Extra Costume Days for 2019!

Due to popular demand we have two additional days for dressing as a Tudor this year!

Monday 2 September and Monday 21 October

We look forward to seeing you then or next Monday (26 August).

Costume Days 2019

We’ve just had our first Costume Day of the year today, which turned out to be quite busy. There will be more opportunities to try on proper Elizabethan outfits (rather than the quick-try on costumes that are in the Hayloft at other times) on

  • May Bank Holiday Mondays, 6 & 27 May
  • Monday 22 July
  • Monday 29 July
  • Monday 5 August
  • Monday 12 August
  • Monday 19 August
  • Monday 26 August

Costume days will be held in the Hayloft, from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm

Please note normal admission prices to Trerice will apply. NT members free.

Where: National Trust, Trerice, Kestle Mill, Newquay TR8 4PG

First costume days of the summer holidays

Last week was the first summer costume day and it was a scorcher! Surprisingly we had 80 people brave the heat to try on Tudor outfits. There was even some Tudor dancing outside on the Parade Ground which was a sight to behold!

This week, in an attempt to ease some of the discomfort from the heat, although it was cooler and even a little rainy, we experimented with a new layout, creating more space in the Hayloft for dressing in the clothes, and for undressing. It also meant there was a bit of a fashion show as people paraded outside to have their photo taken. We had 118 visitors take part, and ran over our allotted time to fit everyone in.

Thank you to everyone for their patience and good humour. We had some lovely comments from visitors:

Absolutely wonderful! So much fun. The Ladies were very attentive and the costumes were stunning.

Great fun experience and now appreciate why they needed staff to dress them!

Absolutely stunning costumes! The detailing is gorgeous. Loved the experience. Great history lesson! Thanks so much!

Thanks so much was great fun trying on costumes and being able to take pictures outside. And knowing what the costumes were like.

Absolutely incredible – what great costumes I had the best day of my life trying on tudor outfits and we got some great photos.

On your marks, get set…

The first costume day of 2018 on Easter Monday is fast approaching. The new hats have worked out well and are now ready for the 2 April.

These are two of the several Elizabethan hats we’ve made since the New Year. We used the Elizabethan tall hat pattern in the Tudor Tailor for the one style, and resized the John Dunch hat pattern from the Tudor Child for the other. We were given some remnants of thick felt by our Conservation team which proved to be a very useful base material for the hats, and relatively easy to sew together by hand.. Some of the hats had extra wire attached to the edge of their brim.

The felt brim was then covered with top fabric before being attached to the felt crown, edge to edge. The top fabric crown was a large circle with three rows of gather stitches (which were later removed) which were pulled in and placed over the felt crown and pinned to the bottom of the crown to make sure it was tight over the top and the gathers evenly spread, before being sewn through the felt where it was pinned. The inside was covered with a lining. We found it a good idea to put a few stitches at the top of the lining in the crown to keep the lining in place and stop it falling down.

The join between brim and crown was covered by a decorative hat band of ribbon or braid. The hats were finished off with feathers, including ostrich feathers from a feather duster.

The John Dunch style hats consisted of 8 pieces of top fabric making up the crown. Instead of 8 pieces of felt for the base which is used in the original pattern we stretched the top fabric over the same sort of base used for the Elizabethan tall hat, which made it a bit easier to construct. The pink top fabric in the hat above was a right pain for fraying so the embroidered chain stitch over the top helps keep it in place as well as being decorative. The join of the panels was hidden by a covered button.

So on Monday we should find out who will be the first to wear them.

New year, new projects

We have some exciting plans in the pipeline for the coming year.

This year the property is having the theme of ‘Trerice in 10 objects’, one of which will be the embroidered nightcap we made a few years ago! This will be an opportunity to highlight what the various things the Costume Group does in the attempt to bring history to life. Part of this will be to make various hats through the ages from the Middle Ages to the mid 20th century. I’m looking forward to having a go at some of the really outlandish ones.

Elsewhere, we’ve been finishing more outfits for the Hayloft collection and started on a new adult-size late Elizabethan gown for the Costume Days. On top of this there is still the repair and upkeep of the existing clothes, including ruffs.

The ruffs have been washed since last summer, but some look a bit like they’ve been sat on.

To reshape them I soaked them in a mixture of water and pva glue. We’ve found this is more hard-wearing than traditional starch, with so many people wearing them during the season. I made the most of the very few sunny and dry days over Christmas to tackle them.

Depending on the size of the ruff sets bent straws or pieces of foam hair rollers were stuffed in the gaps to straighten and shape the ruffs. They look a bit odd but it helps to prevent them sticking together and keep the shape while they dry. In the past I’ve found curling tongs, which I thought might act like a poking iron, inconveniently have a safety bit of plastic at the tip and the heat doesn’t get to the fabric properly. So this is the best I’ve come up with at the moment – I originally tried balls of cotton wool and painted on the glue around the edges but that got very messy and fluffy!

The ruffs were left to dry tied into shape around old biscuit tins and bits of flowerpots, for about 24 hours.

They looked a lot better when the straws and rollers were removed.

That’s a bit more like it!

Now I’m just waiting for some more good weather before Easter to finish the rest!

It’s been a busy few months…

Since last writing something all the way back in August we’ve had some busy Costume Days, preparing for Halloween, the Christmas craft fair and even having a few days of holiday and life in the real world!

Halloween was rather crazy and very very busy. The plague came again to Trerice but this time it opened a portal to the Underworld and unleashed characters from Cornish folklore. There were lots of screams heard in the house, so goal achieved! There were about 400 people through in the first hour which must be a record for the place – I’ve never seen such queues! Thanks for everyone’s patience.

Halloween took place on the last weekend of the season, and we’ve now moved to winter opening at weekends only. As part of this a craft fair with items made by volunteers and staff at Trerice has been organised in November. In anticipation of this we started making dolls, generally inspired by our Tudor costumes, and made from the bags and bags of scrap material left over from making full-size outfits.

In addition to that we’ve made Tudor hats – Henry VII and Henry VIII styles – as well as French hoods, and Christmas decorations from used cotton reels (we’ve got through a lot this year!), ribbon and beads.

Next up is helping with decorations and things for Christmas needed for the first weekend in December. Then there’s always the ‘big list’ of items for next year to be going on with.

I said we could dress anyone…

Another busy costume day and luckily the forecast rain stayed away. We had a lovely lot of visitors in, of all ages. We found an outfit for everyone, including someone with their arm in a sling, and even a teddy bear got the Tudor treatment (which was a first!) Unfortunately there were a couple of people who came late, when we were packing up, but hopefully they'll come back next week, as the wardrobe doors will be open again next Monday 11-1 and 2-4. For now, it's time to put our feet up!

First costume day of the summer holidays

Yesterday was an enjoyable costume day, relatively busy with steady numbers, and not too crazy. It was great to gave some new volunteers giving a hand and to be able to show them what we do. It's certainly true – the more the merrier – it's nice to be have time for a cuppa and keep up with demand from visitors. Hopefully we haven't scared them off!

Again, we had some lovely comments from visitors:

'Amazing. A real laugh and made me stand up taller…'

'Wonderful – great work to create the collection. Great fun had by all, many thanks!'

'I liked feeling like I'm really important.'

'…Thank you for volunteering your time for families to have a lovely experience making memories.'

We also used the occasion to showcase some of the work we've been doing in recent weeks, including the wall hanging inspired by the knot garden and Tudor-dressed rag dolls made from scraps, or cabbage, left over from making our full-sized outfits.

The doll in the blue and red uses up scraps from a similar outfit made for school groups, which is loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, step-daughter of Mary Arundell of Lanherne.


The pattern for this doll comes from The Tudor Child, and the clothes are enlarged versions of patterns in the book. Each layer of clothing can be removed. The outfit is made up of a smock, petticoat, kirtle, gown, fore-sleeves, partlet, French hood and girdle.


The other two dolls were more informally made, more guess work than with a pattern. Each has various layers, which are also removable. The Elizabethan gent wears doublet and trunkhose, with a jerkin, ruff, cloak, shoes and a tall hat. Underneath he has hose and a shirt.

The Elizabethan lady wears a smock, stays, bum roll and farthingale, with a kirtle and partlet with a ruff over the top. On top of this is a gown with hanging sleeves. She has black velvet cap decorated with gold and pearl beads, and also has black velvet shoes over stockings tied up with ribbon garters. (She's gained facial features since this photo was taken)

Another busy week…

We’re looking forward to seeing the new wall hanging in Reception. Hopefully it will be on the wall soon.

 
Final adjustments were made to the Poldark-esque clothes for the murder mystery that took place on Saturday night, and we got ready for the second May Bank Holiday Costume Day.

                                                                               ~~~~~~
Today we had another Costume Day, which turned out to be a record breaker for us – 165 visitors dressed in 4 hours. Time to put our feet up for a bit! 

                A few of the visitors’ comments:

“A fantastic experience that was entertaining and informative. A huge thank you to all involved”.

         “Great idea! My 2 yr old didn’t want to take it off!”

“Amazing costumes. Came back twice! A great experience. Thank you”.

          “A lovely, fun and informative activity. We all enjoyed dressing up in the beautiful costumes. Thank you!”