(The resolution to post more often has almost been scuppered before getting started!)
Before Christmas we finally finished the set of school boy and school girl outfits for 5-7yrs. (yay!)
We’ve now started on some new quick-try-on outfits for the Hayloft for children. We’ve adapted the usual patterns to be open all the way down the back and secured with ties. There’ll be a couple of things for adults too, but it’ll be mostly for kids. (I wonder how long it’ll be before a grown man is wearing a 4yr old’s dress as a coat?! Maybe visitors will be too sensible this year.)
There’ll also be some new items for costume days, dates of which are being sorted out, but the first this year is on Easter Monday.
We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog over the last few weeks but we’ve been rather loud and busy in the sewing room!
We’re looking forward to our next costume day for visitors on Monday 27 July.
We’ve been making new and adapting old clothes for volunteers and staff to wear during our ‘Tudor-tastic’ August (which actually starts in the last week of July!). We have house, garden and shop people eager to join in.
The hobby horse jousting is back again this summer, and have been revamped – ably modelled by our Tudor assistant in the photo.
Some of us have also been learning Tudor dances because we’re having dancing workshops on Wednesdays during August. It’s quite gentle and basic so far, but we haven’t tried it out in Tudor dress yet. We’re not quite ready for galliards and voltas…
We’ve also made a start on a set of outfits for younger school children, about 6 yrs old. The girls are finished, next step is to complete the boys’ schoolboy outfits.
Over the last week or so we’ve been cutting out patterns for our schools’ project. It’s easy to forget how long it actually takes to cut out each pattern, and it is taking longer than originally planned. We’ve done quite a few, it’s just the odd one or two that have caused befuddlement (so far); it’s back to the drawing board for a monk’s habit, which was far too skimpy and pathetic looking, and finally nailed an early noblewoman’s gown after cutting out 4 back skirt pieces instead of 2 front and 2 back, and a piece for the front that was too short. (I reckon we can use the extra bits for a cloak.) This wasn’t helped much by being in velvet so the pile had to be right too.
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.
It’s been a while since the last post – quite a lot’s been happening.
The DIY dress up clothes in the Hayloft seem to have gone down well, although whenever I go up there it looks like a tornado’s gone through and totally disorganised.
Before the main season ended at Trerice, we helped with the spooky Trerice by Night for Halloween. Some of the dummies were dressed up in costume and put in dark corners, one was made up as a man in a large black hat echoing a poem written by one of the volunteers which was given to visitors about ghosts around the house. We also made some people for the stocks, one of which was headless with a pool of blood made from red velvet! There was also a Miss Haversham style wedding cake complete with rat and spiders for the Hall table – one volunteer dressed up as Miss Haversham and sat really still for most of the night, only occasionally moving and scaring visitors silly.
This year’s property raffle raised money for costumes for school visits as well as general visits. It was originally thought to do a set of Tudor clothes similar to what’s already been done but based on different roles and professions that might have been connected to an Elizabethan manor. However, the government have kindly changed the history curriculum for 2014 for primary age kids, so the Tudors possibly/probably no longer feature. We’ll have to somehow check what will happen and maybe alter our plans a bit.
In the meantime we’ve started on extra clothes for next spring/summer including an adult cloak in a rusty red, a small boy’s doublet in left over rusty red with yellow slashes and decoration, the old cream and pink gown is in the process of being remodelled because the cream was damaged with age- it is transforming into a goldish colour gown with cream kirtle underneath. There was a rather misshapen wired farthingale used under the old dress, that through some genius thought of one costume member, has been re-stiffened and now looks pretty good and will stand up so much better to mass usage than willow or normal wire – we used curtain wire! We’re taking a step into the 1590s after several requests from younger girls to wear our 10 year olds dress, which is far too big for them, a posh dress for 6-7 year olds is under way complete with French farthingale and a pair of bodies (slight cheating here too, because used cable ties for the boning).
I had a trip to London as well a couple of weeks ago and picked up some ideas which we might be able to use… visited the ‘Elizabeth I and her people’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which was brilliant. There were some flat caps there which were tiny, smaller than I expected, and loads of lovely pictures which I’ve seen several times in costume books. I also stayed for the late night opening entitled ‘Elizabethans undressed’ which was amazing; I took some photos but unfortunately they came out rubbish.