Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Costumes and Clothing

This is a great website for putting together your own presentation, re-enacting costume, or skit and can be found at

Resources for Costumes and Supplies Books and Resources Buttons
Costs Fabrics Hair
Hats and Bonnets Hems Lace
Sewing Shoes & Stockings Underwear

Where to find costumes and supplies

Antique malls and stores often have old clothing, hats, feathers and sewing supplies (like trims and buttons) for costumes. On buying old clothing- Much of it is very fragile and cannot be replaced.

Handle it as little as possible and if you buy it, don’t wear it. The oils from your fingers help to deteriorate fabric, books, and everything else. If it is in very good shape and you just must wear the old clothes put on long sleeve T-shirts underneath and handkerchiefs under hats so that your body oils don’t touch them. Store away from the light and in acid free paper (available at some museums). Also do not leave pins in the fabric as they can rust and leave stains and holes. Do not leave old clothes hanging on a wood or metal hanger as it puts undue strain on the shoulders and can leave stains. Instead lay them as flat as possible in a box and wrap them in acid free paper and store in a dry place.

I make all of my costumes because it is too hard to find old clothes from the time periods. Also old clothing is too delicate and doesn’t neccessarily fit. Costumes for girls’ school projects can be simple drawstring long skirts. Add a triange of fabric for a shawl and a costume is started. DO NOT UNDER PAIN OF DEATH wear an OLD PROM DRESS! NIX! A POX on the idea! They are never historically accurate, people in the know will laugh at you behind your back. People who don’t know any better will laugh at you behind your back also. For fancier costumes either use patterns from Amazon (address is at the bottom of this page) or Past Patterns (available from Amazon), or buy costumes from other reproduction companies.

Reproduction clothing catalogues can be found by looking through advertising in the sewing magazines or Civil War magazines that are available at the larger magazine/book stores. A friend of mine was able to rent a Civil War costume from a costume shop for a reenactment. Sometimes costumes in costume shops are for sale.

Women’s History ALIVE!
Sandra R. Hansen

1 (616) 396-5772

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