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)

Another busy week…

We’re looking forward to seeing the new wall hanging in Reception. Hopefully it will be on the wall soon.

 
Final adjustments were made to the Poldark-esque clothes for the murder mystery that took place on Saturday night, and we got ready for the second May Bank Holiday Costume Day.

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Today we had another Costume Day, which turned out to be a record breaker for us – 165 visitors dressed in 4 hours. Time to put our feet up for a bit! 

                A few of the visitors’ comments:

“A fantastic experience that was entertaining and informative. A huge thank you to all involved”.

         “Great idea! My 2 yr old didn’t want to take it off!”

“Amazing costumes. Came back twice! A great experience. Thank you”.

          “A lovely, fun and informative activity. We all enjoyed dressing up in the beautiful costumes. Thank you!”

Not long now

The first costume day of the summer holidays is fast approaching – only a few hours. We’re looking forward to helping visitors step back in history and tread in the footsteps of the 16th century Arundell family of Trerice by trying on something from our range of Tudor clothes. Fun for all the family and hopefully the weather will hold out nice. 

Our new Hayloft collection

The DIY costume collection for the Hayloft is coming on a treat. These are the simplified, easy to put on dresses and doublets which can be worn without having help to dress (compared to those for costume days). All the outfits have been started and some even completed. Thoughts have now turned to cloaks and headwear. 

    
     

Tripping the light fantastic…

…or tripping up! 

We’ve been learning new steps for Tudor dancing on Wednesdays, the Scottish Branle, which is much quicker than other dances we’ve done so far and involves kicks and jumps. I think we’ve almost got it, although keeping balance and remembering lefts and rights has been tricky – nearly toppled once or twice. 

Hardly less energetic, the costume days have been going down well this summer. Only three left to go.

If anyone fancies a Tudor-themed workout volunteering at Trerice is the place! 

Getting ready for summer 2015

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. 

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…

2014 season here we come!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Costume detour continues

The collection of quick-try-on clothes is coming together. We’ve now got Tudor style dresses in a variety of sizes, some doublets and hose, hats, ruffs and collars, and some Stuart style dresses.

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Having some Stuart style clothes to accessorise provides an opportunity to have a go at some of the linen headwear and collars in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion book 4, and gives an excuse to use some of the lace that’s been donated to us, but hasn’t found a use yet – so far a hood, a coif, two lace-edged collars and a version of a supportasse or rebato.

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