Costume Day, Wednesday 25 July

We had another busy costume day today and managed not to melt in the heat.

Today was a bit of a training session for new volunteers who want to be involved, before the bedlam starts next week with the children’s costume days every Monday in August. However today was a slightly more chaotic than I was expecting! But on the plus side we have a lovely new wardrobe to hang some of the clothes in so I hope the chaos will subside in future. A very big thank you to the volunteer who made it and to those who assembled it today.

Roll on Monday!

Coifs mk.2

I’ve been reading up about coifs this week, because I needed to make one for a volunteer to finish of her newly made outfit. The trouble we have quite a lot of the time is getting the things to stay put on people’s heads and getting the right fit so most of the hair is covered.

I came across an article on ‘How to wear an Elizabethan coif’ on the extremecostuming website, via http://www.elizabethancostume.net, which led to further research and articles – it can get a bit addictive chasing the leads you find! Anyway, the point was, that perhaps coifs were not made in 2 or 3 pieces as we had been used to making them, but were really one piece of material, like the surviving examples in museums, with a really long tie that wrapped around the back of the head to secure it, and made it look like the coif was in several pieces. A closer look at Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4 and Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns (ed S.North and J.Tiramani) said similar, so I though I’d give it a go.

I made a coif like this ages ago, but it turned out with a pointy top, looking a bit like a smurf hat when worn. Turns out that the top seam was far too long and the bit that was gathered way too small. With these new ones I made the seam about 3 inches and gathered the rest- as far as I can tell so far, it sits much better, flatter, when worn. So next I’ll be altering the old one to make it less ridiculous!

One thing though, I don’t know yet if this ‘new’ style coif is completely reliant on being able to put your hair up in a bun or something, lots of the volunteers have short hair so no idea if this will work properly on everyone (if they wanted to try it).

A busy summer ahead – Manic Mondays?!

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks getting ready for the costume days at the end of July and on every Monday in August. There’s still a few weeks to go, so hopefully it will all be finished in time. It could be rather busy during the summer holidays.

Among the various items on the go at the moment, the second loose gown is coming along nicely. We are now working out how to create embellishments similar to our source image on the Arundell brasses. It seems to involve plaiting an awful lot of cream wool to make 15 metres of braid and it is being attempted in one go and not in several pieces joined together!

Also having a go at revamping and updating our display boards, with timelines, pictures of clothes worn and info on the people in the brasses, as well as a few other items. So watch this space for the outcome!

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