Helpful Hints for Clothing for the Revolutionary War Era

Southern California Resources

Dragon Marsh (951-276-1116)
3643 University Avenue, Riverside, California 92501
e-mail [email protected]
Your number one source for boning, casings, hoops & corset supplies.
Call for directions for FREE downtown parking.
Come see the new fabric vault.
We are now in the Historical Jackson Building.

Alter Years (626-614-9400; FAX 626-614-9499)
8960 E. Huntington Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91775

Abigail Gary
[email protected]

Sylvia Davis
Ladies Dressmaker

(562) 425-4946




We recommend buying them in this order, if cost is a factor for you. We've put the most useful books first. Also, try borrowing them from the library, or ask your librarian about "Inter Library Loan." Many are available via Inter Library Loan from university Drama Departments.

The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England - by John Styles (London, Yale University Press, 2007) 448 p., 6 1/2 x 9 1/2; 50 b/w + 50 color illus. ISBN: 9780300121193, ISBN-10: 0300121199; Approx.$50.00 + Postage

"Whatever Shall I Wear?: A Guide to Assembling a Woman's Basic 18th Century Wardrobe" - by Mara Riley ISBN 0963158-7-3; 2002; Graphics/Fine Arts Press (PO Box 321), Excelsior Springs, MO (64024); Approx. $12.95 + Postage

"Tidings from the 18th Century" - by Beth Gilgun
ISBN: 1880655047; Scurlock Pub Co. (903-832-4726), Second Edition, May 1993 (1st edition date). Do make sure you get the SECOND edition, green cover, vs. the first edition, blue cover. Approx. $27 + Postage

"Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1500-1800" - by Jean Hunnisett ISBN: 0887346103; Publisher: Players Press; (March 1991); Approx. $55 + Postage

"Costume Close Up : Clothing Construction and Pattern, 1750-1790" - by Linda Baumgarten ISBN: 0896762262; Costume and Fashion Press, January 4, 2000; Approx. $17 + Postage

"Fitting & Proper" - by Sharon Ann Burnston
ISBN: 1880655101; Scurlock Pub Co . (903-832-4726), March 1, 2000; Approx. $29 + Postage

"Costume in Detail : 1730-1930" - by Nancy Bradfield
ISBN: 0896762173; Quite Specific Media Group Ltd, November 1997; Approx. $24 + Postage

Bibliography of Costume Research by Fritz & Kathleen Kannick
Sorted by a variety of topics, including a list specifically for "newbies."


Wm. Booth Draper - Linen and Woolen Draper, Haberdasher &c. - A large an excellent assortment of linen checks and stripes, linen hollands, cords, diaper, and jeans, Scotch, Irish and flaxen ozenbrigs; Russia sheetings, Hessen, Russia and ravens duck, canvas; plains, serge, broadcloths, woolens, worsteds, white flannels, scarlet, drab, light and dark blue, brown, claret, garnet, sage, purple and pea green, coarse cloths; coloured threads, Scotch threads; wool doubled, and ready for knitting; mould, thread and wire shirt buttons; fashionable plated and brass buttons; Indian binding, white, and red, white twist, white tapes, colour'd silk ribbon, worsted braid, gold lace; scissors, bodkins, stilleto; brass, Pinchbeck, shoe and knee buckles, plain sleeve links; with a general assortment of other goods.

Revolutionary War Costuming -

Ghost Forge - Creators of historical re-enactment clothing costumes for men and women of the 18th century. We feature early colonial, French and Indian War and Revolutionary War clothing and accessories for the serious re-enactor.


Just Two Tailors - Fine 18th century clothing. Between them, Rick and Carol have nearly 30 years of experience researching and manufacturing 18th century clothing for the movie/film industry, museums, and living history re-enactors.


18thC New England - this site has everything you need to know to put together a basic woman's outfit for the RevWar, including tips on cold-weather dressing, info on men's and children's clothing, and accoutrements. It also includes links to quality suppliers and tips on how to do things cheap and quickly on a budget.

Shift Pattern -

Petticoat Pattern and Information -

Shortgowns and Bedgowns: Information, tips on patterns and resources -

Cap Patterns and Information -

Apron Pattern and Information -

Stays Information and Construction Tips -

What's Wrong with my (French/English) Bodice? -

Links to 18cWoman list's "Websites for 18thC Costuming" ­ A huge compendium of great costuming links

Helpful E-Lists

An "E-List" is a group of people who talk to each other via email about a particular topic. Free, easy, and so very very helpful!

RevWarCostuming: Just clothing, very good info, great group of folks -

18cWoman: Everything pertaining to 18thC women, huge group, really wonderful -

Glossary of Commonly Used Costuming Terms

This is a tough one. You're going to hear all kinds of words you've never heard before. Just know that it confuses all of us.

Glossary of Women's Clothing Terms from Colonial Williamsburg: Includes handy pix for illustration.

Dictionary of 18th Century Clothing Terms: From the Northwest Territorial Alliance

Glossary of 18th Century Costume Terminology: These are clothing terms, as well as fabric terms

Glossary of Textile Terms: A handy glossary to figure out what fabric terms mean.


Burnley and Trowbridge Fabrics and Patterns

The Recollections of J.P. Ryan -
Kannik's Korner (937-325-8385) -
Mill Farm (Call Burnley & Trowbridge, 757-253-1644) -
Period Impressions ­ Contact your favorite sutler, or -
Approved Commercial Pattern List by NWTA -

Fabric, Trim and Sewing Necessities
Linen at the best price ANYWHERE (888-546 3654) (3.5 oz good for shifts, higher weights good for petticoats, etc.)
Burnley & Trowbridge: (757-253-1644) Wool, linen canvas for stays, patterns, MORE! -
Wooded Hamlet Designs: (717-597-1782) Linen thread, silk ribbon, MORE! -
Carolina Calicoes: (276- 694-4065) Reproduction 18thC cottons, linens and wools. -

Historic Delights
Specializing in 18th century-style jewelry

Custom Made Jewelry
Janet Girard [email protected]

Ready-Made and Custom Clothing

Earthly Delights ~ music, dance and costumes Period Garments for Women, Men and Children
Art & Artifact: (800/231-6766)
G. Gedney Godwin: (610/783-0670; Fax: 610/783-6083) Specialists in 18th Century Military Reproductions
Smiling Fox Forge: (419-334-8180) Multi-department catalog -
Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc.: (574-594-5852; Fax: 574/594-5580) Multi-department catalog -
Smoke & Fire Company: (419 878-8535; 800-Smoke-Fi (766-5334);Fax: 419 878-3653) Catalog of Colonial, Scottish, and Medieval Clothing, Patterns, Books, Historic Camp Gear, & Period Accoutrements -
Vision Forum: (800-440-0022) Clothes for boys ­ CHEAP ­ Search on "colonial" -
Amazon Drygoods: 411 Brady Street, Davenport, IA, 52801-1518
For Questions: 563-322-4138
For Orders: 800-798-7979 (For the U.S. and Canada)

Fugawee: (800-749 0387) Reproduction shoes, stockings, and buckles -

Dirty Billy's Hats (410-775-1865) -

List of Traders sorted by item category:

RevList's Merchants List:

And a Quick Tutorial for a RevWar Uniform

1. Find a pattern. You may be able to go to your local fabric store. Butterick has one that may be useful: While this isn't a regimental, it does provide a civilian look appropriate for townsmen in the militia. Mc Call's used to have several patterns numbers
2257, 2258 or 2259 depending on your size. But they're all out of print, so you may have to search the internet (or elsewhere) at #2258 is under the costume patterns. Full price will be about $6.00 You can get them on sale for about $1.00. Also try

2. Fabrics are as as follows: for enlisted uniforms poplin is great, it is almost like the original canvas that was used for private soldiers. Officers, since they could afford better, used linen or wool but you will have a tough time finding solid colors in linen or wool. Percale bed sheets make great shirts - it is permanent press and costs about 4.00 a yard at Wal-mart and if you buy bedsheets it makes two shirts because it is 90" wide. Poplin usually runs about $5.00 a yard at any fabric store and comes in all the right bright

3. Buttons are a real problem, if you want authenticity, I suggest that you used either a pewter or brass flat button, but you could make your own. The soldiers had a button mold carried by one in their unit and made the buttons out of bullets, they made a button and sewed it on their uniforms when they needed to. If you have seen the movie "The Patriot" then you will remember the hero making bullets from his sons lead soldiers - buttons were made the same way.

4. The total cost for a uniform is about $100.00 you then can afford to buy a sewing machine and screw up about 6 times before you reach the price of a tailor made uniform.