This was my original plan for Halloween... had everything made/bought/put together around the middle of October. But that was before I went to see Flyboys
and fell head-over-heels for the ultra sexiness of Reed Cassidy. I just realized the other day that I still needed to take some pictures of my early 19th century stuff.A Bit of Historical Background
This particular outfit was inspired by Cuthbert Grant (i39.photobucket.com/albums/e17…
, who was an early 19th century Métis leader. The Métis, for the record, were a distinctive culture that emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of unions between European traders and First Nations women. Grant was of Scottish and Cree/Assiniboine descent and he led the North-West Company faction in their ‘war’ against the Hudson’s Bay Company - both were big fur-trading companies and each sought to secure a monopoly over the region, resulting in all sorts of unsavory methods of control. The directors of the NWCo recognized Grant’s influence with the Métis and appointed him ‘Captain General of All Half-Breeds’ (as they were stereotypically called back then), hoping to use the considerable skills of the Métis hunters in their struggle against the HBC. Things came to a head in 1816 when Grant and his men had a run-in with HBC colonists at Seven Oaks, just north of the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. It’s been called a ‘battle’ by the history books, but it was really more of a skirmish – most of the settlers were killed and Grant had to prevent his men from doing further damage to the survivors. He eventually ended up founding a settlement for the Métis at White Horse Plains (twelve miles west of Winnipeg). I went there this summer and took a few pictures – it was amazing - beat the pants off of Quebec City for the amount of perceptible history. When I was walking past the location of Grant’s house, I swear I would have seen him strolling along behind me if I turned around.The Clothing
I used Butterick’s Making History
#3648 for the coat and had amazing luck with it – no alterations, no fitting issues. It’s made of black melton wool and lined with gray cotton broadcloth.
The waistcoat is actually 1780s and borrowed from my Dinner Jacket outfit of that period since I haven’t had the time to make a proper early 19th century version. The Métis were profoundly good at using what they had available and there’s absolutely nothing to indicate that Grant wouldn’t have rifled through his late father’s belongings and found this.
The breeches are actually my regular riding breeches (God, the more I write this, the more I feel like a hack…) since, like the waistcoat, I didn’t have the time to make a proper period pair. However, in complete accordance with early 19th century fashions, they are appropriately skin-tight.
The leggings, or mitasses
, are made from standard cow-hide. I bought the strips of beads and stitched them on (my beadwork is a bit underdeveloped at this stage…)
The hat was really a fluke – I found it when I was wig-shopping and it looked so perfect, I couldn’t resist. My mum trimmed the wig for me since it was kind of long at first. The sash was bought a year ago from the Métis Resource Center in Winnipeg – I actually use it regularly for a scarf.