Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tudor Costume: Farthingale and Roll

Here are some more photos of the Tudor costume I am creating for the Much Hadham Forge Museum. After the chemise and corset comes the farthingale - a hooped skirt used to create the fashionable cone shaped silhouette of the 16th Century. This shape is known as the 'Spanish Farthingale'.

A farthingale is the Tudor equivalent of the Victorian crinoline. Rather than using numerous heavy and hot petticoats, a hooped skirt is used as a supporting structure for overskirts. Originally, these would have been stiffened with cane or whalebone. I have used the modern equivalent - flexible steel boning, which holds its shape very well but is still lightweight.

The farthingale gives the skirt its conical shape, however there is still little volume at the waistline. In this place, a roll is used. It is a simple crescent shape densely stuffed with, in this case, wadding. In the 1500s, they would have used hair, rags, straw or feathers to make these cushion-like body paddings. It is tied with tapes under the bodies or corset, to ensure that the flat front remains uninterrupted.

NOTE: I used the 'Spanish Farthingale' and 'Medium Roll' patterns from the wonderful book The Tudor Tailor to create these pieces of costume. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in making a Tudor costume of their own!
To learn more about the incredible wall paintings that are inspiring this Tudor costume, you can visit the Much Hadham Forge Museum in Hertfordshire: www.hadhammuseum.org.uk

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