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Change your sleeves - change your look - Almain sleeves

July 19, 2021

In this series of posts I’m going to share my experience of making different types of sixteenth century sleeves,  starting with a fashion called Almain sleeves.  I made these when pattern testing for the Tudor Tailor’s forthcoming book “The Typical Tudor”, which will include full  instructions. - learn more here The Tudor Tailor


Here I’ll just give you a flavour of the construction techniques involved.



But first a bit of background……………….

Sixteenth century sleeves, both for men and for women, were often separate items, sometimes made up …

Lifting the veil that separates us from times long past - St. Thomas a Becket, Bridford, Devon

July 19, 2021

Devon’s churches have stood sentinel over the lives of countless generations and remain to give us a unique window into forgotten times.   Stonework, windows, roof timbers, magnificent carvings, glorious painted rood screens, fonts and pulpits, monuments, memorials and gravestones - all evoke a strong spirit of place and past lives.  Many of these ancinet buidlings have hardly changed since those masons and carpenters laboured long to create such enduring beauty.  As a writer I spend a lot of time exploring these wonderful survivors, walking in the footsteps of those …

The Challenge of Creating an Elizabethan Ruff

May 02, 2021

No item of clothing more clearly signals the Elizabethan age than the ruff.  The wearers, men and women alike, hold their heads proudly above those familiar cartwheels of crisp white folds in many a portrait.


Don’t believe anyone who tells you this fashion statement came about as a means to catch the dribbles down your chin when eating dinner!  It is thought that ruffs evolved from decorated collars that adorned shifts and men’s shirts from the early 1500s onwards. 




Finding inspiration - Luppitt Church East Devon - June 2019

April 27, 2021

On a warm June day the sheep graze in the green pastures around the sleepy little village of Luppitt in East Devon just as they have since ancient times.  Perhaps the hedges are more neatly trimmed, the fields more divided, the hills less densely wooded than they were in the sixteenth century, but the contours of Devon’s rolling countryside remain unchanged.

Luppitt lies four miles due north of Honiton, two miles west of the River Otter. In early sources the name of the village was rather endearingly written  “Love-pit” -  supposedly a reference to a monastery …

Pandemic - spare a thought for those who went before.

April 21, 2021

A new disease is sweeping through continental Europe at alarming speed, felling all in its path.  It enters England through the south coast ports and soon reaches London where rich and poor alike succumb.  Soon its tendrils spread through the whole country: even as far as Devon where the graveyards fill rapidly.  It’s an all too familiar scenario.  But the year is 1557 and Mary Tudor sits on the throne of England.

This was no swift killer like the sweating sickness or the plague, which, it was said, …

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