A Celebration of Tudor Clothing

Today’s paper doll is my second Tudor clothing paper doll. My amazing patrons voted for Tudor as a historical era to explore, hence the focus on Tudor. Also, I realized I still didn’t know a lot about the clothing of this time period. My first Tudor clothing paper doll from the Jewels and Gemstones was Ruby and today’s paper doll is Topaz.

A little about this Tudor clothing- this portrait of a young woman from 1567 and this portrait of Susan Bertie inspired the dress on the left. The dress on the right is a Henrician gown. This portrait of Mary I and this portrait of Katherine Parr feature this style of dress in lighter colors than you usually see it. These portraits also show off French Hoods, a very popular headdress style. This portrait, often identified as Helena Snakenborg, is where I saw the court bonnet. I should note that the identification as Helena Snakenborg has never been proven.

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First rule, I gave myself was that I was not going to make any dresses black. Don’t get me wrong, black fabric was wildly expensive in the 1500s and therefore very popular for portraits and people of wealth. Black is, however, one of my least favorite colors. It obscures line work, so I only used it for her hair and the veil for the French Hood. I didn’t see any French Hood’s that had veils of other colors. Also, I have no idea if French Hood is a proper noun and should be capitalized, but I am anyway.

I wanted to use colors I knew were common/referenced in source materials. According to sumptuary laws of the time only nobles could wear blue and there’s references in The Art of Dress by Jane Ashelford to tawny colored gowns. That’s why I chose to make one gown blue and the other a sort of beige color.

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Topaz’s underwear is based on illustrations from the Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The bodies are based on the famous Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg’s pair of bodies from around 1598. All of her shoes come from Stepping Through Time by Olaf Goubitz. Her underwear, as I noted on the paper doll, has been simplified to facilitate playing with the paper doll. An actual extant 16th century shift is at the V&A and you can see it here.

Other books I consulted about Tudor clothing were, in no particular order, were Tudor Fashion, The History of Underclothes, In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion, and Tudor Costume and Fashion. And you can see some of my reference image so on my 16th Century Dress Pinterest board.

You can see all my Tudor paper dolls here. Up next on the historical paper doll front will be the 1970s and the 1890s. That was the other winners when I polled my Patrons.