New year, new projects

We have some exciting plans in the pipeline for the coming year.

This year the property is having the theme of ‘Trerice in 10 objects’, one of which will be the embroidered nightcap we made a few years ago! This will be an opportunity to highlight what the various things the Costume Group does in the attempt to bring history to life. Part of this will be to make various hats through the ages from the Middle Ages to the mid 20th century. I’m looking forward to having a go at some of the really outlandish ones.

Elsewhere, we’ve been finishing more outfits for the Hayloft collection and started on a new adult-size late Elizabethan gown for the Costume Days. On top of this there is still the repair and upkeep of the existing clothes, including ruffs.

The ruffs have been washed since last summer, but some look a bit like they’ve been sat on.

To reshape them I soaked them in a mixture of water and pva glue. We’ve found this is more hard-wearing than traditional starch, with so many people wearing them during the season. I made the most of the very few sunny and dry days over Christmas to tackle them.

Depending on the size of the ruff sets bent straws or pieces of foam hair rollers were stuffed in the gaps to straighten and shape the ruffs. They look a bit odd but it helps to prevent them sticking together and keep the shape while they dry. In the past I’ve found curling tongs, which I thought might act like a poking iron, inconveniently have a safety bit of plastic at the tip and the heat doesn’t get to the fabric properly. So this is the best I’ve come up with at the moment – I originally tried balls of cotton wool and painted on the glue around the edges but that got very messy and fluffy!

The ruffs were left to dry tied into shape around old biscuit tins and bits of flowerpots, for about 24 hours.

They looked a lot better when the straws and rollers were removed.

That’s a bit more like it!

Now I’m just waiting for some more good weather before Easter to finish the rest!

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