The Southern Belle and the Drummer Boy

I still remember the first (and only) time I watched “Gone With the Wind.” I was fifteen years old, and other than the awesome hoops and dresses and hats Scarlett O’Hara wore, the only thing I remember is how ridiculously long it was. That movie dragged on forever! Maybe I didn’t have the proper context to appreciate it, maybe I was too young, or maybe it really is as boring as I remember it being. Who knows. But the dresses have certainly stuck with me in all their glorious yardage and trimmings, and I would probably pay at least ten dollars if someone would make one for me.

Living in North Carolina, in a town which boasts a couple of Civil War era homes (one of which still has a bullet hole from Sherman’s march… or that’s what someone told me anyway), we wanted to do a little Civil War cosplay and photo shoot. Our family kinda represents on the Union side, so we decided to have a little Yankee drummer boy along with our Southern Belle.

Costuming: A dress with hoops and lace and ribbons was a must! I made one because all the ones I saw on Amazon and Ebay were far too large for my belle. I made a very simple bodice out of some fabric I’d been saving for years, and added a large circle skirt. Then lots of flounce! I made a hoop skirt to wear underneath out of simple muslin and dress boning. Then the hat! I almost forgot the hat! I hot-glued tulle, feathers, and flowers onto a piece of felt to create a fascinator. Finally, I put a little clip on the back so she could wear it jauntily on the side of her head.

For my little soldier, I made a simple top and trousers out of some navy fabric and added some ribbon and buttons to dress it up. We handed him a little drum (that he couldn’t have cared less about) and brought his rocking horse (which he cared very much about).

For the location, we contacted the Fayetteville’s visitor’s center and asked if we could shoot at one of the historical homes. For future reference, if you take your adorable toddlers all dressed up in costumes to see nice old ladies at the historical society, they will let you shoot pictures anywhere!

For the processing, we wanted the pictures to look like hand-colored portraits, so we created a nice, slightly de-saturated preset in Lightroom and then went in to actually manually paint in the color on cheeks, lips, and eyes in each picture.

Southern Belle and Drummer Boy themed children's stylized photo shoot tutorial and guide

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