Tudor clothes include the outfits used at the Court of King of England Henry VIII. Both male and female garments are ornate, noble-looking, and expensive. But today, we’ll talk about one of the women’s gowns. Let’s look at the pieces of a Tudor French dress and find out how to put them on correctly. The curious thing about this attire is the sleeves that are worn separately from the main dress.
To start, I’m wearing a linen shirt and a bodice. The next piece is a bumroll. The bumroll helps to support the weight of the skirts and create the right silhouette. I pin mine to my bodice for it not to slip down or come untied.
The next piece is a farthingale, or a hoopskirt. Mine is just a bridal hoop, with the hoop sizes altered for a conical silhouette.
Now, all the shaping garments are on. These are important for the correct historical silhouette. The Tudor female gown always had a conical shape, contrary to the male square silhouette.
The next piece is a kirtle, or an underdress. Lower class women would just wear a kirtle (or two) and go out. But it served as an undergarment for the noble classes. Mine is made of linen and laces up each side.
Next are the forepart and sleeves. These show off very expensive fabrics without using a lot of fabric and are interchangeable to create different combinations and outfits. The sleeves have ribbons attached to them which are tied through an eyelet sewn in the kirtle shoulder. It can be very tricky to wear it on your own!
Finally, the gown. This has very heavy cartridge pleats at the back which are supported by the bumroll. It laces across the front.
A stomacher covers the lacing so it wouldn’t be seen. Historically, it would be pinned in place but mine closes with snaps. There are a lot of skirts to adjust.
Finally, the French Hood – one of the widespread headdresses of the period.
People often ask questions about this garment. Here are the most popular of the questions.
– Is it heavy?
– Yes, it weighs 16.5 lbs (about 7.5 kg) altogether.
– Aren’t you hot in that?
– About as hot as you’d be if you were wearing 3-4 T-shirts and carrying a 20 lb backpack.
– How long does it take you to get dressed?
– About 7 min to get into my corset and 10 min to get into everything else.