First costume day of the summer holidays

Yesterday was an enjoyable costume day, relatively busy with steady numbers, and not too crazy. It was great to gave some new volunteers giving a hand and to be able to show them what we do. It's certainly true – the more the merrier – it's nice to be have time for a cuppa and keep up with demand from visitors. Hopefully we haven't scared them off!

Again, we had some lovely comments from visitors:

'Amazing. A real laugh and made me stand up taller…'

'Wonderful – great work to create the collection. Great fun had by all, many thanks!'

'I liked feeling like I'm really important.'

'…Thank you for volunteering your time for families to have a lovely experience making memories.'

We also used the occasion to showcase some of the work we've been doing in recent weeks, including the wall hanging inspired by the knot garden and Tudor-dressed rag dolls made from scraps, or cabbage, left over from making our full-sized outfits.

The doll in the blue and red uses up scraps from a similar outfit made for school groups, which is loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, step-daughter of Mary Arundell of Lanherne.


The pattern for this doll comes from The Tudor Child, and the clothes are enlarged versions of patterns in the book. Each layer of clothing can be removed. The outfit is made up of a smock, petticoat, kirtle, gown, fore-sleeves, partlet, French hood and girdle.


The other two dolls were more informally made, more guess work than with a pattern. Each has various layers, which are also removable. The Elizabethan gent wears doublet and trunkhose, with a jerkin, ruff, cloak, shoes and a tall hat. Underneath he has hose and a shirt.

The Elizabethan lady wears a smock, stays, bum roll and farthingale, with a kirtle and partlet with a ruff over the top. On top of this is a gown with hanging sleeves. She has black velvet cap decorated with gold and pearl beads, and also has black velvet shoes over stockings tied up with ribbon garters. (She's gained facial features since this photo was taken)

Arundell Wardrobe Unlock’d 2015

There’s only one more day left before the first costume day of the new season. On Easter Monday visitors of all ages will have an opportunity to try on clothes based on the Arundell brasses from the 1560s and 1570s, and get a taste of life as one of the household at Trerice in the reign of Elizabeth I. 

We’ve spent the last week or so putting the finishing touches to some new costumes, and tweaking some of the old ones. The new grey gown with farthingale is finished and is awaiting it’s first trying on. 

We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow in the Hayloft. 

Solution found!

Carrying on from the last post about attempting knitting, the best way forward appears to be to rope in more experienced knitters from among the volunteers at Trerice! This week one lady came in with 10 knitted coifs, yes ten, that she did over Christmas. Very impressed. She got it down by the end to three hours per hat and without the pattern!

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A regular of the Costume Group has undertaken knitting a thrum cap to go with our sailor’s outfit. I’ve been told it’s supposed to be very weather/water proof… I think a volunteer is needed to test it!

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This one looks odd, but more hat like (?) than the next photo which was possibly pulled too far on the stand and looks like some weird sea creature.

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Returning to safer ground, a gown for an adult lady, for the summer costume days, is under way. It’s turned into a group effort with various bits being stitched by different people. The skirt needs attaching to the bodice, some jewellery applied and a whole load of lacing holes are still to be done. It’s loosely based on portraits of Mary I in the 1550s and a portrait of Joan Tuckfield of Exeter in 1560.

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A couple of fashionable ladies or so

Among the things being worked on at the moment are two outfits for noble ladies.

One is a mid Tudor noble lady, loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, countess of Arundel, mixed with the Tudor Child‘s pattern for Princess Elizabeth’s gown.

Each layer has been made by a different person in the Costume Group. The outfit is made up of a padded petticoat, a kirtle and fore-sleeves, and a gown.

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The padded petticoat

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The kirtle

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After doing about 40 eyelet holes, on various outfits I didn’t fancy doing more, especially in velvet, so resorted to brass rings, which should be easier for children to thread up. There will be a placard over the top of the lacing.

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To finish it off we decided to add a partlet as well. Just waiting for the fore sleeves before getting a final photo.

The other is a late Tudor noble lady’s gown with hanging sleeve, complete with French farthingale and stays underneath. The next step is to make a suitable ruff and supporter.

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The foundation garments.

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With the petticoat over the top.

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The gown on top.

Also just completed, a mid-late gentlewoman’s gown and kirtle in red and black.

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More for the Schools’ Project

Some more outfits recently finished.

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Mid-late Tudor noble lady
It’s not bad what can be achieved by layering up ribbon and braid…

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Mid Tudor merchant

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Late Tudor gentlewoman

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Mid Tudor gentleman

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Late Tudor servant

Whodunit? – again!
On Friday Trerice was open in the evening from 6-9pm with the opportunity to investigate the murder of a conservation assistant. The volunteers are all suspects and the weapon is hidden somewhere around the house. Within minutes we managed to spook a few visitors with the rag stuffed body!

There are two more murder mystery evenings in the next couple of weeks followed by a spooky Halloween night.

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Nearly there!

Better not shout too loudly but we’re halfway through cutting out the last pattern for the schools’ project!! The last outfit is a late Tudor noble lady based on an already made pink kirtle, originally made for an old cream dress, now transformed into a new gold gown.

Here’s some of the outfits hot off the press (sewing machine!)

imageLate Tudor nobleman and late Tudor merchant’s wife

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Late Tudor nobleman

Late Tudor nobleman

 

 

Late Tudor merchant's wife

Late Tudor merchant’s wife

Getting there, slowly

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.

Mid Tudor nobleman

Just finished a Henry VIII/Edward VI style outfit for the schools’ project.
Here’s some of the stages to get to the final result.

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The grey doublet has slashes in the sleeves and on the front. Each slash was faced with another fabric, they could have been left because fraying edges could apparently have been part of the intended look, but I thought it best to limit excess wear and damage as much as possible. The puffs were made with a light-weight fabric pulled through and sewn to the edge of the slash to keep it in place.

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The same was done on the front of the body. The facing was made by sewing calico to the right side of the grey top fabric, cutting the calico into squares around the sewn slashes, then pulling each through the holes to the other side.

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The doublet is side opening (I thought it would be more interesting than the usual front opening, but it maybe a little trickier to do up…) which is worn under a black velvet u-front jerkin.

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The gown took a while to put together. Note to self – Must remember to take it slowly, follow instructions and not jump steps, otherwise chaos ensues!
The sleeves were faced with an interlining, then the trim was added, before attaching the lining and velvet facing.

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The body of the gown before the sleeves were attached. The trim was made from two different ones layered together.

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The gown, assembled before the velvet facings were added.

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The finished outfit.

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Jewelled decoration was added to the sleeves, to hold the openings together.

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Finally, a hat to complete the outfit. The brim was sewn together first, then the crown gathered to the right size and the edge bound before it was sewn to the brim.

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The finished hat with embellishments of braid, a jewel and a feather.

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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…

Still busy

The school outfits continue:

An early-mid merchant’s wife dress, before embellishment was added.

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The same dress with about 12 metres of ribbon added. The trim echoes the design of an existing German mid 16th century bourgeois dress.

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For some reason there was a spare of puffed sleeves lying about, so to not waste them we added a doublet body.

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The school boy’s outfit is finished and just needs some accessories to complete it fully. (Something to add to the shopping list!)

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You can never have enough hats! Black versions of a round bonnet and a great bonnet to supplement the brown ones.

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A version of The Tudor Tailor’s Aldersey gown in The Tudor Child has been started. This is one of the sleeves of the gown during assembly. Yet again I have discovered the ‘joys’ of working with velvet – black is particularly disconcerting because the bits it sheds, which get everywhere, look like mouse droppings! Luckily there was enough velvet ribbon to use for the panes on the sleeves, which saved a fiddly job and extra mess.

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The finished sleeves attached to the bodice.

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