By Way of Introduction
From the very first reenactment I attended back in 1974, I knew I was caught hook, line, and sinker. After all, it offered everything I could possibly want – historical romance, hundreds of single young men, and a chance to play dress-up. I was a born again reenactor!
For the next ten years I spent every weekend from early spring to mid-fall in pursuit of a hobby that made most of my non-reenactor contemporaries think that I was either foolish or just plain nuts. I endured tent camping, bad food, port-a-potties, endless road trips, and cars that never got completely unpacked before they were repacked for the next event. I would have agreed that this behavior was a bit strange if I had been alone in its practice. But, of course, I wasn’t alone. I was part of a movement. A movement that not only has lasted more than 40 years but has out-grown the borders of our own great country and spilled over into Canada, Europe, and even Australia and Japan. I made lifelong friends and learned more about the history of this country than was ever taught in the public school classroom. I met and married my best friend, and together we created a prize-winning daughter.
During the long Illinois winters I planned for the spring when we would once again meet with our dear friends at familiar old haunts, and new ones, that eagerly anticipated our special brand of entertainment. My old Kenmore sewing machine whirred long into the nights as I created uniforms and kepis for our artillery battery and dresses for others and myself.
From the beginning of my experience as a reenactor it was my extreme good fortune to know some of the best and most talented ladies ever to have graced the living history stage. Through the generosity of such wonderful people as Verna and Leigh “Annie” Metz, Kathy A. York (author of Civil War Ladies Sketchbooks, Vol. 1, II, & III) and the renowned Bonnie Abel, I went from my first dress (a pink prairie style dress) to award winning antebellum gowns.* I have tried always to honor the gifts these ladies gave by passing on their teachings to new reenactors.
Even though I have been out of the reenactment business for over 20 years, I never lost my love for creating the beautiful gowns of the period. When I retired from public life I determined that I would self-employ my seamstress talents as a designer and costumer of the Civil War, Victorian and Edwardian fashion periods. The dresses contained here are completely of my own creation with the influence of my mentors and hours of study of fashion history by authors too numerous to name here.
I hope that you will enjoy this effort and perhaps become a customer.
Linda E. Charron, Couturiere
*Home page Cover – My daughter, Cameron, wearing a walking suit which won first prize at Knoxville, Illinois, 1975. Above – I wear a tea dress which won first prize at Springfield, Illinois, 1975. My then future husband is at my side, as always.
The photos below are from our little family album.