiddled around with the scraps on Sunday morning, and came up with a mariner’s cuff adaptation. At this point, I figure this is a test garment, and whatever mistakes I make will turn out better on a broadcloth coat, and all buttons are recyclable. It’s a bit of a lie, this coat, since it’s got to be 1775 in July and 1763 in August. For a one-off event, it’s madness to make a totally correct outfit when I haven’t got exactly what is wanted for July. That short wool coat will be murder in August– so wonky cuffs and alterations it is.
The Young Mr might get a blue linen unlined short jacket: I have proven I can make those, there’s one in a Sandby drawing from 1759, and though I dearly want to make him a short, laborer’s coat in brown camblet with a red lining, I haven’t got a suitable pattern yet. With a 34 inch chest, he’s a tough one to fit.