Fort Erie – My very first reenactment!

Just Sundry:

So I decided to do a post that does not center around sewing. We’ll see how this goes…

This past weekend was my very first reenactment ever. I went to the siege of Fort Erie with my unit of the 60th Royal Americans. I was not hauling a gun around all day or wearing an entire sheep (thank God) in my role as "camp follower" but I had an amazing time. I really didn’t know what to expect having never been to one of these events save for as a tourist. I spent the week before sewing the last few pieces of my costume and attempting to pack intelligently. I was mostly successful in both instances and I’ve learned more about what I need to be prepared for these types of events.

Another member of my group, Jen, generously drove me part of the way there and back but first I had to take the train to her location! In total fort erie was about 8 hours from Ottawa. Obviously if I want to continue with this hobby a car is an absolute necessity. I made it work this time but I wouldn’t be able to take the train again if I brought any more stuff. Wool blankets do not pack well.

Before the event I was wondering what exactly I would be doing with myself. I discovered that the answer is: not much. There was plenty of lazing around which I thoroughlyenjoyed. I did get to do some really cool stuff. I got to fire a musket and I learned that they’re much more delicate and require fairly precise movements in order to avoid a misfire. Also: they’re heavy. Gunpowder smoke is smelly. Sleeping right on the grass is no big deal in good weather (for some reason my camping experiences always stressed having a groundsheet). I got to meet a couple of costumers I’ve been reading about online. Hi  and  ! It’s totally mind-twisting meeting internet people in person.

So, cooking… Didn’t do any of that but I’d like to do so in the future I think. After seeing the massive amounts of cast iron cooking pots and fire paraphernalia I think there’s a better way so:

-I need to acquire a tin pot. Tin is much lighter than cast iron.
-I need to learn to chop my own wood. Serious disadvantage when tending the fire.
-Some planning an baking ahead of time would be necessary to make this work
-Breakfasts should be excluded from this plan. Waiting for a fire to build up in the morning takes far, far to long. Especially for non-morning persons like myself

Taking a minimalist approach to cooking is definitely advantageous. It’s easier to cart the stuff around and overall should make the task simpler. It also fits in well with the campaign-style impression that my group maintains.

I was super comfortable in costume which for some reason surprised me. I really should be surprised by this because obviously I should enjoy hanging out in costume! There are a couple of things I want to fix though. The first is to wire the brim of the hat. It’s much to floppy while being worn. As well my petticoat is too heavy for the outfit. It was only a temporary solution but I’d like to correct that before my next wearing. The stays are… complicated. They would be fine if I was sitting upright in a chair with back support but for lounging on the ground and stuff there really were not. I’m going to make a new pair using the Daffodown Dilly short stays pattern. I did a mockup last night and not surprisingly it will take a lot of work to make this pattern fit me properly. I think a shorter busk like this example should help a lot.

All in a fabulous event. I had fun learned a lot and I want to do it again!

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