September 15, 2020

‘He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding' ... Troilus & Cressida, act 1, scene 1

A leather jerkin based on those found on the Mary Rose shipwreck dated 1545

Work continues apace on The Typical Tudor: reconstructing everyday 16th century dress.  However, The Tudor Tailor is sorry to announce that Jane has not completed her work on the project owing to a number of major family and personal challenges – all of which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus.

Some very interesting issues revealed by analysis of the 55,000 clothing items collected from wills, accounts and inventories need to be considered in the context of existing research on ordinary people’s dress. Cross-referencing and contextualising these findings is painstaking work. It is now proving very time consuming to tie the final edits together and integrate all the elements of the book into a seamless guide to dress for ordinary men and women in the Tudor era.

In common with many other organisations, The Tudor Tailor has experienced disappointments in 2020 and the team has had to recalibrate its expectations of what is feasible this year. Jane and Ninya have taken the difficult decision to delay the launch of The Typical Tudor until February 2021 when the Missing Persons conference which was postponed from April 2020 will take place. This will provide the opportunity to celebrate the book as originally planned in the company of collaborators, colleagues and customers with an exciting exploration of the source material on which it is based in Nottingham's historic courtroom.

Jane and Ninya are offering a pre-publication digital version of two completed sections of the book to those who have already preordered and are happy to wait until February 2021 for its delivery. 'Women’s coats & waistcoats' provides an overview of evidence for these garments from 1485 to 1603 and continues the story of cover girl Harlie des Roches’ Not So Typical Tudor adventure. It illustrates how her contributions to the pattern-testing process have come together. The second section is on men’s jerkins, featuring one in leather based on those found on the shipwreck of the Mary Rose dated 1545. The book is more than three-quarters complete and these two sections provide a preview of what it offers for more than 50 men’s and women’s garments.

The book extract will be sent out by email on Monday 21 September to preorder customers as a token of appreciation for their continued support. Jane and Ninya hope that, despite the financial challenges which the coronavirus has brought to so many people, most readers will consider waiting until the new year for delivery of their copy. Preorder customers will have received a personal email with this news from (please do check your spam filter, if yours has not arrrived yet).

In the meantime, anyone who would like to volunteer their services as a pattern tester before the end of 2020 can choose from many new garments featured in the book which will benefit from makers’ feedback. Patterns for underwear, petticoats, a range of men’s and women’s top garments and a variety of headwear await test runs by readers of any experience or expertise. Please email for a full list of patterns if you would like to participate.

The pandemic has also caused some inevitable delays with practical matters such as the availability of a tried and tested printing service to which the new book can be entrusted. This month’s good news is that the second edition of The King’s Servants is now on the presses. Look out for the shiny new copies in our Etsy shop later this month! The new edition of The King’s Servants will serve as a helpful test of the printers with which Jane and Ninya hope to continue working in the future. Ninya and Melanie also have been decorating the 'nursery' for The Tudor Tailor’s new arrivals. The studio stock room is undergoing a transformation to accommodate deliveries of The King’s Servants and The Typical Tudor, when it is printed.

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