The Tudors Women's Costumes for Halloween
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!
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 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.
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 courtClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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.
Includes patterns for seventeen different Tudor headdresses, including French hoods and gable bonnets.
Tudor Ladies' Fashion Show - Costumes to inspire youClick thumbnail to view full-size
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