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Ginger Lane
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« on: May 06, 2015, 12:13:32 PM »

Hi everyone! Forgive the long post, but I'd really like your thoughts on this. I've got an idea of where I want to go, and definitely what it needs to look like, but need help filling in the holes. Wink


Currently my bedding for camping in an A-frame tent* includes:

- cot (20th century folded, wooden, olive canvas top)
- foam/air mattress (not very thick)
- sleeping bag (used as a pad)
- one sheet
- dark gray wool blanket (possibly blend)
- white wool blanket (also probably blend, but not obvious)
- small woven coverlet
- large woven coverlet
- pillow
* I am well aware that Civilians In Tents is fraught with period-appropriateness issues. For the current life/family circumstances, I will be living in a tent at most events.



I would like to upgrade some of this for these reasons:

1. Period-appropriate items look better in the tent and don't need careful blanket draping to hide.
2. Period-appropriate items make me happier.
3. Foam mattress and sleeping bag aren't as comfortable as I would like.
4. Period-appropriate items can be re-deployed in other situations/events, like occupying period buildings.


First, I want to replace the cot with a Prairie Traveler bed, if I can talk my brother into making one. As a non-migrant, it's unlikely I would have had one, I know.  But it fulfills #1, #2, and #4. At the very least, straight legs look more civilian than the crossed legs of a collapsible military cot.



I also want a set of sheets so I can make a proper bed. Cool sheets certainly feel better in the heat! I'm also open to upgrading or replacing the wool blanket(s). One of them is usually under me on the cot. I get cold easily in early spring/late fall events, so I know I'll need more than the two coverlets. Any ideas? I'm about coverlet-ed out, and I've been slowly quilting a quilt for the last 15 years. :p



Finally, what to do about replacing the foam/air mattress and sleeping bag combo?

I've been reading up on period bedding, starting from info in past Sewing Academy threads. Smiley Period bedding had two layers, like the box spring and mattress: The "mattress" corresponded to the box spring, providing support and slightly elastic padding above the bed's slats or ropes.  The mattress was usually filled with horsehair (most recommended), coconut fiber, wood shavings, and/or wool (not as recommended because it mats down/lumps).  The top layer, corresponding to the modern mattress, was the ticking. This was filled with straw, chopped corn husks, hay, or feathers.

This is where I'm stuck. First for transportation: The foam/air mattresses squish and roll up easily.  But period mattresses seem fairly rigid and/or difficult to keep from being lumpy, even when without being stuffed into the back of a Camry. Wink Also, many of these materials are difficult to get in quantity.

The ticking also presents difficulties. It can be filled at each event with hay (straw and corn husks are never available), but I've tried that once and it was not fun. It takes a lot of hay (which is intended for the cavalry) and a lot of time, and it is very difficult to get it smooth.  Feathers were out of favor in period advice because they're so warm in the summer (you sink into a thick feather mattress) and "unhygienic." But it would actually be easiest for me. A twin mattress topper, or a queen/king doubled over inside a ticking, would be soft but not sinking. And it can be rolled and mushed into a car without damage.

But that doesn't solve the mattress issue, which by the way really has to be non-lumpy. I have neck issues, and need to sleep on my right side with my neck level. (Sleeping at the wrong angle will give me a tension/nerve headache that does not go away; I've had headaches at the last three events, one of them triggering a migraine. Having the cot helps.) The feather ticking idea should be dependably level, but I still have no idea for the mattress. If a depression develops under my shoulders but not my head, my neck is wrenched to the side.  Waking up with a pounding headache is miserable.


Thanks for making it through all that! I'd greatly appreciate thoughts and ideas.
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Stephanie Brennan
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 03:42:20 PM »

   How about a futon? They are available in single sizes and different densities.  This is what we have used for years with a feather tick under us or on top for warmth. The futon is a bit bulky but will roll up. Plus , it gives a nice period look.

nice visual-

   http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/102969.html

the girl's  own toymaker-- bedding instructions start on page 82
https://books.google.com/books?id=ysUDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA58&dq=toymaker+doll&hl=en&sa=X&ei=hExLVaydLImpoQSDmoHoBw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=toymaker%20doll&f=false
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 04:51:21 AM by Stephanie Brennan » Logged
Sherry Key
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 06:57:20 AM »

What about that wool flannel you have?  Could be used as light weight blankets.  As for sheets, linen is the best. 

Sherry.
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Sherry Key
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 08:18:31 AM »

So much of what you wrote has tumbled around in my head many times. Though, now it has moved down the priorities list for me. (I do a wood cot, wool blanket, canvas & foam mattress, sometimes foax ticking, set of sheets, pillow and assortment of wool & cotton batted quilts.)

As I can not do the proper ticking (too much of a risk of a mold reaction), hubby prompted me to make a pair of mattresses out of foam. The foam is 2ish inches thick if I remember right. I encases the foam in canvas. They are okay comfy when used on the floor. It is sorta funny that I haven't stayed in my tent since I made them. So, I don't know how comfy one will be on top of the cot. They can be taken apart and washed if need be. (washing of such is a must for me.)

I'm not much help beyond that.
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Ginger Lane
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2015, 02:10:23 PM »

Anna, I'm sorry you've had the same struggles... but I admit it's reassuring that I'm not the only one. It's very helpful to hear what you use; thank you!

I'm now definitely leaning toward some kind of modern material for the mattress. Whether foam, air, or futon (never thought of that! great idea!), I'll definitely make a cover for it as if it's a real mattress.  It seems this is one area that the period solution is very, very far from either the practical or the wise (for health).

Sherry, the wool flannel is so lightweight it would do very little as a blanket, unfortunately. It's really a dress weight. Good point about linen sheets.

Stephanie, that's a great picture! And wow, that bed has crossed legs like a cot. I wonder if it was meant to be collapsible?

The doll bedding instructions are totally fascinating. I particularly love the directions for embroidering the wool blankets. I can do virtually the same thing with the white wool blanket I already have.  It also mentions a counterpane of marcella, which I believe is matelass?, originally woven to imitate the look of quilted material.  Matelass? coverlets are still widely available, both new and at thrift stores.  And it is also embroidered! How fun.  Oh, and the pillow is square. So interesting!
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Stormi Souter
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2015, 08:47:36 PM »

What I have found works best for me for most events:

Low rope bed
Thick cotton blanket (almost moving pad thickness), folder over three times. I mean to sew this in a ticking and tuft it, but haven't yet
Feather ticking (old feather duvet sewn in ticking)
White cotton sheet
Feather pillow in white cotton pillowcase
Depending on weather:2 cotton coverlets and 2 wool coverlets, 2 quilts

 There is almost always someone on craigslist selling an old rope bed for dirt cheap! (Let's not discuss the number of beds I own...) The low, narrow ones are super easy to pack in a car and set up quickly! And I find rope to give me a more comfortable nights sleep than slates or cots.
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Stormi Souter
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2015, 09:37:15 AM »

Sherry, the wool flannel is so lightweight it would do very little as a blanket, unfortunately. It's really a dress weight.

You may be very surprised. I have a light dress weight shawl that I use as a blanket on trains, planes, my couch, and as my closest layer under blankets when I need extra warmth sleeping. It's a wonderful insulator, even at that light weight.
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2015, 11:04:33 AM »

Just another note on fine flannel... my favorite shawl if semi-sheer wool (stalked a class participant in Minnesota for a full hour to snag it, too!) and David stole it all last summer as a napping blanket. I use it as my "winter coat" for modern, too. It's see-through, but the wool is quite comfortable as a layer when asleep!
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Elizabeth
Ginger Lane
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2015, 02:59:33 PM »

Stormi, that's really cool! Although old rope beds are scarce in Texas... Wink But I'm okay with the cot now.

Ladies, I was afraid you'd take my answer on the flannel the wrong way! I'm really and truly set for warmth at night.  I love my coverlets and they're plenty on just a cool night.  If it gets cold enough that coverlets + at least one wool blanket + big shawl aren't enough, a lovely light shawl won't help enough. My only concern was if one or more of the wool blankets look more military than civilian.  I love lightweight wool, but I want a pretty color for a shawl (SO sick of my dirt-brown double square) and a smoother texture.  Wink 
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2015, 10:45:18 AM »

Cheesy I support all of those desires, Ginger!

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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2015, 12:08:39 PM »

Just another note on fine flannel... my favorite shawl if semi-sheer wool (stalked a class participant in Minnesota for a full hour to snag it, too!)

It's true, I was there. She was practically drooling and doing grabby hands - which, in the case of this particular wool, was well-justified.
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Betsy Connolly
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 06:44:39 PM »

Since you're thinking about foam anyway - my husband is disabled and "back problems" doesn't even begin to describe it, so we travel with a really good quality 2" memory foam topper. It's a very different thing from egg-crate foam or even cheap, thin memory foam, and it is the difference between him being able to function and not.

I've made a cover out of sheeting that buttons closed at one end. It's a double, and by folding and folding and folding again and then rolling and straddling and strapping, I can get it down so that it fits in a 12 x 18 x 18" box with room to spare (if we're driving I skip the box). The cover not only is protective and easy to wash, but makes it 1000% easier to handle.

It is definitely a thick topper, not a substitute for a mattress, but it helps regularize a variety of mattress hardnesses and also helps quite a bit in smoothing over slightly lumpy textures.

When we have had guests we've thrown it on both the futon and the air mattress, and word is they are vastly more comfortable with the addition.
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2016, 07:30:59 PM »

What did you end up doing Ginger?  I was going to offer up a wool mattress to go over the cot.  You can contact a sheep farm and ask for their scrap wool to stuff it.  I made a mattress with wool left over from a dairy sheep farm's sheering.  The wool was not good enough for spinning due to sheep illness, but is going to get me a 4" mattress for a child and one for my 3/4 original bed I take to events with me.  And it's soft and amazing.
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Ginger Lane
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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2016, 02:44:53 PM »

That is a really good idea, Heidi.  I haven't actually used my setup yet, but what I settled for was a good air mattress in a ticking (so it's not so obvious) and a feather bed (Laura Ashley mattress topper, doubled over in a ticking).  How much wool did you need for your mattresses? It sounds amazing, I'm just wondering how much it would take to ship. Do the mattresses fold at all for transporting to events?
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Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2016, 01:50:54 PM »

I got about six 32 gallon trashbags of unusable wool.  This is stuff the sheep farm couldn't sell for spinning and therefore just trash to them, so they gave it to me for free.  That amount of wool has so far made me two pillows, a toddler size mattress and I expect will still get me another 3/4 size mattress to boot.  I found the farm by looking up sheep farms within a 1 and 1/2 hour radius of me and contacting them to ask if they'd give me their unusable wool.  One year, their sheep got sick and the wool was weak so they couldn't sell it as roving, so they gave me all that wool for free. 

The mattress would be difficult to fold depending on how thick you made it.  The one I made is 4" thick and quite fluffy.  I plan to lay it flat on the bottom of my van for transport. I understand that as they are used, they will eventually compact.
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2016, 06:19:21 AM »



First, I want to replace the cot with a Prairie Traveler bed, if I can talk my brother into making one. As a non-migrant, it's unlikely I would have had one, I know.  But it fulfills #1, #2, and #4. At the very least, straight legs look more civilian than the crossed legs of a collapsible military cot.

My husband has mde two of the Prairie Traveler Cots, becayse it's just as easy yo make two as one is his philosophy.   He used the Civil War Woodworking II book for the directions.   I have used them several times and they are relatively easy to set up and sleep in.  Do not scrimp on the type of canvas you use, we used drop cloth canvas and at some point in time will have to replace.
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