J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Dress at the Hive

Federal budget cuts mean that there won’t be a big battle and camp reenactment at Minute Man National Historical Park around Patriots Day this year. But there will be smaller events, especially on the town level, and it’s still valuable for reenactors to deliver an accurate period impression.

Once again, therefore, the Ladies of Refined Taste & Friends and Minute Man N.H.P. are offering free Hive workshops on Revolutionary War topics and artifacts for reenactors and other interested folks. I’m too late for the first, but the next two are scheduled for Sunday, 9 February, and Sunday, 2 March.

In addition, on Saturday, 8 February, there’s an advanced Hive workshop on sewing Revolutionary War knapsacks with Henry Cooke IV. On that day and Saturday, 8 March, there’s an advanced workshop on constructing an English gown with Hallie Larkin and Stephanie Smith.

In addition, Larkin & Smith have just issued a pattern for an eighteenth-century English dress for sale. Their webpage says, “This pattern is drafted from an original open front gown c 1760s-1770s. It has a stomacher front and robings, with a pleated enfourreau back.” If I’d been to more Hive sessions, I might know what that means!

The pattern comes with an impressive quantity of instructional material, including “variations for simple working and middling class gowns,” “20 pages of color plates,” a “pleating template,” and a “documentation card with details of the original.”

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