Handmade historical costumes

When I write these blog posts, I try to consider what you, dear reader, will find interesting. I enjoy just about everything to do with textiles and hope that you will like the things I share with you too. You will find posts on this site about dressmaking, vintage and historical fabrics, costume, knitting, crochet, weaving – and more.

This week I want to share with you some beautifully made garments from the English Tudor and Elizabethan periods, stitched by  trained and experienced costume-maker Julia Soares-McCormick. I saw them at a Regional Day organised by Region 15E of The Quilters’ Guild.

First we saw the undergarments worn next to the skin. Only the shift (you can see it under the bodice) was washed as the outer layers were too sumptuous to be cleaned regularly.


Over the top, Anne Boleyn (wife of Henry VIII) wore the dress seen below, which is a modern representation of garments depicted in Holbein portraits. You can see the detailed beadwork on the bodice and the complexity of the sleeves in the photos below.


The clothing of Henry VIII was modelled by the maker’s son. Everything about this garments was to do with display, as you can see.


Also shown was the garment worn by Mary Queen of Scots at her execution – a black cloak and white veil.


Beneath this was a startling red dress, revealed just before the execution. It had a specific connotation: red was the colour of Catholic martyrs and Mary was executed on the command of her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth I.


Elizabeth’s own dress, complete with elaborate ruff was also on show.


Every part of these garments was hand-stitched as of course the originals would have been – impressive. Each one took three weeks work to make.

For more information about Julia’s work, go to ‘Julia Renaissance Costumes’, at http://www.tudortalkandcatwalk.com

Do you want to learn to make a quilt? I have a ‘Quilt in a Day’ class held at my studio at Ushaw, County Durham. For more details go to the ‘Classes’ page of the website or send me a message. Accommodation is available if you live outside the area.


Thank you for reading my blog. Quilt patterns are here, Fabrics are here, Classes are here.

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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