Since the summer costume days ended the group has been cleaning and mending clothes. Some of the outfits have been completely remodelled, such as a red English gown which was covered in snags and frayed ends and looked rather a mess. Using material from another pair of red curtains, the old gown was used as pattern to make a new one. The lining and puffed sleeves have been reused in the new version too.
Our version of Tudor Tailor’s Mary Feilding which has been very popular has also shown signs of wear on the lining, which has become holey, and on the buttons. These have now been replaced and the garment has been given a new lease of life.
The front of the academic gown was looking very bobbly by the end of the summer. On closer inspection the front panels were inside out compared to the back and sleeves, so it was taken apart, turned around and rehemmed before putting it back together.
We discovered that ruffs can survive the washing machine. Some got quite grubby over the summer and after much debate on the best method of cleaning, it was decided to use a gentle wash with a lot of Vanish. We used some thin hair rollers to shape the ruffs as they dried, and don’t seem to have lost much of their stiffness.
In addition to repairs we have been making preparations for Halloween and revamping some of the Tudor banqueting costumes.
The original dress
The waist of the original dress was ridiculously high for a 1570s outfit so the material of the original dress has become a skirt, stomacher, paned sleeves and headdress, combined with a new gown from donated curtains.
We’ve been learning new steps for Tudor dancing on Wednesdays, the Scottish Branle, which is much quicker than other dances we’ve done so far and involves kicks and jumps. I think we’ve almost got it, although keeping balance and remembering lefts and rights has been tricky – nearly toppled once or twice.
Hardly less energetic, the costume days have been going down well this summer. Only three left to go.
If anyone fancies a Tudor-themed workout volunteering at Trerice is the place!
Our summer costume days are underway, we’ve had a lot of interest from visitors and some good weather has meant we’ve been a little less manic than usual, which is nice.
We’ve finished two more outfits for the schools’ project – an Elizabethan sailor and a mid Tudor loose gown and loose kirtle.
The sailor’s outfit is based (roughly) on one I saw in the Queen’s Gallery in London last year, with a loose tunic top and baggy knee-length hose in linen.
Also completed is an English gable hood to go with one of the early Tudor dresses.
A couple of the schools’ outfits have had a trial run in the last two costume days, which was great. We might be able to test some more in the next few weeks.
The last remaining wooden farthingale has bitten the dust 😦 The hoops had become more gaffer tape than willow, after one-too-many 10 year old sat or stood on it before we could intervene. It is now being remodelled with curtain wire which has proved to be a lot more durable with rough handling so far in our other farthingales. The skirt itself is being altered too; it was based on the Alcega/Janet Arnold pattern with hoops put into tucks of material, so there is now far too much fabric, which will distort the shape with the new wire or be ridiculously huge and awkward to sew.
We’re in the middle of Tudor Fortnight at Trerice at the moment, and the Wardour Garrison are down for the weekend. They’ve set up their tents and have been showing camp life including musket demonstrations and target practise. Hope they haven’t got blown away by the tail end of hurricane Bertha! There’s also two Tudor themed banquets being held this week in the evenings on Wednesday and Saturday. Plus a costume day tomorrow and on Wednesday, hobby horse jousting and various craft activities.
Before sewing begins on the schools’ project, the last few things are being finished for the summer.
The Breugel style out fit is taking shape, with hemming and fastenings still to do. There is likely to be a tuck in the skirt, to show how growing children were accommodated in the 16th century.
The Mary Feilding style dress is in the process of being trimmed; not happy with the flowery lace braid, looking a little too modern, some strings of pearl-esque beads are being added which alters it quite a bit. The petticoat is almost finished too.
The academic gown is finished, and looks really good with the square cap.
Repairs are being made to another farthingale as well, because the willow keeps snapping. While this is going on patterns are being drawn up for the schools’ project, so we’re keeping busy, and there should be some interesting new things for visitors to try on in the summer.
Preparations for the new season at Trerice are underway. We have some new extra opportunities for trying on costumes in the summer holidays. As part of the Tudor fortnight being held in August we will have Costume Days on Wednesdays (6th and 13th) in addition to the usual Mondays.
We’ve started the project for making costumes for school visits, and are initially planning a variety of clothes from throughout the 16th century. Next step is to finish drawing up patterns and go shopping for fabric.
In the meantime we’ve all been busy making new things for the summer visitors to try on an academic gown, complete with hat, is well under way, as is the little girl’s Breugel inspired outfit and a version of the Mary Feilding dress from the Tudor Tailor’s Tudor Child book.
The old cream gown that has been around for years, and was becoming very stained, has been revamped into a totally different dress. It now forms the petticoat to the new dress.
The ‘dragon’ dress is also finished, with a ruff made from off cuts of the Great Chamber curtains and a wire supportasse, and just needs a willing 6-7 year old to try it on.
Our embroideress has been very busy too, and has completed one glove, which took most of last season to do. This will be displayed with the embroidered nightcap and lace ruff in the House.
Fancy being a Elizabethan lady or gentleman? Or servant or farmer?
The dates for the Costume Days for next year have been confirmed. They will be on the following Mondays in 2014:
21 April (Easter Monday)
5 May & 27 May (bank holidays)
Summer holidays: 28 July, 4, 11, 18 & 25 August
Come and try on the types of clothes the Arundell family and their household would have worn during the 16th century. We hope to see lots of people there!
PS Trying on the clothes is a free activity, but normal admission fees to Trerice will apply (NT members free).