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.
After several weeks of industry we’ve got some more garments finished; two child-sized cloaks, one with a hood, and the late Elizabethan dress is done and just needs accessorising with a ruff and headwear, and maybe some jewellery.
Our husband and wife team have produced an outfit for him – so we have a Tudor tailor! – next up is one for her.
Our resident embroidress has been busy too, one cuff of a glove is well underway. Still to go is the edging, the lace and the lining before attaching it to the hand part of the glove (and the other hand!)
The kirtle of the Breugel gown is in progress and is going to be in green wool with the outer layer in brown wool lined in creamy beige.
Our newest costume maker has finished her outfit, and has already worn it helping Tudor Father Christmas this month.
Started on the repairs, cleaning and general tidy up after the costume day on Saturday. Nothing really major so far. The biggest task is washing all the shirts and smocks, which we’ve divided between us. Managed to get through two and half wardrobes today so only half a wardrobe to go, then we can start on some new items. Once all the clothes have been checked and cleaned we’ll pack them away in boxes and move them to the house. It’s surprising how much water has been collected in the dehumidifying pouches in a short time during the summer, so I’d hate to think what it would be like after the winter’s over!
One volunteer has been busy making a start on a pair of embroidered gloves, using a pattern from the Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns Book 1 by Jenny Tiramani and Susan North; it looks amazing already, and only part of one glove is done. Also under way is another hand-made lace edged ruff which will be left partially made up to show how it is put together (hopefully some photos will be possible soon). A start has been made to get display cases for the nightcap, gloves and ruffs, and to find the best place to put them.
A couple of our outfits have gone on tour to Tintagel Old Post Office as part of their fashion through time display, taking place from 16 to 30 September. Might be a good excuse to go visit as haven’t been there yet; trip to Killerton next week first though and hopefully a look at their costume collection.
After several weeks I’ve finished a pair of hose for a boy. They started off as two pairs but were ridiculously narrow so joined all the pieces together and it now looks quite good. One problem we discovered over the summer was that the trousers tend to fall down easily on little boys, and our pairs of braces weren’t really up to the job. So we’ve been thinking of solutions – possibly adding small lacing strip at the back of the doublet and waist of hose to tie the two together, which would be quite authentic, but may be time consuming. Alternatively, as with the hose just finished, we could put a cord though the waist band.
Also on the go at the moment is a jacket or doublet to go over a lady’s kirtle. We were having fun with shoulder rolls yesterday! and we’ve got a blackwork ruff and possibly a fancy pair of embroidered gloves underway as well. Another volunteer has just finished making metres and metres of handmade lace, which she did during the season. The next step is to make it into an appropriately fine ruff.
We’ve also been wondering about having a workshop for volunteers to do some Elizabethan embroidery and make something as a group project – something small, and not too tricky.