Introducing my Kentwell Costume [ Tudor ] Sewing blog

Kentwell costuming – The preamble[technorati 7DXSZYM495ZD ]

in august of last year we went to a tudor recreation at Kentwell Hall. My elder daughter fell in love with the idea of being a tudor reenactor there. we visited again at Michaelmas, and she was definitely convinced. Since the death of my sister, i try a new [crazy] thing each year with my girls in memory of her. This would be Kentwell for 2012.

However…the big issue was costume making. I have never sewed any clothes/costumes before, and the amount of sewing I have done in a lifetime is pretty minimal. However, I thank my upbringing for at least some basic knowledge. Also, I have a very busy full time job, as well as wanting to be a full time mum, and i was preparing to make an entire outfit plus changes for 4 people. This meant I couldn’t leave starting till knowing I was accepted – likely date April, leaving 2 months to make clothes! SO I bought linens for the underlayers to start with [shifts and petticoates] and took them along to first open day in march to check i was on the right track. In the meantime I followed the tudor costume page fairly slavishly and advise from people I knew had done reenactment before. I would recommend making linens first – shift or petticoat [i made the petticoats first] and having 2 shifts, petticoats done by first open day, and possibly the other linens too if a family [which is what I did]. i have ordered the blog posts here tho out of their original order, so you work your way out [as it were] . To do this, I have artificially given them dates going back in time. Ignore this completely ;)

I also hope that friends who started sewing the same year I did, or are doing other tudor re-enactments might also either write a post about what they made, or submit dressed photos/acceptance photos that I will put in, so you see lots of variations. These will have the tudor year as the category, so should be sortable by anyone who is bothered too :) [ie me :) ]

other useful books

Once accepted for Kentwell, we then had the availability of Kentwell sewing weekends – of which there are a number – to help new and old participants make tricky things. The Kentwell costume notes [on their website only, though some of the pdf's do show up if you google] and the costume elves, who were v helpful and you could meet up with or ping emails and photos to. I aimed to make all the clothes by the second costume day and have them ‘signed off’. I didn’t quite make it [jerkin, my jacket and my hat were then signed of subsequently by email]

Throughout this blog are liberal disclaimers to following me slavishly – and i hope i have written in good time where I would do things differently. I see this blog both as a record of my pride in actually making clothes :) and also for anyone else completely new starting before their acceptance and wanting some visual aids to use alongside patterns, books and scraps of paper. I don’t think you could just use my blog :)

you will need for a week

[and check with your re-enactment groups or the Kentwell year you ascribe to] [-edited to add in 2013 - kentwell have had a major change of costume advice here, partic for women so the shifts are still right, but an emphasis on woollen skirted petticoat bodies potentially with fitted sleeved woolen jacket rather than a kirtle over the top, so quite different, so i really must emphasise check with your re-enactment group before you start making, as things can change even in a year!]

mid-tudor working women/older girls: – 2-3 shifts each [more= better], petticoate/petticoate with bodies [latter prob becoming the more accepted], kirtle with none or fixed short sleeves, then pointed sleeves or forepart sleeves to fix in [ maybe 2 pairs] partlet or pinner [partlet of wool good if cold] , coif [or 2], head fillet, 2 aprons as a minimum [if cooking/near a fire consider a wool one]. Additions of a woollen hat and jacket very welcome for when weather inclement and consider a gown. [and buy netherhose/stockings]

tudor girls: – 2-3 shifts, kirtle with pointed sleeves, simple coif/biggin, 2 aprons, jacket [and buy non ribbed opaque tights for netherhose]

mid-tudor working men: – 2-3 shifts, linen pourpoint/petticoate to point to hose, hose of appropriate styling for year, doublet or jerkin depending on station = maybe both [seek individual advice], hat [and buy in netherhose.stockings]. possibly a coif, gown, apron depending on station too.

The result

here we are, in our approved 1556 Kentwell clothes for mid-tudor men, women and children – initially with the layers demonstrated by my younger daughter:

Applying for sign off BB


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2 Responses to Introducing my Kentwell Costume [ Tudor ] Sewing blog

  1. Sonia Preece says:

    Hello Sewers,
    Can you tell me please what is the criteria for joining the Kentwell sewing group?
    Sonia Preece

  2. Helen says:

    As in going to one of the sewing weekends arranged by the kentwell elves? that is applying to reenact at kentwell and being accepted [it is application time currently?]
    i think there just tends to be ppl making at the same time that ‘hook up’ through the kentwell participants noticeboard and steadily send each other more panicky sounding questions :) either there or on other social media sites.
    none of the people i sewed with [as it were - as we were other sides of country using internet as our interface!] have written blog posts, if you were wondering!
    happy sewing :)

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