March 23, 2023

'Behold this pattern' ... Richard III, act 1, scene 2

Jane and Ninya launched the new patterns for men’s jerkins and women’s smocks at the recent Artisans and Reenactors Market

The Tudor Tailor team has been hard at work producing new sewing patterns to make it easier to reconstruct two typical 16th century garments: men’s jerkins and women’s smocks. The patterns showcase the new, improved design for the instructions and packaging, which are based on feedback and suggestions from pattern testers. They now feature user-friendly sizing guidelines, lists of the sources used to develop the reconstructions, and charts showing the most usual textile and colour choices. There are also tables suggesting the garments’ appropriateness for specific date ranges in the Tudor era and for different ranks of people.

The improved patterns have required investment in a new ‘toy’ which is now installed at Tudor Tailor Towers – a gigantic printer for producing size A0 pattern pieces. This guarantees a lower carbon footprint and less waste than previously. It was quite an operation to make space for it, unpack it and get it up and running (see photo). The resulting patterns were well received at the recent Artisans and Reenactors Market in Warwickshire and necessiated a swift overnight second print run.

The jerkin pattern is available in larger (chest 48in to 56in/122cm to 142cm) and smaller (38in to 46in/96.5cm to 117cm) sizes and features more detail than is available in The Typical Tudor. There is a chart showing that the largest proportion of jerkins made of a specified leather were described as Spanish in the Tudor Tailor’s database of 57,687 typical garments. The smock pattern offers four variations in the style of neckline and fits all sizes from UK 24-28 (US 20-24/EU 52-56) to UK 6-10 (US 2-6/EU 34-38). Each costs £30 – visit The Tudor Tailor’s Etsy shop for more details.

There is still time to book a ticket for The Tudor Tailor’s online event with Kathy Davies exploring wall paintings as a source of evidence for typical dress. Tickets for Missing Persons Online on Sun 26 March at 1pm (BST) are available here. Recordings will be available to ticketholders who can't attend the event live. Anyone who came to the Missing Persons conference in Nottingham last October can request a complimentary ticket - please email A new edition of Kathy’s book Artisan Art: Vernacular wall painting in the Welsh Marches 1550-1650 will be on sale later in the year - at a special price for ticketholders.

Click the gallery thumbnails to view the full images