Saturday, November 22, 2014
The Continental Army kit has been languishing for awhile. Most of the gear is still acceptable, but upgrades are in order. While doing research for the winter march in January, a favorite subject reappeared.
The classic late 18th-century waistcoat has tails and pocket flaps. Both tend to get hung up in regimental coats and stand up in an unmilitary fashion. Overalls, trousers, and breeches ride low on the hips, and a gap can form where the shirt peeks out, especially if the waistcoat is too short.
A belt that buttons the tailless vest to the pants would seem a (vaguely French) improvement. It uses less cloth as well. Time to apply drunk tailoring skills to a belted waistcoat.
Monday, November 3, 2014
A quick scan of surviving 19th-century cloth mittens shows the seams on the outside. It may look better inside out, but it isn't as comfortable (and these things are hella comfy, y'all.) The separate cuff piece can still be added if they are too short, but with stocking sleeves rolled down over them it's like a wool space suit.
Here is the spatterdash toe back-stitched, with the raw edge whipped to the body. The buttonhole edge is turned under and clipped to fit the curve. There is a surviving 18th-century civilian gaiter with linen lining the toe and along the bottom inside edge. Add if desired.
Last, the kettle bag gets a tube over hemp cord to act as a draw string. The side and bottom pieces have their seams pressed open, and the raw edges are whip-stitched to the body. Remember this stitch when we start the unlined linen coat in the future.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Sewn wool flannel mittens were considered an expedient at first, but found to be more durable by the British military. The knit one is 12" long (!!!??) Ten inches will probably work. Square off the cuff unless you're feeling fancy. Make a fitting pattern first.
Fifth Foot Captain Bennett Cuthbertson recommends in A System for the Compleat Interior Management and Economy of Battalion of Infantry, marking linens with a mixture of vermillion and nut oil. Since cinnabar (HgS) is toxic, this seems like a good substitute.
Fold it into some walnut oil with a palette knife until the paste stands up by itself. Thin with turpentine or mineral spirits. Use a nice period typeface. Initials, company, and regimental markings are good for starters. Oil paint can take weeks to dry depending on the environment. Adding drying agents and heat can speed the process. More information on markings can be found here, buy all of these immediately.