Monday, November 5, 2018

Northwest Pirate Festival July 2019: Quick and Dirty Men's Garb

It's November and the last thing you're thinking of is new garb, right?  I mean, we're just trying to muddle through mid-term elections without completely alienating friends and some relatives, or we're saving our pennies for Turkey day and Christmas!  But - Trust me, the early bird gets the worm!

If you're planning to commission work - - DO IT NOW! - If you plan on hiring someone (preferably one who has knowledge about historical clothing and the styles for EACH time period), I am confident she/he will be grateful that we schooled ya on starting early.  Please...please...please do NOT wait until June to start trying to commission new pieces! For quality work, you WANT to give your seamstress time.

You gents are lucky because there ARE reasonable ready-made sources for you! - And I've included the info and link in this blog.

If you're a DIYer nothing is worse than tackling a NEW era that you have never tried before. What fabrics?  What pattern? What colors? All these can be a bit overwhelming. Give yourself a head start. I know it's often the Cospay way for many to wait until a couple of weeks before an event and then live on RedBull and 5-hour-Energy and no sleep. But be kind to yourself.

So, for those who have NO FREAKING IDEA what to wear for the new Northwest Pirate Festival - - We are here to give ya a boost. Guess what?  Guys have an advantage over the women because they don't have to start from scratch!  You can still wear your shirt and your breeks (britches).  I am going to give you some suggestions on how to use MOST of your Renfaire garb and just add a couple of pieces to move you forward into the 18th Century.

The theme for this new Northwest Pirate Festival is 1719 - Golden Age of Piracy.  Think "Black Sails" for inspiration. This is the 18th Century - - NOT the 16th Century (1570s) like we portray at Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire and Oregon Renaissance Faire. We will be portraying a port town. Most of you will be portraying villagers and merchants. Come on now - - not everyone would be a pirate! Use your imagination!

While Black Sails would probably be closer to our theme - the clothing is not altogether accurate (if you care about that kind of thing).  So long as you stay away from the Halloween or Party City version of pirates - with the striped pants and black eye patch you're on the right page.

PIECES TO ADD:  Waistcoats!


The Outlander time period begins at 1743. It's about 20 years later than our time period of 1719 - however, men's clothing from the 18th Century period really didn't change all that drastically - with the exception of the Frock Coat. So much of the clothing from the First Season of Outlander is easily reproduced with commercial patterns.

Minus the plaid, this waistcoat (vest) is a PERFECT addition to your reenactment wardrobe.


You can purchase this historically inspired pattern at your local JoAnns - or snatch it up online.
Minus the kilt, the waistcoat, overcoat, and men's shirt and cravat (neck tie) are spot on for villagers and merchants among both the working and middle class.



If you have either of these patterns below in your stash, or would like to add them they are still in print and are also quick and dirty (i.e., fairly easy) costumes to reproduce:

The coat in this Butterick pattern above (left) is MUCH much later in the 18th Century, but the waistcoat, shirt, and britches are passable for pretty much any time in the 18th Century.

NEXT. . . Of course this Simplicity pattern is the quintessential costume everyone wants. But - - Skip the dredlocks, head kerchief and all the waist scarves and this pattern is actually very good.

The flap front britches are exceptionally good for a commercial pattern. They will take a bit more skill to accomplish, but are a good reproduction overall for the quick and dirty category.


Stick to LINEN or WOOL fabrics boys!  Stay away from bright brocades, polyester, and upholstery fabrics. You are not portraying an 18th Century Macaroni (word for fop), but more importantly this faire will be in July and upholstery weight or polyester fabrics will make you sweat WORSE. You are the salt of the earth - Villagers, sailors, and yes. . . pirates, so go with earth tones and earthy natural fabrics.

A great resource for linen and wool fabrics, which I use exclusively are found in the links below:


Linen is a FAR superior fabric than cotton. Trust me! If cared for properly - and by that I mean NEVER, ever machine wash, use bleach or bleach for colors, fabric softeners or harsh detergents and never machine dry, your garb will last years longer than cotton. I recommend OxyClean in warm water - not hot.

7.1 oz or Heavy weight:

Heavy weight is good for frock coats and jackets.

5.3 oz or Middle weight:

Middle weight is great for britches and waistcoats and britches.


Wool Gaberdine is best. Coating wool will be far too thick.


2.8 oz or Handkerchief weight Linen.  This "Optic White" 100% linen has a very nice hand. The weave is a bit tighter than the "Bleached" version and makes wonderful shirts and neck ties.

For those who cannot DIY - or mayhaps need something more economical than having a customized, tailored piece Jas. Townsend can hook you up!




Next piece to add:

A necktie!  But wait!  - Neckwear for the 18th Century were not the same as your grandpa's neck ties! 


Here is a link to a video that will educate you on 18th Century neckware:

You can purchase neckerchiefs through Jas. Townsend or make your own!

For our time period at the Northwest Pirate Festival, this particular neckerchief is a standad - but they are made of silk which might not be practical:

Neckwear for this time period were not just limited to white!!  Here is a beautiful print in cotton:


Burnley and Trowbridge have some gorgeous neckerchiefs. You can fold them up and use them as a men's kerchief like seen in these following picture:

They are also great for women's neckerchiefs:

They are 36 x 36 inches, but if you find some smaller cotton kerchiefs you can wear those as well.  Stay away from the "bandannas" you see used in Westerns.


So there you have it guys. With just a couple of additions you can take your Renfaire garb forward to the 18th Century!

Questions?  Commissions?

Find us on Etsy!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice Blog! What a perfect event to flaunt your bespoke shirt & custom made overcoats! Sadly, this year’s event has already passed. I would love to be part of this event next year.