Middle class, middle century – 1650-60 bodice and Blickling Hall Spring Faire


 Another event and and yet again  I had to refresh my wardrobe – this time just augmenting my mid 17th century stuff. We were hired to provide interpreting services at a multi-period event at Blickling Hall – again, organized by Black Knight Historical. I was portraying  a lacemaker, whereas Lucas was delving into the realm of the alchemy, astrology and early science. The event was to be a 3 days one, so although I had some of my old kit, I though that getting another bodice would  not go amiss, especially if the temperatures are high…

 I set my hear on a bodice based on the pattern in Norah Waugh book.  materials were olive wool and mustard linen lining, with plain linen foundation.


the innards, boned with reed



‘have time to completely hand stitch the thing, but at least managed to finish the insides 😉



sewing on the ribbon…



foundation and top layer ready, now the lining



lining in, finishing touches – eyelets n the cuffs, worked with a silk thread


Altogether I was very please with how the pattern worked – and it was relatively easy to put the things together – the most troublesome part was getting all the layers in the armhole working correctly – there are 4 layers: sleeve, oversleeve, the wing, and the bodice – so rather a lot!

I wore the bodice without stays, but found it was not boned sufficiently to support my bosom or my back ( 7 hours sitting  and making lace does make your back ache,…), but when worn over a bodiced petticoat, it  worked great!


getting ready – lacing the bodiced petti

I even had time to make a matching skirt ( a simple affair- rectangular piece of fabric cartridge pleated to the waistband). With the  existing items, i found it was fun to mix and match the set so it was different every day:-)

day 1 – just my old set…  petticoat, a wool skirt, linen apron, and a woolen bodice



day 2 –  the new bodice, on unbodiced petticoat, laced with green silk ribbon




 and day 3 – bodiced petticoat,  2 wool skirt – but a different skirt on top 🙂 bodice laced with black this time, and I added plain linen cuffs



mixing and matching was great fun – I also need to get a few more collars, neckerchiefs and cuffs as they will change the look of the outfit  too 🙂

 The hat was from Mike the Hat, btw :-), i simply added an antique silk ribbon to it, and a buckle. The cuffs, neckerchief, the coif, forecloth etc were all made according to Janet Arnold book ( Patterns of fashion 4)

 The event in itself was very interesting – we tested  our tent for the first time after the fire – we had to get bits replaced, including all the poles and the structure held – and didn’t  leak over the first rainy night and the thunderstorm on saturday…


 outside was wet – but inside we spent 3 lovely nights, dry and warm on our wooden bed with fur and wool covers, listening to either the rain or the hooting of very active owls:-)



after the wet beginning, the weather was fine – warm, sunny and  perfect for being outside, enjoying the fantastic surroundings, during the day we were both busy ( we were told there was on average over a 1000 people visiting each day!),  but even from our tent we could see the falconry display, shows, arming the knight and equestrian shows. after the public was gone, we took photos – and walked around  the grounds – a truly fantastic place!

a few pictures from the event:


Lucas by day, drafting astrology charts, advising his patients and educating the young …



and being dashing after hours…


hard at work…



Eve was telling the future using her magical crystal ball in her dark mysterious tent – but we managed to lure her out into the sun for a few photos – here she is wearing a Prior Attire outfit too 🙂


Tudor kitchen was feeding the participant lavish meals…






Eleanor looks like setting up a shop to flog the armour…



horses were provided by Steamhorse



the organizer, praying up for some smashing weather no doubt – successfully so too!




Graham looking a bit scary….



 and that’s all folks! more photos on Lucas’ photography page – Pitcheresque Imagery.

 and if you ever are in Norfolk, do visit the hall – it is well worth it! Blickling Hall



Early Mantua – and La Maupin Style Shoot



I have always wanted to have a go at an early mantua – the period is relatively unrepresented, and I simply wanted to experiment with pleating and the look a bit more. Recently, I have been offered a perfect excuse – we were providing  accessories for a lingerie shoot, featuring a collection inspired by that ultimate famme fatale and adventurer – Julie d’Aubigny (1670–1707), better known as Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin. The lingerie company was non other than Kiss Me Deadly, photographer Iberian Black Arts, and the models were Threnody in Velvet, SINderella Rockafella and It’s Jess. The location –  the stunning White House in London, property of a Polish prince.  To boot, Gemmeus  was sending some pretty spectacular bling to be used in the shoot. How could I say no?

And so a deal was struck – I will provide shoes, wigs, swords, fans, hats etc, all loosely connected with 17 and 18th centuries, and  in return we could shoot our own historical stuff in the place.

And so the fabrics were purchased ( silk taffeta for the mantua, silk grosgrain for the skirt) and work started –   and in a few days the outfit was ready. The  article on making the mantua and fontage is already commissioned by Your Wardrobe Unlockd, so won’t disclose much about the process of making here- but I can post the finished outfit!

Below – a collection of pictures from the day , kindly taken by Pitcheresque Imagery

We were the first to arrive  – so we unpacked the delivered goods, and went to explore the house, planning the shoot….


Wigs and extensions galore….


my newest shoes from American Duchess came along for the ride too!


Bling from Gemmeus


And then the proper fun begun











mirror fun – standing hand in hand with myself…



more mirror fun…

And since the theme was La Maupin,  I simply couldn’t resist going back to my fencing days – so grabbed the prop and challenged the tog to a fight…



Fight, damn you!


and back to being civilized….


Soon after we finished, the girls  were about ready – all  suitably enhanced by the arts of Sammm Agnew

a few behind the scenes shoots….



Jess looking stunning….


Lucas all ready to do his bit as a prop in a role of a drunk/dead courtier…





girls at play

And even I got  put into the KMD  bra and girdle and told to play to the camera….. Sammm did a fantastic job transforming me into a perfect extra for a Meat Loaf video – scary as hell, but love the look!


yes…. you did not expect That in a post about mantua, right? 😉

The day finished with a  lovely group shot of the team



Many thanks to all involved in the shoot – it was a great day and I am looking forward to see what fantastic images will Morgana have for us!

Hope you enjoyed the post – a bit more eclectic than usual, but hey, variety is a spice of life!

The video  from the shoot can be seen here – enjoy!