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The Tudors Women's Costumes for Halloween

Updated on October 11, 2014

Heads will turn as you sweep into court...

Dress up for your Halloween party as tragic Queen Anne or feisty Princess Elizabeth from "The Tudors"! Heads will turn as you sweep in attired as an elegant lady of King Henry's court.

The reigns of the Tudor monarchs in sixteenth century England featured some of the lushest and most elegant women's clothing in history. The typical laced bodice with pointed waistline, pleated skirts, sweeping sleeves, and square neckline flatter every figure from petite to plus sizes.

You can purchase an instant costume online, or make your own gorgeous court lady's Halloween outfit with these patterns, accessories, and references. Read on to find out how!

[Buy The Tudors poster]

Sixteenth Century Elegance

The fast, easy way to make a Halloween costume is to put it together with purchased pieces. Here’s how to get the look without the labor!

Pick out a pretty costume gowns and add sumptuous jewelry to make a striking party ensemble.

Tudor Dress

Tudor gowns are recognizable by a distinctive square-necked, fitted bodice that joins the full skirt with a pointed waist seam in front. In the original style the bustline was raised and flattened by a corset, but even with modern undergarments the shapely bodice is flattering to everyone.

The full, bell-shaped skirt, gathered to the trim waistline, flows gracefully to the ground. A front split in the heavy overskirt reveals a richly brocaded or embroidered underskirt. Likewise the full sleeves turn back to show off luxurious undersleeves.


Faux Pearl Replica Anne Boleyn Necklace (Gift Boxed)
Faux Pearl Replica Anne Boleyn Necklace (Gift Boxed)

Anne Boleyn's famous pearl necklace featured a monogram "B" with three pendant teardrop pearls. Wear it framed by a longer strand of pearls.

You can make a similar style by attaching a jeweled brooch to a short string of pearls, and hanging one or more pendants from the brooch. It's an elegant fashion that ought to come back in style!

 

Tips on Jewelry

Jewelry of the period was rich and heavy; chains of gold links, ropes of pearls, large gemstones, and enamel were used as lavishly as the wearer could afford. Faceting was not as advanced as today, and the stones were cut with flat faces, or rounded into cabochons. Gold necklaces had large oval links, and ladies sometimes wore several together.

One popular style was to wear a short necklace with a pendant, and a longer necklace dropping inside the neckline. Other ladies would wear several gold chains outside the neckline, pinned at the armscye to keep them taut across the stomacher.

You can imitate Tudor jewelry with older costume jewelry. This would be a good use for broken pieces, which you can purchase in lots on eBay, or at thrift stores and yard sales. Attach pearl drops to the bottom of pendants and brooches, and sew individual stones and pearls into the brocade pattern of your gown.

Tudor Jewelry Gallery - Jewels from the English court

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chequers Ring concealed portraits of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I.Large gold brooch with pendant pearls.Jeweled pendant Gold chains outside neckline. Gold cross with pendant pearls.Original designs for Tudor jewelry.Pendant necklace paired with long pearl strand.
Chequers Ring concealed portraits of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I.
Chequers Ring concealed portraits of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I. | Source
Large gold brooch with pendant pearls.
Large gold brooch with pendant pearls. | Source
Jeweled pendant
Jeweled pendant | Source
Gold chains outside neckline.
Gold chains outside neckline. | Source
Gold cross with pendant pearls.
Gold cross with pendant pearls. | Source
Original designs for Tudor jewelry.
Original designs for Tudor jewelry. | Source
Pendant necklace paired with long pearl strand.
Pendant necklace paired with long pearl strand. | Source

Rich Design

Tudor clothes were also notable for their rich design. All the costumes had multiple layers, both for warmth and to show off contrasting fabrics.

Lords and ladies at court displayed their wealth on their clothing. The fabrics were the richest silks, brocades, and furs that could be obtained, trimmed with bright jewels and elaborate embroidery.

So choose a costume in bright colors and sparkling trims. Faux undersleeves and underskirts give the right layered look, and faux jewels make you look as rich as a queen!

Tudor Clothing Patterns

Choose your own colors and styles by sewing your Halloween costume! Note that the Tudor dresses feature a boned bodice with a stiff front placket, to give a straight front line with high cleavage. Unless you are small-breasted, you'll need to make or buy an appropriate straight corset.

The Tudor Lady's Wardrobe Pattern
The Tudor Lady's Wardrobe Pattern

This pattern is worth the price! It includes more than a hundred pages of instructions, and patterns for both ladies' and servants' clothes in US sizes 2-30.

Your wardrobe consists of: Gown with three styles of sleeves and optional train; Kirtle with three styles of undersleeves; Smock with detachable cuffs; Under partlet and over partlet; Two styles of cap; English gable headdress; French hood; Apron; and Sash.

 

Tips on Fabric

Wealthy Tudor ladies used rich, heavy fabrics for their clothes. They contrasted several different textures and types of fabric in each outfit, and often trimmed the whole with soft, thick fur.

You'll find equivalent fabrics in the upholstery department. For the gown or underskirt, find brocades in dark or jewel tones, patterned with ancient motifs such as pomegranates, paisley, or fleur-de-lis. Match with heavy satin and thick velvet in complementary colors. Be on the lookout for old velvet or brocade curtains that people want to replace.

It's easiest to buy faux fur by the yard in a fabric store. If you want real fur, look for old coats and stoles at thrift stores and yard sales or post a request on Craigslist.

The undergarment, a long-sleeved chemise with ruffled and embroidered neck and wrists, was originally made of fine silk or linen. You can use muslin, soft white cotton, or linen. Old, soft linen tablecloths are good candidates for recycling into chemises.

Tudor Era Headdresses, C. 1490-1580 A.d Pattern
Tudor Era Headdresses, C. 1490-1580 A.d Pattern

Includes patterns for seventeen different Tudor headdresses, including French hoods and gable bonnets.

 

Tudor Ladies' Fashion Show - Costumes to inspire you

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stiffened front placket Gable headdress Fur-lined sleeves & belt purse Popular blackwork embroidery on sleeves of chemise.
Source
Stiffened front placket
Stiffened front placket | Source
Gable headdress
Gable headdress | Source
Fur-lined sleeves & belt purse
Fur-lined sleeves & belt purse | Source
Source
Source
Source
Popular blackwork embroidery on sleeves of chemise.
Popular blackwork embroidery on sleeves of chemise. | Source
Source
Easy Renaissance Untabbed (Early Tudor) Corset with Optional Back Support
Easy Renaissance Untabbed (Early Tudor) Corset with Optional Back Support

Straight-front, backlaced corset is worn over your chemise to give you the correct shape for Tudor gowns. A fashion essential!

The pattern comes in US sizes 8-24, and includes optional back support for bumrolls

 

© 2013 Valerie Proctor Davis

Comments - What costumes have you made?

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    • Erebos411 profile image

      Erebos411 3 years ago

      I use to belong to an organization that put on Renaissance festival so I made myself the dress. I loved being able to dress up as someone else. Years ago for Halloween I rented a costume and went as Henry VI last wife - Katherine Parr. It was lots of fun.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 3 years ago from Australia

      I have made Halloween costumes for my daughter, but have never been adventurous enough to enter King Henry's court.

    • KathyZ1 profile image

      KathyZ1 3 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • NatureFan LM profile image

      NatureFan LM 3 years ago

      I have never made a costume. I'm not handy with needle and thread outside of replacing buttons. However, you have very excellent resources here. Nicely done. Thank you.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      The only costume I ever made was a Roman toga and it was basically a straight "tube", using a belt to hitch it up round the waist. I decided at that point, that costume making was not for me! I love your idea of Tudor costumes for Hallowe'en. I would buy one, rather than make but your information on hats and jewellery is really useful.

    • profile image

      JessicaJohn 3 years ago

      no doubt these are amazing Halloween costumes,