Today I had the great pleasure of spending a couple of hours with Sue Hueskin, who has published two delightful books: Had on and Took With Her (a compilation of notices on run-away indentured servants and slaves, what they wore and what they stole) and Colonial Burlington Cooker (a fascinating book of "receipts" from Plly Burling from April 1770. Sue ran across the little original book of "receipts" (the Colonial word for recipe's) at the Burlington Historical Society and with permission and help, she made a fascinating book featuring Polly Burling's receipts as well as commentary on the food, taste, and other aspects of Colonial living.
Sue and her husband are re-enactors and sutlers. They are also volunteers at historic sites such as the Griffith Morgan House in Pennsauken. I've met Sue often at events, most recently at the big Whitall House event, the re-enactment of the October 1777 battle. I brought a couple of other volunteers who do tours at Whitall House with me. One of them also sews costumes. We had planned to do some sewing together but the pattern I ordered from Smoke and Fire had been put on a 3 week waiting list, so I decided to skip the sewing and see Sue about buying some ready-mades.
Sue's family had owned a fabric shop, which is how she got started in this business. She sold fabric and patterns for re-enactors, then she got into sewing and hired a skilled tailor who now does a significant portion of the sewing because, as she said, "he's just so much faster at it than I am." I can vouch for his work. It is superb. The fabric is beautiful, the quality impressive, and I was so taken with the samples she had to offer that I ended up buying a bodice, petticoat, apron, shift, and lined hooded cape! My other volunteer friends and I bought books too. They make unique and interesting gifts. If you'd like to buy Sue's books or contact her about costumes, here is her information:
33 Pancoast Blvd.
Delran, NJ 08075
Riverside, NJ 08075