It is important to know that documenting your clothing does not mean you need to be running out trying to draft originals from collections. As I mentioned yesterday, many scholars have already done this for you, I'll use some in our example today. In addition, your documentation doesn't necessarily have to be a work of art either. Sure, it's nice to have your items photographed professionally and to show off your graphic design skills, but it's not required, all you need is the information in writing and your sources cited.
A Middlin' Woman Impression
Shift: linen as described in Costume Close-up by Linda Baumgarten 1999, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Stays: as described in Costume Close-up by Linda Baumgarten 1999, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Gown: Open front gown, blue worsted, tabby weave
|PA Gazette 10-16-1766|
Linen apron and printed cotton handkerchief (as pictured in print)
Shoes: Black Leather Shoes from Burnley & Trowbridge
|NH Gazette 12-26-1766|
If this all seems overwhelming, start with documenting your outer garment first and work from there. Once you do this a couple times, it gets easier. And by the way, when you are shopping on sutler row, don't be afraid to ask for their primary sources. The best sutlers have done their homework and will be able to cite them for you.