Dependants

Family is a vital part of the recreated Regiment of Riflemen.  There are many roles for women within the military community, such as wash woman, cook, servant, refugee, or even (if married to one) officer’s lady.

Each company in the regiment had four wash women, sometimes called laundresses.  These women received one ration of food a day as well as a liquor ration.  It was their job to wash and mend the soldiers’ clothing.  In exchange the women were paid 50¢ per man per month.  Each woman was assigned to seventeen men. Wash women were officially part of the military unit and as such subject to military rules and discipline.

If officially attached to the army, children drew a 1/2 ration per day. Children’s dress varied by age. For more information on children’s clothing visit Jessamyn’s Regency Companion: Children’s Clothes.

Please be sure to check with your individual unit for appropriate roles as some companies, in order to preserve historical accuracy, do not allow female members to portray typically male roles.

The following is strictly an opinion piece on historic dress:
While the patterns listed below may give you the appearance of historical attire, the selection of cloth and accessories can make the difference between a “costume” and being historically authentic. When selecting patterns and fabrics it is important to keep in mind both who you are trying to portray and where you are located. The wife of an East Coast merchant will be dressed very differently from the wife of a farmer in the Michigan or Indiana Territories, although both may have gowns cut from the same pattern.

It is the choice of fabric and accessories that makes your portrayal truly come alive. Many a well done kit has been marred by the selection of accessories. When choosing these items remember to ask yourself “would I have owned this in the time period”. If the answer is yes, be able to answer “why” and then “would I have worn/used it at the time being portrayed”. A cameo broach or pearl earrings are beautiful and appropriate at a ball, but look out of place worn in the middle of a military camp, especially if you are a soldier’s wife.

On a final note, nearly fifty years separate the end of the French and Indian War and the beginning of the War of 1812. The end of the Revolutionary war is nearly thirty years from the start of the War of 1812. Daily wear and tear on clothing makes it difficult, if not impossible, to justify clothing styles from these periods at an 1812 event. Things wore out and were replaced with the newest styles, even in the backwoods.

As with most things in life, the devil is in the details.

Description
Material Choices
Pattern Source
Shift: the basic undergarment which is worn closest to the skin.
White cotton, or (best choice) linen
Stockings: over the knee length
Single colored cotton or wool
Nearly any reenacting supplier

 

 

 

Stays: Regency era bra and support belt, necessary to achieve the correct silhouette of the period.
White or pale-colored, heavier cotton or linen
Bodiced Petticoat: may be made as an under garment (not to be seen) or worn as an outer garment with a shortgown. Petticoats may also be made in the usual manner with braces (suspenders) added to keep the petticoat at the raised empire waistline.
Any color, or striped cotton or linen. Try to stay away from patterns until you are very familiar with period correct prints. Historically correct prints are difficult to find.
Modesty Piece or Fichu: Used to fill the neckline of gowns. For day wear this item or a chemisette are the norm.
White linen or cotton
No pattern needed just an approximately 36 inch triangle of cloth hemmed on all sides.
Chemisette: Used to fill the neckline of gowns. For day wear this item or a modesty piece are the norm.
Fine, white linen or cotton
Shoes: Styles vary depending on useage. Shown are basic work type shoes. Ballet type flats are appropriate evening shoes.
Shoe choice is heavily dictated by who you are and where you are.
Many different options are available for shoes. Check with your unit for specific recommendations.
Cap: While a cap is not strictly necessary for this time period, most women wore some type of headcovering for day wear.
White linen or cotton

Kanniks Korner

Try on different styles to find one that flatters you.

The following are items which may be selected as your top most layer.
Short Gown: Worn over shift and petticoat. This is not constructed like the French and Indian or Revolutionary War short gowns. This item has the higher empire waistline. This is generally a working woman’s garment.
Any color, or striped cotton, linen or wool. Try to stay away from patterns until you are very familiar with period correct prints. Historically correct prints are difficult to find.
See Rural Pennsylvania Clothing by Ellen J. Gehretor Claudia Kidwell’s article in Dress from the Costume Society.
Day Dress: The classic empire waist gown. Think every Jane Austen movie ever made. To be worn over a shift and stays for the correct look. This gown is listed as an 1809 day dress. Please remember that gown is the correct term for anything we currently call a dress. It does not necessarily mean a fancy evening dress as it does in modern times.
Any color, or striped cotton, linen or wool. Try to stay away from patterns until you are very familiar with period correct prints. Historically correct prints are difficult to find.

For a good review of the patterns available see Jessmyn’s Regency Costume Companion.

Patterns are available from many different companies. Try Wm. Booth, Draper

Bib Front Gown: Another example of a day dress. This one fastens in front so that you can dress yourself. Again worn over a shift and stays
Any color, or striped cotton, linen or wool. Try to stay away from patterns until you are very familiar with period correct prints. Historically correct prints are difficult to find.
Front Closing Empire Gown: This gown was based on a garment in the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, Indiana Again worn over shift and stays. This gown is dated from 1796-1806.
Any color, or striped cotton, linen or wool. Try to stay away from patterns until you are very familiar with period correct prints. Historically correct prints are difficult to find.
Apron: Usually bib front. Waist once again at the fashionable empire level. May be worn over short gown petticoat combination or over a gown. As an apron this is a item for working in.
For cooking a wool apron is recommended as a safety precaution. 100% wool will only smolder and not burst into flames. For other uses linen or cotton are acceptable. Aprons came in many colors and in checks. You are not simply relegated to white for this item.
There is a pattern available from Regency Revisited. Currently a weblink is unavailable. They may be reached at regencyrevisited@cinergymetro.net
Outdoor Wear
Spencer Jacket: A short over coat.
Fabric choice varies depending on warmth requirements, and who you are trying to portray. Upper classes had more expensive fabrics. Wool is always a good choice.
Cloak: The most basic item for warmth
Fabric choice varies depending on warmth requirements, and who you are trying to portray. Upper classes had more expensive fabrics. Wool is always a good choice. Only the hood is lined.
Patterns are available from many different companies.
Redingote or Pelisse: A fitted coat.
Fabric choice varies depending on warmth requirements, and who you are trying to portray. Upper classes had more expensive fabrics. Wool is always a good choice.
Shawl
Knit or crochet shawls have not been documented to this time period. Fabric choice varies depending on warmth requirements, and who you are trying to portray. Upper classes had more expensive fabrics. Wool is always a good choice.
Many beautiful shawls are available commercially. Keep an eye out in local stores.
Bonnet
Material choice is only limited by who you are trying to portray.
Try on different styles to find one that flatters you. Check with your unit for specific recommendations

 

For an overview of more upper class clothing visit Introduction to Regency Dress

For a great selection of hints and tips for Regency dressing see Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

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