Today, Jane and Ninya are celebrating The Tens. It’s been ten years since The Tudor Tailor was published in March 2006. Since then, the book has taken on many new dimensions – patterns, products and the Facebook page, which reached 10,000 likes yesterday. This is popularity beyond anything they imagined when the book appeared. It immediately received widespread critical acclaim as well as grateful thanks from readers worldwide. The latest sales figures show 17,000 people have a copy and each one is generously shared among groups of costume makers and wearers.
The Tudor Tailor team is celebrating this anniversary in two ways: with a Ten Day Top Ten sale from Sunday 20 to Tuesday 29 March and by launching an appeal for ten tenacious new team members to help with the final push towards publishing The Typical Tudor.
Since The Tudor Tailor came out, Jane and Ninya have collaborated with other researchers and published three new books (The King’s Servants, The Queen’s Servants and The Tudor Child) but the real excitement is not about what they have achieved but what they are doing now and in the near future. Each of the significant research activities undertaken in the past ten years is working towards the next book, which will focus on the clothing of ordinary people.
The ten tasks ticked off the Tudor Tailor To Do List so far are:
Compiling a vast database of 2,500 clothing images (so far) from the 16th century
Going on archaeological adventures to view original 16th century clothing in strange and interesting places
Publishing an online database of effigy images
Compiling a database of more than 40,000 items left in wills, costed in accounts, and recorded in inventories
Building an exhaustive, multi-faceted spreadsheet summarising sumptuary law in the UK
Publishing revised patterns (for example, the Tudor lady’s bonnet and frontlet)
Identifying a range of typical garments to discuss and reconstruct
Cross-referencing relevant material to draft new patterns
Achieving a substantial grant to research 16th century knitting and men’s caps in particular
Developing new materials and resources for reconstructing sixteenth century dress (for example, specially dyed woollen cloth and made-to-order lace)
But there is still more to do on each of these ten tasks! Anyone with time and inclination can help the team complete these projects. Some can be done remotely and/or online. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to take up the challenge.
Before everyone gets back to work on The Typical Tudor, it’s time for some retail therapy. The Tudor Tailor is inviting readers to celebrate by sharing Jane and Ninya’s top ten products – with £10 off the usual price for ten days (and subject to availability). Most items in the offer are now only £10!
The Tudor Child – This book best illustrates how readers’ feedback has improved The TT publication style. It has more illustrations, clearer patterns and better guidance on the appropriate use of each of the garments than The Tudor Tailor. And – as pretty much everyone who has bought a copy says – “You don’t need children or even want to make clothes for them to find it useful and fascinating.” It is packed full of new information which is entirely relevant to grown-ups’ garments too! Check it out here. Usual price £20, tenth anniversary price £10.
French hoods – the new research also suggests these are good for the whole century for respectable middle-class women and for Sunday best for those aspiring to be – one size. Usual price £20.50, tenth anniversary price £10.
Fitted English gown – this pattern was based on sources relevant to ordinary people for The Tudor Tailor. It has proved a bestseller and pops up on blogs and in photos all over the world with some very lovely examples made by readers – available in large and small. Usual price £20.50, tenth anniversary price £10.
Woollen cloth – The Tudor Tailor’s typical choice for a range of outer garments made from 100 per cent wool and commissioned from a Yorkshire mill which dyed the range of colours according to the new documentary data analysis. The evidence shows there were strong conventions in colour choices for specific garments depending on gender and social status. Black, white, tawny, red, blue and violet were the most common colours in the wardrobes of ordinary Tudor people. The weave is a 2/2 twill which has a good stretch across the bias, making it an excellent choice for bias-cut hose. It also has a lovely drape and makes up beautifully for petticoats, kirtles, coats and gowns. All five colours have been discounted by £10 to £18 per yard and the undyed version to £14 per yard (sold by the half yard).
Lettice cap kit – a cosy accessory suitable for all ranks through the century – one size. Usual price £45, tenth anniversary price £35.
Enuff for a ruff – for the aspiring middle-class Tudor, a ruff was an essential Sunday best accessory. Four yards of Schole house lace does the job nicely. Usual price £44, tenth anniversary price £34.
“Fit for a king” rings – Lest The Tudor Tailor forgets where it comes from, this 10th anniversary special offer is for a bejewelled ring: a reminder of the high-status clothing worn by costumed interpreters at Hampton Court Palace where Jane and Ninya first experimented with patterns and materials for reconstructing 16th century dress from 1992 to 2004 – as worn by Henry VIII! Usual price £35, tenth anniversary price £25.
… and don’t forget to raise a glass to ten years of The Tudor Tailor’s team work tonight!