Due to the fact that two threads are running neck and neck and nearing 50+ posts, lets all poke fun at ourselves and try to remember when it was that "YOU DISCOVERED YOU WERE A FARB!"
For me it was May of 2004, 140th of Spotsylvania. I had been a "just get by reenactor" for many years, I made all my own leather gear and lots of my clothes...... just good enuff to get by! I was waiten to get my picture took, when I started talking to a group of fellows from the 1st Md. (CS), well really only one of them, as only one of them would talk to me! I am sure he does not remember, but the fact that one person was willing to speak to me and help me with my impression changed everything. I made up my mind there and then that I wanted to get one step closer to the men that really did this 140 years ago.
By Oct. 2004 (Franklin Tn.), I had myself a new Jacket from Cantrell,( sure wish he was still makeing Uniforms!), w/Fed Eagle buttons, jeanclothe civilian trousers and proper draws,( got them off E-BAY! and they are perfect!), got me a sloch hat,(no more kepi's for me.... why did I ever wear those hot things anyway?), and I was ready to go. Marched out with the Red River Batt. and never looked back, Franklin 2004 is still my best reenactment!, sleepin on the ground, eatin what they issued me, marchin till I dropped!
Since then I have discovered i can still hand stitch some items,( haversacks, shirts, etc...), but jackets should be left to the Professionals,(IMHO). Same with leather gear, I learned the way to make correct leather dye and got rid of all that "Tandy Leather Works" stuff. I use linen thread and correct awls, etc... but still leave the big stuff,(cart boxes, cap pouches, etc...), up to L.D. Haning & Co., they are the Best!.
I have not pulled out the big tent for 4 years now and I enjoy myself royally!