Friday, October 26, 2012

At Day at Spring Mountain Ranch

At Spring Mountain Ranch
Photo by Lisa Coffey

This morning I put on my 1860's layers and headed out to Spring Mountain Ranch, which is here in Vegas, and right next to Red Rock Canyon. Today is Nevada Day (Nevada was admitted to the Union October 31st, 1864 - "Battle Born") and this weekend is the Civil War reenactment put on by the Southern Nevada Living History Association.

A view from Spring Mountain Ranch

Today was kind of a prelude to the weekend, which was awesome for me because I have never been to a reenactment before. Kind of an introduction for me. Today, lots of school kids and homeschoolers came out and there were presentations with cavalry horses, cannons, artillery and we civilians. It was such a blast. I especially love all the little girls who have endless questions about our outfits. I totally relate!

Stables across the pasture - ahem -  I mean, battlefield.
There was a cow mooing away!

I chose to wear my yellow cotton 1860's dress. Under it I had all the bits: stockings, knit garters, boots (Robert Land), original pantalettes and chemise, corset, three petticoats, a 108" hoop (Originals by Kay) and organdy undersleeves (remade from these originals). I also wore a pocket, which I reached through a convenient slit in my skirt (perfect for iphone!). One thing I was missing was a corset cover, which I just didn't get around to making yet. Next on my list!

To accessorize, I wore an antique brooch, belt buckle pin and watch chain. I found a nice little pocket watch for it on Amazon. The baste in collar is a beautiful white work piece I found for only $5 at an antique store! What luck!! The belt is brown silk over buckram lined with cotton. There are great directions for making a belt in Elizabeth Stewart Clark's Dressmaker's Guide. I also switched out my modern wedding rings for a plain "gold" one I found on Amazon. It looked great for being so cheap! I had taupe leather gloves, too, but they're in my pocket for the picture. 

Accessories! Undersleeves, hankie, belt, buckle pin, brooch, ring,
watch and chain, straw hat and hat pin.

All the jewelry is antique except for the watch. I think it
 is more common to wear the buckle vertically, though I
have seen a few CDV's with it worn horizontally.

Antique store steal! A whitework collar, basted in.

Robert Land side-lacing boots.

The batiste handkerchief I made has a wavy hem, much like the ones mentioned in Juanita Leisch's book, Who Wore What?: Women's Wear, 1861 - 1865. Apparently a fancy shaped hem gave ladies the opportunity to show off their fabulous narrow hemming skills.

I chose to wear a sun hat (it's bright here!), which I bought from Abraham's Lady. I took off the black cloth ribbon that came with it and replaced it with a brown silk satin one from MJ Trimming.

Shady face! The hat works just as
good as sun glasses!

And a sneaky modern cheater tip...

I always wear Shellac for my manicure. It's a gel that goes on like a nail polish, but it cures under a light. It lasts for like two weeks, which is great, but it's very time consuming to remove, just to dress up.  So I discovered this great polish: Essie's "Matte About You." It's a matte nail polish, so I put a coat over the gel and the shine is gone. At a casual glance, it looks like you have natural, costume friendly nails. Then just a quick wipe of non-acetone takes it off and I'm back to the 21st century!

Essie's "Matte About You" nail polish


  1. Clever you with the nails! :) You look lovely!

  2. I've been using a buffer, or something like that, for my nails. Lovely costume!

    1. I prefer to buff, but it's hard with the gel to take it off

  3. What a lovely 1860s dress. Your accessories are wonderful as well. It is clear that you put thoughtful consideration into them.


    1. Thank you! The accessories are my favorite part!

  4. Beautiful dress. I'm searching for something like it now. I'm not a seamstress, wish I had your skills.