Recreating history accurately can be difficult. You can start by dressing for the occasion.
My young eyes were introduced to the world of tailoring and living history at the age of five. While at the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, Connecticut, I was awestruck by the colourful and handsome uniforms worn by so many of the reenactors. It was at this point that I wanted to go home and become famous, like Nathan Hale himself, so I could wear clothing like that every day.
Of course, that never happened. I took up some hobbies such as needlepoint, and such over the years, but it wasn’t until 8 years later that I would take my first steps towards becoming a historic tailor. I entered a fife and drum corps that had been formed at my school, and several years later, began reenacting with the 5th Alabama Field Music. During these years, I learned to make shirts for use with both corps.
Finally, I was introduced to the citizen’s side of living history, by my good friend Megan Clark, a wonderful milliner and dress maker. I of course had absolutely nothing to wear, so hastily bought several yards of a cheap polyester wool blend, and a frock coat pattern, and made myself a poor excuse of a frock coat and trousers.
At the time, I thought they were wonderful, but I gradually started learning more about men’s clothing, and becoming aware of the inaccuracies of my own. Poking around the sutler’s tents at Cedar Creek one year, I came across The Handbook of Practical Cutting, by Louis Devere. This is what unlocked the doors to the world of tailoring for me. Later that year, I drafted a paletot, waistcoat, and trousers from his system, and was delighted with the results.
From that year on, I’ve been furthering my study of men’s garments of the period, both by studying originals wherever they can be found, and reading period tailors manuals. It became clear to me that there was a need for accurate clothing in the citizens world. Too many shortcuts and inaccuracies were found in the vast majority of reproductions, such as the lack of chest canvas, no pad stitching in collars, and too much use of the sewing machine. Especially on buttonholes.
In 2008, I decided make my hobby into a business, and formed Williams Clothiers, LLC. My first task was a large one, making two dozen bespoke Federal Enlisted Frock coats and trousers for Connecticut Valley Field Music. During the process, I was able to perfect my fitting process, stitches, construction steps, ironwork, and more. I learned something new with each coat I made, and I endeavored to make each one better than the last.
The love and care I put into each one of those coats is carried on today with what I can make for you. If you are looking for an extremely well-crafted garment for your living history needs, you have come to the right place. I invite you to contact me, and set up an appointment for a fitting today.
Williams Clothiers, LLC