Weather Tips ‘N Tricks (Women)

One of the most important parts of a reenactment is being comfortable. You can be warm and comfortable and still remain authentically dressed (ie. no Under Armor or long johns). In fact, if you have the right clothing you can actually be MORE comfortable while remaining true to the time period. Below is a list of items that can be acquired or made to make your experience more enjoyable in all sorts of weather.

This is not an all inclusive list. There are other options such as a calash or pattens that have purposefully been left off this list due to price or the fact that the item does not work for our lowly persona.

Rain

Cold/Snow

* There is no need to hand quilt a waistcoat and petticoat in order to have a quilted waistcoat and petticoat. You can buy a quilt and cut as needed for the pattern. Things to look for in a quilt:

  • Fiber – Try to find a quilt made out of all natural fibers, including the filling. Linen and cotton are best. Silk is ok too, but a 100% silk quilt is going to cost you a pretty penny.
  • Fabric pattern – Stick with solid colors (there are plenty of white quilts out there!) Avoid prints or stripes.
  • Quilting pattern – This is trickier but try to find a quilting pattern that isn’t blatantly out of place. Simple is good. The best is a small diamond pattern (actually seen on 18th century petticoats) but that can be hard to find.

My quilted waistcoat and petticoat were made using Pottery Barn’s Hanna quilt and sham. One standard sham was enough to make a waistcoat and the twin size quilt was enough for the petticoat. The fabric is linen/cotton and the batting is 100% cotton. The quilting pattern is relatively simple and doesn’t scream modern.

Three more things to keep in mind:

  • Hem your petticoat a little on the high side (high ankle height). A soaking wet quilt becomes heavy and uncomfortably wet. You don’t want it constantly touching the ground soaking up the snow.
  • If having a quilt wrapped you from the waist down seems too bulky, you can add a panel of simple linen or wool at the top of the petticoat to reduce bulk around the waist. (Eg: the pink/red petticoat on this page.)
  • Quilted waistcoats are worn UNDER your gown/jacket/bedgown. If your waistcoat is form fitting enough, and your gown has a little give, this should be no problem. Sleeveless clothing items were NOT work as outergarments and this waistcoat is no exception.