Today I Welcome a Visiting Author to My Blog:
Judith Arnopp, How to Dress Like a Tudor
PROLIFIC HISTORICAL FICTION WRITER FROM THE UK, JUDITH ARNOTT, HAS STOPPED BY TO TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT ONE OF HER LATEST BOOKS – “HOW TO DRESS LIKE A TUDOR.”
I don’t always dress like a Tudor lady, but I could if I wished, and so could you.
My first attempt to sew my own historically inspired gown was so, so bad, but luckily, I made it from an old pair of curtains – curtains I quickly realised were far too small for the purpose. Undaunted, I bought more fabric and began again with better results this time, but it wasn’t until my third gown that I finally came up with a wearable and reasonably historically accurate garment.
By this time my husband was also into dressing up for Tudor events, so I began to make clothes for him too. He now has almost as many different outfits as me. He has a rather fetching medieval kit that he wears to represent Richard, Duke of York, and a very smart Tudor costume for when he plays the Duke of Norfolk. Then my son decided to join in, and I made him a set of clothes so he could be Henry VIII. Unfortunately, he can’t come out with us very often but when he does, he makes the perfect king.
I have two very good friends who are also interested in the Tudors and keen to join me in starting a small group, The Fyne Companye of Cambria, and now in the summer we haunt the castles of Wales. There are four main members now with others who come out with us when they can. We are not purists and don’t take ourselves very seriously; we believe re-enactment should be fun and if our costumes are not quite right, they are close enough to convince the visitors to the castles. We enjoy adding to their experience and sometimes the caste throws in a free lunch – what could be better than that?
My first few sewing projects almost proved too much for me, but I learned quickly and am still learning. I will never be an expert, but my most important lesson was not to be afraid of it. I now know how to construct a stiffened bodice, how to pleat miles and miles of skirt into a tiny (well, it seems tiny in comparison) waistband. My methods are not always authentic, but I manage to produce French hoods, gabled hoods, coifs, and bags for fellow re-enactors and have also sewn a couple of medieval houppelande gowns, shifts and kirtles, and several more Tudor gowns. I used to have an Etsy shop but couldn’t keep up with demand and there was a danger of my hobby becoming a chore.
I do not and never will rank among the best sewers, so I was surprised to be asked to write a book about my journey for Pen and Sword books. There are far more accomplished historical sewers out there, but as I said before, I like a challenge. In the book I cover the history of Tudor fashion from the reign of Henry VII to Elizabeth I, but the focus of interest is Henry VIII. I also offer tips for those considering taking the plunge and making their own Tudor inspired clothing.
If nothing else How to Dress like a Tudor does what it says on the cover and illustrates that with research, patience, determination and sometimes a little bit of cheating, anyone can dress like a Tudor.
Judith Arnopp writes historical fiction set during the late medieval and Tudor period. Her usual focus is on the women who lived close to the monarch, women like Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth of York, and Mary Tudor, but more recently she has been writing from the perspective of Henry VIII himself. Her books are on Kindle, Audible and in Paperback.
You can find her fiction books here: http://author.to/juditharnoppbooks
She also writes non-fiction, her work featuring in many anthologies and online magazines. Her latest non-fiction, How to Dress like a Tudor published by Pen & Sword Books is available now.
Judith is a founder member of a reenactment group The Fyne Company of Cambria, and began making Tudor costumes for herself, her husband, John, and other members of the group. It was this that inspired How to Dress like a Tudor and she hopes to write more non-fiction Tudor history in the future.
I recently was a guest on Judith’s website, and it was fun to have her visit mine today.