Looking the Part 1: Undergarments

 OK, so I have been in the business for a while.  I have been re-enacting even longer –  my first gig was in 1997 if I remember well, and I got into costume making almost straight away. True, I was … Continue reading

Eleanor through the ages

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 A slightly different post –  mostly to honour one of my most loyal customers – or, to be precise, a customer who, though the years of stitching, fittings, events etc, has became a very close friend. Eleanor now has a rather full wardrobe of Prior Attrie outfits, from medieval to Victorian –  and  I am going to present some of them below.

 The first contact was made through Ebay – Eleanor wanted to purchase one of the frocks i was selling – but needed it shorter..

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the houppelande on offer…

Shortening the gown was no problem, so we met at one of the markets and I have sorted it on the spot.. and that’s how it started… that is also how I met Ian from Black Knight Historical – but this i think will be another post… 🙂

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the gown on Eleanor, as Margaret Paston here

 12th century

 A gown fit for a queen – clothes for Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine

kirtle in silk, dress in silk with ornamental borders, veil and wimple

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 13th century 

 middle / lower class kirtle and dress in wool

Image and another early 13th frock, here at the fitting – wool with embroidery

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14th century

 a surcoat in cloth of gold – another queenly garment…

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 and a bit more modest, a nun’s outfit – 13-14th century

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15th century

 most of the work here was either kirtles for the camp or burgundian gowns – i have made 3… some of them below…

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at Tewkesbury

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Tewkesbury Abbey

16th Century

 here we started with an upper-middle class merchant’s wife..

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at kelmarsh

 a bit posher…

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at Blickling Hall, with a silk kirtle

and a silk velvet gown, for Peterborough cathedral

Image  An  early Elizabethan outfit – loose gown over a silk kirtle ( the same kirtle as above btw – it is reversible, plain gold on one side, brocade on the other….., coif and a cap

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  17th century 

 alas, nothing as yet…. i think…

 18th century

 a pair of brocaded stays, silk petticoat and brocade jacket. event blog here

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 19th century

 Regency – a gown in silk – here as a Mrs. Bennett, with me as her daughter – more details of the event here

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 Victorian

 a schoolmistress/egyptologist just a jacket by me. my first ever Victorian item too!

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 was a 1883 suit for my wedding – Eleanor was my Matron of Honour:-)

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then the mourning gown – work at Holkham ( blog  here)

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1885 mourning gown

 and a 1884 evening gown, also worn for our Spectacular Ball

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 I even did a Halloween corset and skirt for Eleanor – here worn for our Steampunk dinner at Coombe Abbey last autumn – not a best photo but we were too busy eating and having fun – so it is almost the only one I think…

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  and for the time being – that’s it! Many thanks to Eleanor for being a perfect client and a perfect friend – hope you enjoyed the journey too!

Being Katherine of Aragon

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  A few years ago I was contracted to ‘do’ Katherine of Aragon for  one of the events organized by Black Knight Historical. I have done Tudor work with them before,at another event, organized by Griffin Historical, at The British Museum in London.  No specific character was required at that time, but within minutes  I was branded Anne. Not my favourite character ( I can hear the outraged cry of many Ann’s fans!), but it was fun 🙂 I have been Anne a couple of time later and always enjoyed it.

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Anne at the British Museum

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BKH event in Kent – after hours fun. Anne has a new steed!

 But it was Katherine that always had a special place in my heart- for her serenity, patience, unwavering convictions and sheer obstinancy. Also, she was a foreigner here and has come to love the country as her own – and we share that trait too.   The commission required more studying, learning about Katherine’s background and ( but of course! ) a new outfit.

Since the timing for the event weas loosely agreed on the early years of Katherine;s marriage to Henry, 1510-15 or do, the new gown was based on the  tournament roll picture, where Katherine, freshly delivered of a son, watches her handsome prince joust.

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The Westminster Tournament Roll, the College of Arms.

 

The project was interesing, epecially recreating the early bonnet, but it was done ( the article how to recreate the look can be found here🙂 –  and Katherine appeared in the Peterborough Cathedral for the Royal audiences, side by side with her husband the king, for the first time.

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 It wasn’t the last time either – the event and the show was so popular, it has been booked, again, and again. It is a regular feature at the end of January, as a part of Katherine of Aragon festival held there. the festival commemorates her death ( Katherine is burried in the cathedral) and celebrates her life: there are  lectures,  tudor interpretors, dancing, music – in short, both education and entertainment combined.

 And of course, being out so often,Kathrine needed another gown too… this one is silver tissue:-)

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at Katherine’s grave, holding her symbol – a pomegranate.

  I have come to realy enjoy the event –   and not only because wearing a nice frock and being a royalty for a day, in lovely surroundings is fun. Interacting with public is different everytime – people ask different questions every year and as I prepare for the audiences and do my research, there is always something new to be learnt – about the customs of the period,  the dance, or about the remarkable woman who sat on the English throne next to her famous husband. or just as a chance to brush up on my Spanish:-)

 A short video form the last festival can be found here

 The knowledge and the kit came useful as well – Katherine appeared at the Blicking Hall, together with the other queens, and the new dress, with a new hood, served for Mary Tudor, the sister of the  king, for another event – a Christmas at Blickling Hall.

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  articles how to make tudor gown and French hoods if you want to have a go:-)

 

 Many thanks to the event organizers, as well as a certain Thoomas More, and a faithful lady in waiting, Eleanor:-)

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