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!

Embroidered nightcap pt.8. – nearly there!

We now have 5 of the 6 panels sewn together! The sixth, the tulip one, is nearly done, just awaiting a blue butterfly and some more sequins and beads before being joined to the others. The last piece of the headband is almost done too.




In the meantime, we’ve discovered we’re about 8 strawberry flower petals short and there isn’t any thread the right colour left! Hopefully, there will be enough to cobble something together from the leftover scrap ends (fingers crossed!)

Embroidered nightcap pt.6

We continued the embroidered nightcap today. All the different pieces have been started and some are almost complete! After discussion the metallic thread was removed from the cornflower petals, which looks much better, and a butterfly was added to the aquilegia panel to fill a gap. The main tulip petal has been stiffened and some stamens added behind to enhance it.

Cornflower, with creepy crawlies and bling. (Might have gone over the top with the sequins and beads!?)

Aquilegia with new butterfly.

Tulip, inside and out.


Pansy, with stamens added.

Strawberry flower petals are being added to the two joined panels.

The last two sections of the headband.

There was still no wind today, but did manage to get a clear photo of most of the flags.


Embroidered nightcap pt. 5

The first pieces of the embroidered cap have been sewn together! Here’s the first two panels and the first two pieces of the headband.

(The fact the snails on the headband leave a snail trail tickles me)

It’s taking shape at last. The lining’s been done too. The other panels are coming along.




Some of our new volunteers had a go at practising needle lace today, hope they can still remember it in a fortnight when we meet again and have a go on a panel!

Next Monday is our next Costume Day, the farthingale’s repaired again, so I think we’re good to go.

Bling – Elizabethan style



Aquilegia (The caterpillar was hungry and has fattened up since his last photo shoot!)

And still a work in progress:


(There’s also a Pansy and other Strawberry sections underway)

Four of the panels are pretty much finished! They’ve been infested with insects and animals, then blinged with beads and sequins, similar to late 16th and 17th century embroidery. The 17th century stumpwork at Trerice has various insects and creatures in the background as well as small pieces of mica, beads and spangles (sequins).

The strawberries and strawberry flowers on the edges will be completed after the hat is assembled because they overlap the seams. We also had complications with getting additional thread for the strawberry petals, so we’ll need to mix and match the shades of pink later on.