Fort de Chartres Rendezvous 2015

My family and I had a busy and fun time this past weekend doing some historical re-enacting at the 45th annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous in Prarie Du Rocher, Illinois.  This “rendezvous” is a re-creation of the traditional French fur trapper’s holiday of the 18th century, chock full of old-time artisans, trades, crafts, food, music, and events.  This event is touted to be the oldest and largest of its kind in the United States.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot but just warm enough to make the lines for the cold lemonade and sarsaparilla beer quite long 🙂  The ground was luckily dry, too, which is surprising because the fort is in a flood plain, originally built only 300 yards from the Mississippi river (so close actually that in the 1700’s the back half of the fort fell into the river).

100_5315a-compA wooden fort was built here by the French in 1720, but the stone fort came in the 1750’s.  The walls are unfortunately not original but were rebuilt up in the 1920’s and 30’s, from rubble leftover from decades of flooding and vandals, as part of Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration.

Butterick 3485My reticule (or purse) was made by me maybe 10 or so years ago.  I was lucky to find a plaid muslin cotton that almost exactly matches my dress fabric.  I’m not 100% sure but I believe I used Butterick 3485, view E, an out-of-print “Making History” pattern.  I know most of these purse patterns are more mid/late 1800’s, but view E, without the drapery around it, is exactly similar to regency reticule patterns – just a basic circle, lined in another circle, with a drawcord pull closure and a fancy bead and tassel hanging down.

Regency purse combo pics-open inside and closedMost of the rest our clothes were made by small businesses which we know and that specialize in authentic clothing in correct materials and methods.

As you can see below, I went as an early 1800’s lady.  My dress and hat was made by Marquette Trading Company.  (I’ve bought many hats from her company – I can’t help myself they’re so nice – hats are definitely my weakness.)  My shawl is something I had on hand, and the closure pin came from a craftsman.  My gloves a vintage crochet lace.  Altogether I felt quite comfy, actually, but classy.

100_5301a-compMy tight regency curls wilted down in the heat.  This page helps me keep the “regency lady” terms page straight in my head.  In the background behind me to the left is the powder magazine building, considered by many to be the oldest building in Illinois.

100_5303a-compHubby was a 1700’s colonial gentleman.  His outfit of the chemise/shirt, the heavy canvas  vest, knee length breeches, pouch bag, and socks were made by the Flying Canoe Traders (from Quebec, Canada).  His fancy cravat came from the Marquette Trading Company and his shoes are modern reproductions with the proper buckle tops.  Phooey – he forgot to wear the tricorne hat I made from a wool blank about 20 years ago when my parents and I first started going to re-enactments.

100_5300a-compNow I’m tempted to get into making the handful of historical sewing projects I have on my “back burner” – like a complete set of shirt, trousers, and vest to suit hubby like a fancy 1812 gentleman, or for myself a white eyelet evening dress in 1812 style and even a complete set (mine isn’t complete) of proper 1800-era underpinnings.


There were Scottish Highlanders with their bagpipes.


Here’s the French Division .


Let’s not forget the Indians!

We even met another local blogger, Carol of Jardin Potager – French Kitchen Garden
As the phrase goes, “you meet the nicest people at the rendezvous”…it’s true!