Bringing up the Bodies – or Heads will roll

This week we’ve been finishing off some more of the schools’ project outfits. There’s only a couple of hats to make up and a few alterations to carry out. We’ve also continued making our models for displaying our work in the Great Chamber next week. 

The papier mâché heads have now dried out thoroughly and it’s quite satisfying to  pop the balloons and hear them peel away inside. The next step was to cover them with some muslin or thin linen over some strategically placed wadding for chins and cheekbones. They look great from the front but a little Frankenstein-like at the back…

The bodies are made from broom handles and a short bit of wood for the shoulders, covered with two pillows, supported by stands, including the bases of garden umbrellas and Christmas trees. Some of the heads need a little more attention to make them stay upright – that’s a job for Monday morning. It’s surprising how some of the pillow bodies need to lose weight already! 





The flurry of activity continues

What we’ve been up to – things recently finished:

*A miner’s coat in a heavy linen, so called because it was copied/inspired by a drawing of a mid Tudor miner – it needs lantern and tools to complete the look! It has 32 button holes and although they were done by machine patience was tested, especially when the practise ones using the automatic buttonhole function on scrap material were great but the first few on the garment wouldn’t play ball at all. Needless to say there’ll be some fake buttons at the bottom. but it was less time consuming than making 32 buttons by hand, which is left to someone else to do!

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*An early Tudor gentleman, with doublet, coat, hood and hat. We haven’t figured out the best way of doing one-size-fits-all hose, especially the early Tudor styles, so we’re leaving that for another time. Boys might be a bit reluctant to wear tights?!

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*A mid to late Tudor gentleman’s coat is finished and just needs a hat to complete the look.

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*Our version of the Aldersey girl’s gown with a roll underneath, because the skirt seems a bit long by itself for a 10 year old; we tried it with a farthingale as well but it appeared to make little difference to the length.

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*Two earlyTudor gentlewomen’s gowns are now finished, but we may add a tassel to the end of the girdles.

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We only have two outfits left from our initial cutting out, so we will have to have another cutting out session soon. There’s about 10 more to cut out. In the mean time each outfit made so far needs an appropriate shirt or smock and accessories…

Gowns, Coats and Headwear

It’s been a while since the last post, but we’ve been quite busy. We had another successful costume day at the beginning of the month and we’ve been continuing with the schools’ project.

We’ve made quite a dent in the patterns created during our marathon cutting out session – might have to get round to cutting out the last ones soon! We’ve got a mixture of recreated children’s clothes and scaled down adult style ones so that groups can see what different ranks and professions wore: they are based on pictures in the Herbert Norris book, Tudor Costume and Fashion, as well as patterns from the ever useful The Tudor Tailor, The Tudor Child, The Queen’s Servants, and The King’s Servants.

New additions to the schools’ project include:
An early Tudor farmer, with doublet and coat – reminiscent of those worn on the Tudor Monastery Farm TV programme. This will be worn, eventually, with the brown small bonnet made earlier.

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A villager – the kirtle was one from our old collection that never really gets worn, but just discovered it’s about 5-6 inches too short – it looks a bit silly with the jacket – so it will need to have a bit added on to the bottom.

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Some early Tudor bonnets for girls including a pointed one, possibly to go with the early Tudor gentlewoman’s dress.

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The round bonnet can be worn as it is or looks quite effective with a paste to make a gable shaped hood.

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This one is to go with the early Tudor noblewoman’s outfit, which is almost finished, and just needs some side lacing in the kirtle.

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A schoolboy’s coat is done, and is awaiting it’s yellow petticoat to go underneath. Also under way are a miner’s coat, a merchant’s gown, a merchant wife’s dress as well as the early gentlewoman’s dress.

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So the work continues and we have another costume day this coming Monday!