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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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

The gown, assembled before the velvet facings were added.


The finished outfit.


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


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.


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



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!


*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?!


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


*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.


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




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…

Schools’ project – next step started

Our project to make clothes for school groups to wear when they visit Trerice has taken a step forward. Four outfits have been finished and another four are under way, we still need to finish the shifts, shirts and headwear though as well.

Here’s some of the items being made at the moment, or recently finished:

Early Tudor gentlewoman’s gown, which will be accompanied by a yellow kirtle.

Tudor Tailor’s John Dunch’s hat enlarged for a 10 year old (or so), before the top layer and lining are added.

School girl outfit minus jacket.

We have a new gallery of photos added above, with the finished items for the school project, which will be updated as we go.

On top of this there’s another costume day this coming Monday!

The elves have been active…

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.


Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Summer preparations

Still trying to make more clothes in time for the summer costume days. The loose gown with loose kirtle and tied-in puffy sleeves is finished after fighting the hems into submission – they looked fine initially but turned out to be about a foot longer at the sides than necessary!


A yeoman farmer’s coat has just been finished, copied from a picture in Herbert Norris’s book about Tudor costume and fashions. We’ve tried bashing an old felt cowboy hat out of shape to get a similar felt hat to the one in the book, it almost looks right…


There are two dresses for girls aged about 12 coming along too, so we should have a variety of new things for visitors to wear in a couple of weeks.


The hat is finished! At last! After several months of umming and erring. I found the best plan was to keep it simple, so forgot about the lining and just covered the exposed edge with ribbon.




Not really sure what it is though – a snood? a caul? a balzo? Seems to be an amalgamation of all of them.

Got a bit carried away and made something similar for the new red gown with puff sleeves. This one was made with a padded ring as the base and the middle filled in. Think I prefer the blue one because this one reminds me of a pavlova.



Coifs mk.2

I’ve been reading up about coifs this week, because I needed to make one for a volunteer to finish of her newly made outfit. The trouble we have quite a lot of the time is getting the things to stay put on people’s heads and getting the right fit so most of the hair is covered.

I came across an article on ‘How to wear an Elizabethan coif’ on the extremecostuming website, via http://www.elizabethancostume.net, which led to further research and articles – it can get a bit addictive chasing the leads you find! Anyway, the point was, that perhaps coifs were not made in 2 or 3 pieces as we had been used to making them, but were really one piece of material, like the surviving examples in museums, with a really long tie that wrapped around the back of the head to secure it, and made it look like the coif was in several pieces. A closer look at Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4 and Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns (ed S.North and J.Tiramani) said similar, so I though I’d give it a go.

I made a coif like this ages ago, but it turned out with a pointy top, looking a bit like a smurf hat when worn. Turns out that the top seam was far too long and the bit that was gathered way too small. With these new ones I made the seam about 3 inches and gathered the rest- as far as I can tell so far, it sits much better, flatter, when worn. So next I’ll be altering the old one to make it less ridiculous!

One thing though, I don’t know yet if this ‘new’ style coif is completely reliant on being able to put your hair up in a bun or something, lots of the volunteers have short hair so no idea if this will work properly on everyone (if they wanted to try it).

Who knows it just might fit!

Much discussion about French Hoods this week, we have found various opinions as to whether they are in several different parts which are pinned together on the head (maybe not ideal for us) or whether joined together in hat form. We need to protect our various styles of hats and keep them as clean as possible and we understand coifs were worn underneath these fancier styles but in portraits they aren’t always obvious.

It wasn’t all talk however and our volunteer with the loose kirtle and gown now has a very smart black linen french hood with bag and white forehead cloth to keep her luxurious hair under suitable C16th control!

I am trying a bit of Tudor knitting – thanks to Sally Pointer’s Tudor Flat Cap pattern. I just happened to have the right amount of Aran cream wool to have a go knitting and then felting the cap. If it doesn’t fit me there is always someone else …