Magpiecostumer's Blog

Archive for the category “Tudor”

Photos of the finished wedding garb

So as I posted all of my ‘in progress’ photos yesterday I thought I should share some photos of the final finished articles. All photos are courtesy of Bad Cat Photography used with permission.

lacing up the kirtle

lacing up the kirtle

lacing up the gown

lacing up the gown

My blackworked cuffs

My blackworked cuffs

sewing the placket on (I ran out of time to add hooks & eyes so I had to be sewn in on the day)

sewing the placket on (I ran out of time to add hooks & eyes so I had to be sewn in on the day)

B waiting for me at the church and enjoying his swoosh

B waiting for me at the church and enjoying his swoosh

The back of B's gown showing off the swoosh.

The back of B’s gown showing off the swoosh.

Full length photo of both of us

Full length photo of both of us

The whole silhouette not obscured by my veil

The whole silhouette not obscured by my veil

An action shot in which you can see my sleeves better.

An action shot in which you can see my sleeves better.

from the back with the train tied up to the inside

from the back with the train tied up to the inside


Finalising the Wedding garb

The completed kirtle

The completed kirtle

So, it’s been just over two months since our wedding and I thought it was about time I put up the in progress photos I took.

Each of the photos has a caption with a basic description so you should hopefully not be left too much in the dark. WordPress is failing at letting me move the pictures around so they are unfortunately all jumbled up and out of order.



Wedding garb022

B’s garb front. He made shirt, doublet & jerkin, the hose were purchased from Historic Enterprises

B's full outfit except for the gown

From the side

Modelling the outfit

My Foresleeves completed with jewels purchased from Etsy My Foresleeves completed with jewels purchased from Etsy

B's full outfit except for the gown

B’s full outfit except for the gown

B’s full outfit except for the gown
Gown bodice and sleeves over kirtle

Gown bodice and sleeves over the finished kirtle before I attached the placket or the skirt

With the sleeves pinned into position

With the sleeves pinned into position

With the sleeves pinned up , side view showing the way they are supposed to drape.

With the sleeves pinned up , side view showing the way they are supposed to drape.

That’s not my garb.

So this post is actually about boy garb as I spent yesterday evening helping my Fiance to fit his wedding doublet.

First up I have photos to illustrate the concept of how the side fastening doublet works (as it may be clearer than my description in the lastpost).

Ignore the fact that it’s on my dummy over the top of a dress  this is just an illustration of how it fastens. As you can see the sleeve is sewn into the armhole created by the back and side front peices then the full front piece is brought across to cover it up.  Much better for men with broad shoulders than the method I was envisioning of pulling it on over the head and then fasten the side seams (which is how the ladies side lacing kirtle is done.

Doublet side front

doublet open showing side front

Doublet Front

Doublet Closed

The other problem was the size of the sleeves, traced from the Tudor Tailor Henrician mens pattern pack the sleeves ere huge. The first step was to take the sleeve up by about 2 inches so it ends at his wrist, not his knuckles.

We liked the fullness in the top of the sleeve but it was getting in the way below elbow level so the second step was to taper it more below the elbow so that in the end the wrist opening was just big enough to fit his hand through comfortably. The next step is cutting silk.

The sleeve with the excess hidden.

The sleeve with the excess hidden.

The adjusted pattern

The adjusted pattern on top of the original

Kirtle Progress and Contemplating Skirt Supports

So my updates took longer than the few weeks I was expecting I have made some real progress in the construction of my kirtle, the interlining is cut out as is the lining.

But before I cut the brocade out I need to work out the skirt length, and for that I need to work out my skirt supports.

corded petticoat only

With a corded petticoat

farthingale only

With a Farthingale alone.

farthingale and petticoats

With a Farthingale and extra petticoats

I already have another Tudor gown and some underpinnings, however the farthingale will need replacing so I put on my old gown and tried all my underpinnings. I was hoping to get away with skipping a farthingale, but looking at a direct comparison using my old Tudor gown there’s no denying that the farthingale makes it look much better.


Doublet pattern

Tudor Tailor Henrician doublet pattern, front and side front.

On a side note I’m also helping my Fiance make his garb for the wedding. He’s up to the doublet stage and I finally had a revelation on how the side fastening doublet goes together. I had initially assumed it was a simple case of front and back pieces with a fastening along the side seam, but then there was a ‘right front’ piece that didn’t make any sense. I finally worked out that it is actually supposed to work like an extreme version of a double breasted jacket. The back is only sewn to the front panel on one side on the other side it is attached to the ‘right front’ and then the front overlaps and is hooked or tied on to the right front.


Wedding Garb 2; Kirtle bodice continued and contemplating jewelery

So I’ve taken the bodice in so it fits and is properly supportive. Based on a properly fitted bodice
I think the smaller ‘cups’ work better. On the side with a larger ‘cup’ I was getting some wrinkling
as my body tried to push it outwards but the fabric isn’t shaped to allow that. The boning covering
just the inch or so where my bust starts to curve outwards has a surprisingly big effect as there’s no
wrinkling on that side.

So now I need to adjust my pattern, to account for the inch or so I’ve taken off each seam (especially
adjusting the armhole curve) and cut new boning for one side of the bodice.

I’ve also been contemplating how to fasten the sleeves. Tudor foresleeves have an opening along
the outside of the arm which is caught together every few inches with the smock (whether real or
faked) puffing through the gaps. The joins in between the puffs of chemise were often decorated in
some way so I need to decide how I’m doing that.

Option Pros Cons
1. No fastenings – There’s some potraits where you can’t see any sort of fastening (e.g. Lady Guildford). Very easy just sew the piecestogether. I’m not a fan of this option though; it looks like you’ve forgotten something.
2. The Princess Elizabeth Ouches from Pewter Replicas  based on the portrait of Princess Elizabeth c.1545 This is probably the easiest decorative option, just throw money at the problem and it goes away.It fits with the wealth of the fabrics I have chosen. If I’m wearing all the jewels wouldn’t be entirely out of place. If I’m aiming for a minor nobility impression the jewels worn by the King’s daughter may not be the most appropriate choice.At £3.95 each enough to do both sleeves would cost over $100 plus shipping.
3. Tied together with what look like ribbon points. As seen in Holbein’s sketch of an English Woman. A relatively cheap option and a better fit for my persona’s status.The non-matching colour can be got around by making ribbons out of the fabric and bling can be added with aglets on end of the ribbons. Finding ribbon that matches my foresleeves/forepart fabric and the lack of bling.
4. Just decorative aglets that don’t seem to be attached to ribbons – as seen in portraits like The Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Hans Eworth A head pin and a set of several tube shaped beads would make nice customised aglets if I don’t need to actually fit a ribbon inside. This means another thing to make when I’m already in a time crunch.While it seems like it would be cheaper to make it yourself if I buy good quality beads from a local bead shop they are expensive and online shops only sell them in packs of 100 or more.

Wedding Garb, Kirtle bodice

So my current project is making a Henrician lady’s outfit based on The Tudor Tailor. This is a picture of our overall plan

As my wedding dress it actually marks a nice transition point for my SCA persona. When I was single
my persona was lady in waiting to the Countess of Worcester (as an explanation for why I didn’t
have male relatives with me wherever I went and was still unmarried in my late 20s) so this outfit
(far richer than either my father or my husband could afford) is her farewell/wedding gift to me.
This is why I have far more brocade than my groom where he has to make do with taffeta (a much
cheaper silk both in period and today). I’m also reflecting real life that I’m unlikely to ever make
another outfit this fancy again.

I’m starting this dress diary partway through the construction process as I think it may work as a
way to motivate myself to get things done. Right now I am up to a partly boned mockup of the kirtle
bodice. I’m starting this diary part way through this process as a way to keep me accountable and
make sure I keep working on this.

Today’s dilemma, how large do you make the ‘cups’ on a Henrician kirtle. The boning is laid out in
a way that leaves an area over the breasts unboned based on the corset in Patterns of Fashion as
worn by Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg

Dorothea Sabine von Neuburg`s snøreliv

The problem lies in the fact that the pattern in the book is designed for several sizes smaller than
me and I’ve had to grade it up, so I’m not sure where the boning is supposed to sit. Is it supposed to
sit below the breast in the same spot as the underwire on a bra or should it cover the bottom of the
breast so you have more of a smooth line?

As the Tudor Tailor facebook page didn’t provide a definite answer. My solution was to try it both
ways. I tried on the unboned mockup over my bra and marked where the underwire sits, on one side
I cut the bones to that length on the other I cut the bones 1 inch longer so they come up slightly over
the breast.

When I tried it on I found a more serious problem. It’s too big by about 3 inches I’m really not sure
how this is my second mockup and the other one fit well except for the length so I’m not sure if I lost
weight or I forgot to transfer the adjustments to the new pattern. In contrast to my usual situation
I’m actually hoping that it’s not because I’ve lost weight as I want this outfit to be wearable in August
2013 and I won’t have time available to do the adjustments closer to the date.

With the bodice loose like that I think the full cups work better but I need to check it when the
bodice has been adjusted to the right size.


After the disappointment of the Victorian festival I am glad to report that Kentwell lived up to and even exceded my expectations. I did not hear anybody break character once (though one spectator persisted in asking questions that couldn’t be answered by the character, she seemed to think that if she re-phrased the question enough times a different answer than ‘I don’t know’ would be produced) there was music, dancing, a feast. cooking, farm chores, a blacksmith and for some reason visiting a visiting Landsknecht plus a lot more. I spent more at Kentwell than I have anywhere else,  I spent just under £13 to get in for the day and then I spent a little over £30 in the gift shop.

Princess Mary outfit summary

Well I found that perhaps a blog isn’t any better at documenting my progress with a project than a regular website as I was so busy trying to get my outfit finished in time for College war that I didn’t get much internet time to update this as I went

The gown was finished enough to wear to the assassins feast on Friday night and it 1536 Elizabeth Widmerpole by Hans Holbeinwas entered into the A&S competition on Saturday morning. It is essentially finished except for seam finishing and hemming. I’m going to follow the book’s recommendation of binding the hem with velvet ribbon, it seems like a sensible solution and a period plausible one, (although I haven’t yet seen evidence one way or the other for it) as a binding can be removed and replaced when it wears out without any damage to the gown fabric and you can brush dirt off.

I like the way it fits the only issue I have with this construction is the way the kirtle shoulder straps are cut in one piece with the back bodice and come all the way over the shoulder to join the front of the bodice. I’ve only ever seen this in corsets (e.g. the effigy corset) and in those cases the shoulder strap ties on to the bodice. It didn’t occur to me before but one of the judges of the A&S comp (whose name I missed unfortunately) pointed out to me that this method puts a seam at the front in a relatively obvious place. I can’t really believe that an artist like Holbein would not show this seam when he shows other details of similar scale (e.g. you can’t see a seam there on this portrait of Elizabeth Widmerpole).

  • kirtle and low cut bodice for a woman from Alcega's tailor's manual 1589
  • I would rather follow the Alcega pattern that Mistress Oonagh sent me last time I was making a Tudor Kirtle which shows the shoulder strap at the front cut on the bias, this would achieve a similar effect to a single strap cut on the bias but with a seam on top of the shoulder instead of at the front.

    Photos will be forthcoming eventually but probably not for a while yet.

    The 1544 Princess Mary gown, part 1

    Mary02 My current costuming project is a gown based on this 1544 portrait of Princess Mary, in blue and gold, the colours of my college (The College of St Aldhelm). Construction is mainly based on The Tudor Tailor but as I have less than a month to complete this outfit (My deadline is the second week in July) I am taking a couple of machine shortcuts instead of following the instructions exactly.

    The Kirtle bodice so far

    So far the kirtle bodice is about halfway finished. The main structure is essentially finished but the armholes need binding and I need to sew eyelets, (I know from experience that eyelets will be the most time consuming part of the process) after that will come the kirtle skirt before I can move on to the gown.

    I decided to base my gown on this portrait because it shows sleeves lined with velvet rather than fur, using velvet means I can continue the gown’s blue and gold theme throughout the whole gown, which would have been broken up if I used the more typical Tudor option of fur (as I don’t know of any animal whose fur is naturally either blue or yellow).

    The photos to the right show the kirtle bodice, the main fabric is a delustred satin and it is lined with a red canvas for added support. I will sew the eyelets before I start on the skirt as its much easier to sew eyelets when you don’t have an extra 3 or 4 metres of fabric to fight every time you turn the bodice.

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