The first costume day of the summer holidays is fast approaching – only a few hours. We’re looking forward to helping visitors step back in history and tread in the footsteps of the 16th century Arundell family of Trerice by trying on something from our range of Tudor clothes. Fun for all the family and hopefully the weather will hold out nice.
The Summer Costume Days are over now – it’s taken a little while to recover! The last was particularly busy, with about 40 visitors dressed in the morning and twice as many in the afternoon – not bad for four hours. We had some lovely comments too from visitors which is greatly appreciated.
After a day of repairs, including the complete rebuilding of two French hoods, we’ve managed to cut out another pattern for the schools’ project. This one’s for a mid Tudor noble lady, based on the Princess Elizabeth pattern in The Tudor Child. It’s also loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk in blue and red, who had a very distant connection to Trerice through her stepmother Mary Arundell of Lanherne, a cousin to our Arundells (the FitzAlan earl of Arundel’s coat of arms is also in the plasterwork of the Great Chamber at Trerice – we’ve always assumed it was something to do with this marriage connection … but not completely sure). So far it includes a padded petticoat, a red kirtle with red and gold forepart and a blue velvet gown (a really nice shade, similar to the portrait) with large sleeves and fore-sleeves to match the kirtle.
We’ve created some birds for a new kids trail around Trerice, from left over scraps of black material used for clothes (Tudors called the scraps cabbage). They’re supposed to be swallows, based on the Arundell coat of arms, but it proved a bit tricky to put the detail onto so we simplified them. The swallows were originally intended for the flag making we did recently, but realising the Arundell badge should be white or silver swallows on black not the other way around (of course this happened after cutting out 12 birds in black!) I had to start again. Luckily it was then suggested we create something to replace the Trusty the Hedgehog trail around the house, so the youngest visitors to the house will have something new to look for – the black birds will not be wasted. We now have a flock of 24 and some wit did mention a pie!
Been experimenting, after the trip to London, with some craft foam. Thought it might be a neat idea to make some ruffs and hats that could be tried on in the Hayloft when we don’t have the costumes out. Being made of foam, although not Tudor, it won’t matter so much if they get damaged or go missing.
We have another adult doublet finished, and an Elizabethan bonnet. Both are looking splendid.
Also been experimenting with an academic square cap made from felt with a biggin underneath to get the ear flaps, rather than making it an all-in-one hat (which at the moment is beyond me).
The hat is finished! At last! After several months of umming and erring. I found the best plan was to keep it simple, so forgot about the lining and just covered the exposed edge with ribbon.
Not really sure what it is though – a snood? a caul? a balzo? Seems to be an amalgamation of all of them.
Got a bit carried away and made something similar for the new red gown with puff sleeves. This one was made with a padded ring as the base and the middle filled in. Think I prefer the blue one because this one reminds me of a pavlova.
The embroidered night cap is coming along, I think. (I missed the last session) I’ve done or started a panel with primroses. I thought it was going to be a lot lot trickier than it actually was (still a bit tricky though!) Maybe I had easy stitches to master though as each panel is different.
The real reason for the title of this entry is not because of the nightcap, but trying to replicate a hat worn in one of the Arundell brasses. Probably an over-exaggeration really.
It’s just being a bit fiddly and I’m making it up as I go along because there’s no instructions to follow, just various pictures from portraits that look vaguely similar. I think I’ve sussed the style, not a French hood, but a cap type thing probably originally shaped by the wearer’s hair underneath, but because there’s no way of telling how visitors will have their hair, I’ve used a roll of fabric stuffed with wool fibre to give it the required height. My attempt so far is ok, it’s just getting the lining in that’s now proving tricky – staring at it for hours doesn’t help!
To get into the spirit of Halloween, with the autumnal decoration in the hall and guess the weight of the pumpkin, we cheekily added a few headless figures of our own to add a bit of spookiness to the gloomy day. Sir John Arundell was sighted in the Great Chamber in a state of undress, a nameless gent was seen in the alcove of the Long Gallery, Katherine Cosworth was seen disappearing upstairs and Mary Arundell was lurking in the Court Chamber.
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!
Started in November 2010, the Trerice Costume Group is recreating the clothes worn by the Arundell family of Trerice, near Newquay, Cornwall, and their household in Tudor times. The group is made up of a number of National Trust volunteers with varying sewing abilities, although we all enjoy being involved in the project.
The inspiration for the clothes we are making comes from the Arundell family brasses in Stratton Church, near Bude, and the Cosworth family brasses in Colan Church, near Newquay (their in-laws). We started the project by making costumes for children to try on when they visit Trerice, but it has become so popular, and with increasing requests from adults, that we are making them for big kids too! We hope to enable visitors of all ages to tread in the footsteps of the Arundell family and their household in the time of Elizabeth I.