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Time Periods => The American Civil War => Topic started by: wtbacwr on March 21, 2007, 12:56:58 pm

Title: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: wtbacwr on March 21, 2007, 12:56:58 pm
 My name is Kayla, I am 17 years old, and I live in Missouri. I was wondering if anyone could give me more information about getting started in reenacting? I was also wondering what roles I could portray?
Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: Faye on March 21, 2007, 05:05:26 pm
Dear Kayla:

    You should first fiind a unit that includes members who do civilian impressions. Because of your age, you would have to be "traveling with your family".  You could be a young woman from a large city, small town, or farm.  It's best to develop a persona that you might have some familiarity with.  I.E., if you grew up in St. Louis, in a large Irish Catholic family (I mean in the 21st century), you would not be very familiar with life on a farm in either century.  Attend an event and talk to other young women who are reenactors, to give you some pointers.  Do some background reading on women's roles in the 19th century, and how to "fill in" your background.  In this hobby you never stop learning.

     Good luck!  Reenacting is a great hobby and I have been doing it for 15 years - with a hiatus of about 18 months due to loosing everything in Hurricane Katrina.   Due to the kindness of a friend, I was able to participate in the Battle of New Orleans event (War of 1812). 

P.S.  DO NOT USE GONE WITH THE WIND - this book has NOTHING to do with what life was like in the Deep South, or in the way young women behaved in the 19th century.  There are many excellent resources out there.

Faye Dufour
Title: Re: Thank You
Post by: wtbacwr on March 21, 2007, 10:22:36 pm
Thank you very much for the advice, it was very helpful. Thanks again, Kayla
Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: tleve on March 22, 2007, 05:20:25 pm
there are a few websites that can help you to here are a few ( they are about cheap ways to make outfits , what your role as a women would have been and stuff ) /suesgoodco/newcivilians OR .

When i started reenacting , i took things that are part of my 21st century life and add it to my 1860's life .

good luck
Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: Faye on March 23, 2007, 02:17:28 pm
I found this website with a great selection of books on Women of the American Civil War.  Go to the link   This gives several books that can fill you in on the lives of women during this period.

For help in "dressing the part", I also suggest Who Wore What? by Juanita Lesch.  She has pages of period photos, describing how the clothing showed the woman's age, wealth, and position in life.  Another book of hers that I found valuable was A Guide to Civil War Civilians, to give an idea of "life on the home front".  Things a person would have been familiar with and spoken about, such as your community, was it large or smal, what business was your father in, what church would you have been a member of. 

Good luck.

Title: Thanks again.
Post by: wtbacwr on March 23, 2007, 05:37:53 pm
Thanks again, for taking the time to help me out. I really appreciate it.
Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: Sharps_Lady on April 11, 2007, 09:15:06 pm
if your intrested in doing a soldier impression, look for a unit that will let you as long as your willing to hide any long hair in your cap and bind your chest if nesscary.  Some groups are die hard sticklers won't let you, I'm looking to join a unit to do both as a traditional Ladies role and also a soldier's role preferably in a USSC (United States Sharpshooter Company)  But getting a Unit to respond to a female that wants to carry a gun, is like pulling teeth.  Ohh well, their loss!

Title: Re: Thanks again.
Post by: Raevon on September 13, 2007, 08:46:13 pm
Thanks again, for taking the time to help me out. I really appreciate it.

You can always go to my website (yes, shameless plug)  The ladies that began this site, Angela Dodge and myself have reenacting for more than 35 combined years.  We have been through the farb years and the Gone With the Wind years.  LOL 

A few other books that you should check out are not only "Who Wore What" but also "Dressed for the Photographer", Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion 2".   I am trying to think of some other ones but I can't right now. 

Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: kala83 on October 04, 2007, 09:38:52 am
Hello Kayla *wave* ;D I am pretty much in the same boat as you I would really like to get involved in doing a Civil War ladies roles...pereferably a southern women's role.  lol well I think we can both safely say there is quite a lot of info to get us started on outfits, and I can't recall just whom it was but I know that some of the major Pattern companies like Simplicty, McCalls or maybe some one else has put out some pretty decent patterns for Civil War era outfits. So keep an eye out for when Joann's has a sale on patterns they are pretty nice and if you are still in High School or College like I am then using something that will not cost quite so much will be very nice for you I am sure.
lol oh and by the way I didn't mention I am from Missouri as well! Also I remember Faye mentioning something about finding a unit that allowed civilian impressions. Thats all good and fine for finding out such info...but can anyone tell us how abouts do we find a unit that does something like that? are there any places online that have listing of units in Missouri that we can check out.
Well anywa Kayla I hope I get to see you at some point in the near future, and wish you loads of luck with finding a unit and with you costume. I am about 23 I am assuming I can probably wear something a bit more adult like to extent right?
Title: Re: I would like to become a Civil War reenactor.
Post by: Miss Melly on October 22, 2007, 11:37:49 am
Hello Miss Kayla,
It always makes me so happy to see young reenactors. My son is 17 and very much into Civil War reenacting. He developed an interest in the war in 4th grade.  I am protrayed as his widowed mother following him in the civiilian camp.
If you can find a local event it's a good place to start. Ask one of the ladies to show you "all" of her dress. A proper lady never shows her underpinnings in public. I was amazed the first time I actually saw all the layers ladies wore. The biggest rule I can say is get a corset that fits. No dress looks correct without it.
I would go with Past Patterns or any of the sutler sold patterns. I have had good luck with Galla Rock Patterns and Octagon Ladies patterns. Abraham's Lady sells patterns and very nice garments on their website. I started with ebay dresses, just research the seller! NEVER buy a dress "Scarlett" wore. She's the ultimate farb. In my unit we will loan out dresses to new ladies.
I use the book "Who Wore What" a lot. We all have made mistakes starting out ( I have pictures!). Hang in there, study the dresses and by all means ask LOTS of questions.