Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Making Your Own Kit

Making your own authentic Civil War kit. Sounds hard doesn't it? Actually, it can be challenge. We here at the Monterey Pass Battlefield Institute do make a lot of our kits. From clothing to some of the easier accouterments. We do this for several reasons. 

The first and foremost, it helps us to cut down the cost. A good Civil War jacket whether it be Confederate or Union, the cost can run upwards to $200.00-$400.00 depending on the vendor. When we make our own jackets, the cost of a Charlie Childs pattern is $15.00, then add in the fabric and it usually takes two yards of that, so add $45.00-60.00 depending on what type of fabric it is. Add $20.00 for authentic buttons and the price of the jacket is coming in under $100.00. Trousers and shirts are the same way. 

Another reason is simple, the knowledge of how garments go together. We can then use that information when we interpret this time period. We do get a lot of questions regarding "Did you make that yourself?" Most times we can answer yes. Also, its a learning experience. How many of us can actually say we can make our own stuff.  

When the garment is being made it typically takes about less than two weeks for a jacket to shirt to be completed. That includes time spent doing other things. Much hand stitching goes into a single garment whether it be top or button holes. 

Lastly, when the project is finished, you'll have more respect for that garment knowing what went into it.

Now, we have made all of our haversacks in which we have patterns for. Several belts have been made us and much of what is carried inside of the knapsack such as housewife, hand towel, scarf and stuff like that.

If your a historical site and you need to figure out how to cut back or save money, this is a great way to do so. You can have workshops and teach your staff how to do much of this and build upon it as a team. 

Here are some pictures of completed garments that we made. 
An example of a George Jacket (1862)

This Commutation Style Jacket (1861)

This cooler weather dress

A cotton day dress

The artillery Richmond Type II jacket

This artillery mounted services jacket for the 150th Fort Frederick event
This entire 8th New York State National Guard uniform.

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