Recently, I have been very much engrossed in all things Tudor (well, apart from all things Victorian, of course!). I have always loved the Middle Ages, but the Tudor period somehow did not interest me that much (and, certainly, not being English, I didn’t study it at school in detail, the way my children do). I was slowly starting to warming up to the 16th century when suddenly a lightening struck – in a shape of A Girl for All Time Matilda! Having read the book that came with my Matilda – about Matilda and her cousin Katherine Howard at the Tudor Court – I felt a great desire to continue reading about the period.
As a result, to this date I have studied a couple of books on Tudor Fashion, got totally hooked on Philippa Gregory’s books (have just finished The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance and am currently reading The Constant Princess about Catherine of Aragon) and also at the same time am reading Antonia Fraser’s book about the wives of Henry VIII.
Now I have quite a few projects based on Tudors. For my large BJD dolls I am planning to recreate historically accurate Tudor outfits with all the required layers.
However, for Matilda I decided to simplify things a bit as I didn’t want to create too much bulk. So, her Tudor gown consists of a kirtle skirt (that is, just a skirt and not a dress that was worn under the gown and is visible at the front under the main skirt), the gown itself, the French hood, the girdle and a pearl necklace.
The kirtle skirt is made of the gold metallic brocade. It is fully lined with white batiste and has a belt that closes with a snap. The gown is made of the red polyester taffeta and gold metallic brocade for the sleeves. It is fully lined: the bodice – with white batiste, the skirt – with red cotton. The gown closes at the back with snaps. It also has bead embroidery along the neckline. As a base for the gown I used a pattern from Carpatina but I had to adjust it a lot.
The French hood took me a few attempts before I was satisfied with the result (the first two hoods ended up in a bin). I didn’t like the way those first hoods stood up like a Russian headdress (kokoshnik) while a French hood is supposed to lie quite flat on a head. In the end I used a basic idea for the historically accurate French hood and it worked! The French hood is made of the same polyester taffeta interlined with buckram.
The gown and the French hood are also hand-embroidered with tiny pearls and beads.
I love the girdle. I finished the outfit itself quite some time ago, but couldn’t decide what to do for the girdle (Medieval / Tudor belt). I was lucky to find this vintage chain with pearls on Etsy. As soon as it arrived, the girdle was completed. (I guess, needless to say that I immediately returned to the shop and stocked up on the remaining quantity of the chain?)
I must say, I really enjoyed making this Tudor gown. So, it is definitely not the last one I have made for Matilda!