At this time, I wish to pipe in.
Are the people who work at the sites re-enactors? - most likely not.
This is a summer job for most students, a government grant summer job.
Whether or not clothing is made correctly is of little consequence to
them. After a shift, I have seen clothes mushed into a pile in the
corner, left until the next work day, a rip or tear left or pinned up
and not repaired. I am sure this happens at sites in your area as well.
I have seen clothing after one season look little like what it started
out to be - worn, dirty, ripped, torn and neglected. By far the girls
are worse culprits than the fellas. Most sites, do have a specific
"time zone" for what they portray, and yes some have better clothing
Many of the students who I have dealt with, have little regard for the
"job" other than that - a job. So site clothing must be made the look
the part on the outside, but easily made to accommodate the sizes and
shapes of the many students who go through each season.
There is not a huge amount of $$$ for clothing budgets to be made each
year, and as site money dwindles, many sites do repair and try to reuse
what there before going out and making more. That being said, there are
also wonderful students who go far beyond what a site expects as well.
Some of the students/employees who do care, will make their own
clothing, researching and sewing their own outfit to have - this becomes
ownership for ones own research, which in some cases transfers to
re-enacting and historic accountability.
As re-enactors, we are the ones who want to make the right informed
choices - this is great hobby, for some a lifestyle and for some a
recreation. Therein falls the level of commitment. For me, I strive to
"get it right" the first time, and then with research and learning more
"get it righter" as I learn more.
With the comments about the cost to get involved, very interesting.
When we first started .....years ago. We had two young sons, and
ourselves to prepare for. We learned how to make many things as $$$
were of consequence, save money to purchase the other things, trade and
barter with others as another way to complete kit. With having the
incredible drive to any events further stretched our "hobby" $$$, we
made informed choices and were selective in them.
We also learned very quickly to "make it right the first time" as the
time, energy and again $$$ became a factor. Out code was - wool, linen,
silk, and in a pinch cotton. We read, researched, read, researched and
then read some more. Over the years we have made more than seven
coatees (as our sons grew and their elbows stretched long past the
sleeves), numerous greatcoats, trowsers, shirts, day caps, bedgowns,
workdresses, capes, hats, cloaks etc., This was for more than just the
1812 as we are involved with other time periods as well.
So with the talk about historic accuracy, it is a dismal time and place
when one travels so far to the cradle of 1812 and sees the blatant
disregard for correct costume interpretation. As time draws nearer to
2012 - the matter of accuracy should be on everyones mind - not how can
I play with less or little effort.
Yes, there are officers who do it right, and again many who do it not.
Not everyone has the wish or aspires that rank, if you wish to portray
it - then do it properly. If you wish to be a private, then please do
that right as well. We should be looking at honouring the men and women
of that time period with our best interpretation, not making a mockery
with little or no regard to their history.
Yours in history
Your humble and sometimes obedient servant