CLOTHING FIT FOR A KING…A TRUE KING OF ENGLAND.

The reburial of King Richard III has fired many people’s creative interest, including my own. So after making miniature dolls of this King (and his wife Queen Anne Neville), I longed to have the challenge of making a medieval man’s outfit for a larger doll.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne.....I wonder what they might be talking about.

Richard looks like he is deep in conversation with Anne…..I wonder what they might be talking about.

 

Last year I set myself the challenge of creating a Tudor Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch doll, and this went well. But I really do like creating historical costumes for male dolls too as I love making men’s fashions.

Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch fashion doll.

Anne Boleyn costume for a 16 inch fashion doll.

 

So imagine my absolute joy when one of my customers commissioned me to create a Richard III costume for her 17 inch male doll…there was much happy dancing!

 

With most of my existing male doll pattern pieces being more Victorian to modern day in style, I knew I would have to make some totally new ones. So I decided to make each of them as required.

Portrait of King Richard III of England.

Portrait of King Richard III of England.

 

But first, I needed to choose suitable fabric for such a sumptuous costume. My customer had asked me to base the costume on the well known portrait of Richard, or as near as possible. Whilst the portrait is just a head and shoulders picture, it is possible to work out what the rest of his outfit might be, from historical records of clothing worn at the time.

Main fabrics chosen for the Richard III costume.

For his outer robe, I chose a silk of two-tone gold, shot with claret red and with a tiny fleur de lys pattern. This fabric was the perfect scale for that size of doll.

A dark burgundy/brown silk with an interesting border was chosen for the robe lining and I decided to use the lavish gold border for the turn-backs on the front of the robe.

The other main fabric I chose was a deep red silk jacquard for his doublet, along with several other fabrics which were pulled from my stash for possible use on other costume parts.

 

With pencil and tape measure in hand and my own male doll of the same size to use for fitting, I made a start. First to be made was a shirt, with a gathered neckline and very full sleeves ending in a close-fitting lace-trimmed cuff. For this, I used a soft silky ivory coloured lining.

 

It is always very important with doll clothing to avoid adding unnecessary bulk, so sometimes clothing for dolls has to be made differently than for a real human. The shirt was no exception, being made shorter in length and also fastening at the back for ease of dressing.

The full sleeved shirt with gathered neckline.

The full sleeved shirt with gathered neckline.

 

For the hosen (tights), I used a two way stretch cotton viscose jersey fabric in a subtle shade of pale sage. Back in the 15th century, life size hosen would have been attached to the doublet by means of ties to hold them up. The centre front seam would also have been open with the triangular flap (codpiece) laced over it.

Since this would have been extremely difficult to dress onto a doll of this size, I decided to make a pair of tights, with elasticated waist and a false codpiece, and I found that this gave the right look for the doll.

'Hosen' or tights with false codpiece.

‘Hosen’ or tights with false codpiece.

 

The doublet was made in red silk jacquard and lined in pale ivory, with a false corset of gold brocade underneath the cord lacing at the front. Again, the reason for the false corset was to avoid unnecessary bulk.

The sleeves of the doublet are quite full and end in a tightly fitting cuff with snap closures. Each sleeve is split, with two openings, so that the sleeves of the shirt can be pulled through to form puffs. The doublet fastens at the back with snaps, for ease of dressing onto the doll.

A tie of fancy cord was secured to the waist of the doublet with two loops stitched at each side.

 

The outer robe caused a few headaches, but I got there in the end. The two silk fabrics used for this, were an absolute dream to work with (silk usually is…and I LOVE working with it!).

My customer had requested a full-length robe, but shorter ones were also seen at this point in history. Whichever length was preferred, the long hanging sleeves were standard.

 

 

Having made this kind of robe many times in miniature, I had an idea of the pattern shapes I needed to make, and I was pleased with the outcome of the larger version.

The brown silk lining worked well with the fancy gold border, but there was a bit of a ‘hairy moment’ when I wasn’t sure if I had enough of it to do what I wanted to do. Thankfully, with a bit of ‘jiggery-pockery’ with the pattern layout, I just (only just!) managed to get it all out of the fabric.

I found some lovely (and quite manly) braid at my local fabric shop ‘Stitches-upon-Thames’ in Staines, which I used for edging both the ends of the sleeves and the openings.

 

For the shoulder chain, I found a very attractive faux jet and pearl choker in my stash, that just screamed ‘Use me…I look medieval.’ This worked well but needed fixing to hold it in place with a few stitches on one side, and a little loop to thread it through over one shoulder. (The chain hooks together at the back).

 

The hat was made from a piece of beautifully fine vintage pure wool felt and was stitched entirely by hand. My customer had supplied the beautiful pearly white rose and I hand embroidered the four little green leaves with gold outlines around it.

 

I purposely left the shoes till last, as it had been a very long time since I had made bigger doll shoes. I chose a darker shade of sage for these shoes to tone with the hosen. This very fine soft gloving leather worked well for this style, and enabled me to add a snap fastener opening at the outer side of each shoe.

 

 

In total, I made seventeen separate pattern pieces for this outfit, lost count of the number of hours it took to make, but……….I loved every single minute of it (including the ‘hairy’ ones!) and hope to get the chance to do something like this again.

 

If you would like to see the blog I wrote about the miniature King Richard III please click here.

 

And for his wife Queen Anne Neville please click here.

 

Please click here if you would like to read about Anne Boleyn costume I made for a 16 inch doll.

 

ANGELIQUE MINIATURES CELEBRATES 28 YEARS TODAY!

STORE BANNER HORIZONTAL PNG

 

To celebrate this anniversary I thought I would share some pictures of my favourite doll projects from more recent years (since digital cameras and the internet!!!).

From fairies and fantasy to historical characters, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. The planning, research and actual creating never fails to excite me and I look forward to each new project that comes my way, so please enjoy my selection:

Anne Boleyn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Anne Boleyn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Fairy riding a unicorn.

Miniature Fairy riding a unicorn.

 Princess Diana wedding gown on miniature mannequin.

Princess Diana wedding gown on miniature mannequin.

 Miniature late Victorian Summer Bride.

Miniature late Victorian Summer Bride.

Custom made Aurora Rose tutu for 16 inch ballerina doll.

Custom made Aurora Rose tutu for 16 inch ballerina doll.

Miniature Giselle or Sylphide tutu set.

Miniature Giselle or Sylphide tutu set.

Miniature Fairy Slippers (shown with an English penny and American five cent piece).

Miniature Fairy Slippers (shown with an English penny and American five cent piece).

Miniature Fairy Flower Seller with her unicorn companion and helper.

Miniature Fairy Flower Seller with her unicorn companion and helper.

Miniature Brown silk bonnet with shirred ivory silk lining and matching reticule.

Miniature Brown silk bonnet with shirred ivory silk lining and matching reticule.

Miniature striped cotton walking dress with matching tall bonnet and reticule.

Miniature striped cotton walking dress with matching tall bonnet and reticule.

Something for the Maid. A much plainer miniature cotton house dress and apron along with a little mop cap.

Something for the Maid. A much plainer miniature cotton house dress and apron along with a little mop cap.

18th Century Marie Antoinette style gown modelled by 16 inch Tyler Wentworth. Made in pure silk.

18th Century Marie Antoinette style gown modelled by 16 inch Tyler Wentworth. Made in pure silk.

Miniature Dita Von Teese style gown and hat. one twelfth style.

Miniature Dita Von Teese style gown and hat. one twelfth style.

 Valentine Ball gown for 16 inch fashion doll.

Valentine Ball gown for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Faerie of Spring and New Life.

Miniature Faerie of Spring and New Life.

Miniature Princess Grace wedding gown on mannequin.

Miniature Princess Grace wedding gown on mannequin.

The miniature Elizabeth Bennett Regency wedding bonnet.

The miniature Elizabeth Bennett Regency wedding bonnet.

Front view of the miniature Fairy Harp. The harp stood about six and a half inches tall.

Front view of the miniature Fairy Harp. The harp stood about six and a half inches tall.

Miniature Young King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

Miniature Young King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon.

Miniature Queen Jane Seymour.

Miniature Queen Jane Seymour.

 Miniature King Richard III with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

Miniature King Richard III with his wife Queen Anne Neville.

Miniature King John and his wife Queen Isabella.

Miniature King John and his wife Queen Isabella.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Miniature Elizabeth 1st doll complete in room setting.

Miniature Scrooge.

Miniature Scrooge.

Miniature Ross and Demelza Poldark.

Miniature Ross and Demelza Poldark.

Miniature tricorn hat.

Miniature tricorn hat.

Miniature Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer.

Miniature Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cranmer.

Battle of Flodden (c 1513) Scottish Pikeman outfit for action figue (around 12 inches tall).

Battle of Flodden (c 1513) Scottish Pikeman outfit for action figue (around 12 inches tall).

Coronation robes for 17 inch male fashion doll.

Coronation robes for 17 inch male fashion doll.

Victorian underwear for 16 inch fashion doll.

Victorian underwear for 16 inch fashion doll.

'Romanza' ballet costume for 16 inch ballerina doll.

‘Romanza’ ballet costume for 16 inch ballerina doll.

French (Breton) costume for 16 inch doll.

French (Breton) costume for 16 inch doll.

Alice in Wonderland costume for 12 inch fashion doll.

Alice in Wonderland costume for 12 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Lord Byron Albanian costume.

Miniature Lord Byron Albanian costume.

Miniature Lord Byron Regency tail coat outfit.

Miniature Lord Byron Regency tail coat outfit.

And last but not least:

Medieval style Autumn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Medieval style Autumn costume for 16 inch fashion doll.

Miniature Queen Mary 1st (Mary Tudor).

Miniature Queen Mary 1st (Mary Tudor).

I hope you have enjoyed my selection…just a few of the many favourites I have created over the last few years. All of them have given me enormous pleasure and taught me such valuable skills and patience.

 

 

 

 

 

THE MAKING OF A TUDOR ANNE BOLEYN STYLE ENSEMBLE FOR 16 INCH FASHION DOLLS.

TUDOR COSTUME FRONT

As some of you know, I do love a challenge. I also LOVE Medieval, Tudor and Elizabethan costume. Having made many Anne Boleyn style miniature dolls, I thought it was time to challenge myself with the creation of an Anne Boleyn style Tudor costume to fit the popular sized 16 inch fashion dolls.

Miniature (1/12th scale) Anne Boleyn (and Cranmer) doll.

Miniature (1/12th scale) Anne Boleyn (and Cranmer) doll.

 

A while ago, I bought a lovely ‘Nu Mood Breathless’ doll by Robert Tonner of the USA. The Nu Mood dolls are very good, in that they don’t have rooted hair and wear wigs that can be changed. So, they can suit many different styles and costumes.

I had my Nu Mood doll repainted by the very talented doll re-painter, Melissa Mehan and after the re-paint, I felt that this doll (now called Isabelle Rose) would suit a Tudor ensemble very well.

The Tonner 'Breathless' doll before her new face paint.

The Tonner ‘Breathless’ doll before her new face paint.

 

After the face paint and 'Isabelle Rose' is born.

After the face paint and ‘Isabelle Rose’ is born.

I had looked at several Tudor doll costumes on the internet (all of them no longer available) and I wanted to see if it would be possible to achieve a more authentic shape for my doll.

Having researched Tudor costume thoroughly over many years with my miniature dolls, I knew the pattern shapes I needed to design to achieve the right look and so I spent about two weeks making and ‘tweaking’ the patterns for this costume.

The first big design decision came with the underpinnings….what would give the skirts the shape required?

I had the choice of a wired farthingale or a stiff net petticoat.

I knew that it was possible to make a real farthingale as I had made something very similar years ago, but I also realised that, bearing in mind the costume was to be offered for sale, I had to consider the cost of such a complicated and time-consuming piece.

Sure, it would be totally authentic…..but it would also take a very long time to construct and therefore would add a huge amount to the cost of the costume.

So I decided to make a stiff net petticoat that would do the job just as well and be more economical financially.

After all, it would be hidden under the top clothes and it was the top clothing that was supposed to be the star attraction.

The stiff net petticoat provided all the support that was needed, at a much less cost...and time.

The stiff net petticoat provided all the support that was needed, at a much less cost…and time.

 

Next to consider was the under-skirt. The centre panel is designed to be revealed by the opening in the front of the main gown skirts. I chose a beautiful pure silk two-tone dupion, with a woven fleur-de-lys pattern. I stitched the panel onto a plain petticoat of very fine lining. So far, so good…..it was all going to plan.

The plain underskirt with fancy silk centre panel.

The plain underskirt with fancy silk centre panel.

 

I decided to tackle the main gown bodice next, as I knew the fit might prove to be a bit problematic. So, part of my pattern ‘tweaking’ was to make the bodice up in kitchen roll to check the fit on the doll. (You can just see a piece of the white kitchen paper in the picture above).

The entire top gown would need to be lined in pale coloured lining, as dark fabrics can stain a doll’s ‘skin’, so I made up the bodice in lining fabric just to double check the fit… and all was fine.

The over-sleeves needed to be made in two sections: an upper and lower section, so I made these up in lining too, just to check the length and fit. All worked well first time (phew!) so I cut the bodice and sleeves in the main fabric, a beautiful dark green two-tone taffeta that I had kept in my stash for many years…….I knew it would be perfect for something!

The top sleeves are folded back to reveal a gold net lining.

The top sleeves are folded back to reveal a gold net lining.

Once the main bodice was almost complete, I added a frill of soft white lace to the neckline, to replicate the frill from a shift that would have been worn underneath by a real person. Whilst it is possible for a doll to wear all this extra underwear, it is better to keep any bulk to an absolute minimum to preserve a good shape….after all, dolls can’t be pulled in with corsets like real people can!

The main bodice, decorated with soft white lace and a little crystal pendant.

The main bodice, decorated with soft white lace and a little crystal pendant.

The main gown skirts were quite easy to make and I was glad I had decided to add a slight train to the centre back length. For ease of dressing, I attached the bodice to the main skirt. (On a real person, these would have all been separate pieces (even the sleeves) and all would have been pinned into place).

The back of the main skirt with its train.

The back of the main skirt with its train.

I found a lovely necklace in a sale that I was able to take apart and re-fashion into a jewelled hanging belt, which I then attached to the over-gown.

Now that the main part of this costume was completed, I then worked on the false under-sleeves which I decided to match with the centre front skirt panel. These too had to be lined so that there was no chance of the doll being stained by the fabric.

False under-sleeves are lined to prevent staining to the doll.

False under-sleeves are lined to prevent staining to the doll.

I also matched the lace frills at the wrist edge to the frills at the neckline, to preserve continuity within the costume.

The little puffs on the lower edges were hand-stitched using wide silk ribbon. On a real person, these would have been the sleeves of an under-gown or shift, pulled through the openings of the false sleeves.

The completed under-sleeve showing the silk puffs.

The completed under-sleeve showing the silk puffs.

The headdress, known as a French Hood, caused more than a few headaches for me as the shaping was quite complicated. Made in two parts, it took an awful lot of ‘tweaking’ to get the right fit, size and shape….but I got there in the end.

The French Hood headdress shown from the side.

The French Hood headdress shown from the side.

The only change I made was to add snap fasteners to the centre back of the hood as I felt that this would make it easier to dress onto a doll and fasten under her hair. I also added clear elastic under the chin, to help keep the headdress firmly in place.

Headdress shown from the back.

Headdress shown from the back.

Headdress shown from the front.

Headdress shown from the front.

Once again, I chose to line the headdress with pale coloured fabric, just to be on the safe side. I also chose to leave out the back section, usually a black silk tube, as I wanted the doll to show off her lovely hair. (It is entirely possible that young women did sometimes wear their hair loose with these headdresses, and they are certainly depicted this way in many films and dramas. Of course, short of actually travelling back in time, we can’t be certain….but it does look very pretty!)

The final part of the ensemble was a necklace and I chose to make the Anne Boleyn ‘B’ necklace. I searched high and low for a suitably sized ‘B’ and eventually found one in silver….which I painted gold with metallic paint. The rest of the necklace was made by stringing pearl beads onto thread and attaching a pearl bead drop to the ‘B’.

Close up of the 'B' necklace.

Close up of the ‘B’ necklace.

The costume was finally complete and I was very pleased with the result…..but what shall I challenge myself with next? Any ideas?

TUDOR COSTUME SIDE RIGHT

TUDOR COSTUME SIDE LEFT

Although this perticular costume is now sold, it can still be ordered from me in similar colours or in a colour scheme to suit your own taste. Just contact me and ask for details.

The Making of Queen Jane.

My new Queen Jane Seymour miniature doll.

Hello! As some of you might know, I have been gradually re-designing all the miniature dolls in my Henry VIII collection. I have also introduced two new dolls into this collection in the form of Young Henry VIII and Young Katherine of Aragon. Introduing new dolls or re-designing existing dolls can be a very slow process, as it has to be fitted around my every day doll orders and my order book is always very busy.

However, recently I was delighted to be given the chance to redesign Henry’s third wife, Jane Seymour, as an order. This was a wonderful chance to work on a character doll that tends to be far less popular than some of Henry’s other wives (such as Anne Boleyn for example!) 

My original miniature Jane Seymour doll.

When redesigning an existing character doll like Jane I had to take into consideration how close to my original doll she needed to look to be identifiable alongside the other wives. I needed to see how much I could improve her over-all look, how acurate I was able to make her costume with the skills I have improved over the years and also to make sure that she was still attractive as a doll. 

First of all, I wanted to make sure that I kept as close to the original colour scheme as I could, because in my mind, this was part of the doll’s identity. The original doll I made several years ago was based on a painting of the real Jane Seymour (below) and at the time, I decided to soften the main colour of the gown to make the doll less dark and more appealing as a doll.

Painting of Jane Seymour by Holbein.

Chosen fabrics and trims for Jane's dress.

As with the first version I made, I chose a doll with a pretty face. Many of the paintings of Henry’s wives are not the modern day idea of pretty or attractive. With a doll however, it is most important to have a face that will appeal to collectors……nobody wants to buy an unattractive doll! So I chose a doll with a pretty face and, very importantly for this costume, a lovely long neck to display that complicated head dress!Next was the choice of colour and fabric. The type of fabric was always going to be pure silk…..only the best is good enough for a Queen! With the colour, I decided that I would find a silk that as close as possible to the colour in the painting, without being ‘heavy’ or over-bearing on such a small doll. The use of contrasting fabric and trims would play a large part in the over-all look and success of this costume. In the end, I settled on a lovely two-tone silk in a pretty shade of pale brickdust teamed with and ivory and gold silk brocade, metallic gold net and a mixture of black and gold braids. 

Patterns and costume parts cut ready to make up.

Jane with underwear and totally armless!

Close up of Jane's leather slippers.

Once the underwear and shoes were on, I could move on to the skirt, false centre panel and bodice. At this stage, I had already constructed all the parts of the main costume and trimmed as much as I could.
You may have noticed that Jane has no arms at this stage. Sometimes with a miniature doll, the arms get in the way and it is easier to add them later.  As some of you may know, the costume of the miniature doll (as opposed to a larger scale doll) is often full of illusions. On such a small doll it is of great importance to avoid as much bulk as possible in order to keep the line of the costume smooth, without lumps and bumps! So, first of all I secured a narrow frill of lace around Jane’s neckline. This would eventually give the illusion that she was wearing a lace-triimed shift underneath the gown as a real Tudor lady would. Once the lace was secure, the centre panel was secured into place, followed by the main skirt and then the bodice fitted and stitched into place. Front and back plackets were secured to the bodice front and back to give an authentic Tudor look.

Jane with skirts, bodice and lace frill.

 Next came the intricate sleeves after giving Jane her arms at last! Lace cuffs were added to the doll’s wrists. These would look like the the frills from her (imaginary) shift.  Then the gown sleeves were added in three parts: the upper main sleeve, the lower main sleeve and the fancy false under sleeve. The lower main sleeves were lined with gold net and folded back to reveal the padded gold silk brocade false under sleeves with their mock slashing edge. Here is Jane with arms and sleeves:

Jane, almost fully dressed and no longer armless.

The next stage was to add her necklace and head dress. The necklace was made up of tiny faux pearls, filigrees and crystals, each individually applied. This is a very time-consuming (but enjoyable) job and requires much patience and precision to make sure each tiny item ends up in exactly the right place. Once the necklace was completely set, I could move on to the head dress.

Close up of Jane's necklace and jewelled billiments on the coif.

Jane wears a short English Gable Coif with pinned up lappets and split veil, pinned up on one side. The English Gable Coif was originally seen at the end of the 1400’s with the lappets worn down and a full veil at the back. It gradually became shorter until it eventually went out of fashion in favour of the smaller crescent shaped French Hood. Below is a  picture showing its longer form with Henry VIII’s mother Elizabeth of York.

Henry's mother Elizabeth of York.

Below is a picture of Henry’s first wife Katherine of Aragon in middle age wearing a slightly shorter version with the lappets pinned up but still a full veil at the back.

Henry's first wife Katherine of Aragon.

 Below is a picture showing my new Jane’s Gable Coif. The main parts of the head dress was constructed in silk covered card. The lappets were made in silk brocade and secured to the top of the coif where they were then folded back onto the top of the coif and secured in place.

 

Close up from above showing the gold silk brocade lappets folded on the top of the coif.

Next to be applied were the black silk veils and box back of the coif. The jewelled billaments were secured at the front before one of the veils was  folded onto the top of the coif…….phew! Such a lot of work for such a tiny piece!

Back of the coif showing the two black veils (one folded up onto the top) and the box back.

All that remained was the finishing, first with crystals, filigrees and pearls added to the centre front of the gown to form the jewelled belt.

Close up of the jewelled hanging belt.

 

Further decoration was then added to the mock slashing on the false under sleeves plus rings were added to Jane’s fingers.

Detail of false under sleeves and rings on Jane's fingers.

Once everything was in place the last thing to do was to drape the front skirt and the back skirt train to make them look more realistic.

Back view of the costume.

Jane Seymour was finally finished and ready to go to her new home. This was a hugely enjoyable project even though it took a long time but miniature dolls simply cannot be rushed.

Full length side view of Jane.

Until next time.

Best wishes, Louise.

ANOTHER BRAND NEW DOLL. YOUNG HENRY VIII: A NEW KING FOR A NEW ERA.

 

On 21st April 1509 the elderly King Henry VII died and his eighteen year old second son became King Henry VIII of England. Young Henry was taller than the average Tudor man, athletic, creative and handsome with a love of music and a keen interest in the latest fashions; quite a change from his dour, dull and penny-pinching father.

Thus started the reign of a most memorable and famous King who, through his decisions and actions

would determine the course of English history……….the turbulent Henrician era had begun.

The young Henry VIII. The eighteen year old fashionable dandy of his time.

 Having created my Young Katherine of Aragon doll first (see previous post), I wanted to match and tone the colours of Henry’s costume to those used for Katherine. I also wanted to give the feeling of youthfulness and hope which is why I kept the colour scheme light and fresh. It is also true that at this time (1509/10) the dour and dark colours of Henry VII’s reign did briefly go out of fashion for younger people. However, darker colours did return to fashion within the next few years although they were mainly used for accent rather than for a whole outfit.

(After the frugal Court of the elderly King Henry VII, the older courtiers must have had quite a shock when the vivacious new teenage King spent a fortune in brightening the ‘old place’ up for himself and his young, exotic Spanish bride. Henry VIII would become known for his lavish spending! )

In deciding the style of Young Henry’s costume, I designed it using a mixture of styles found in costume reference sources in books and on the internet . I also found the the following portrait of a very young Henry:

Portrait of a very youthful King Henry VIII.

 Henry’s hair style is typical of the very early Tudor era, worn long and straight; very different from the much shorter styles of the mid-Henrician era that we are more familiar with. The hat in this portrait is still quite Medieval in style being round with a turned up brim, decorated with brooches. The robe with its heavy and wide fur collar would continue for many years although in this early period, it is not as padded and large as it would become mid era. Below is a close up picture  of the top half of Young Henry:

Top half of Young Henry showing detail of hat, hair, 'fur' robe collar and jewellery.

 I chose to make a slightly different version of the hat with a more pointed crown but still with the turned up brim. It is difficult to see in this picture but the brim is also notched as was the high fashion of the time. As described in many contemporary descriptions, Henry has the auburn hair that he (and his children) were so famous for, styled loose and shoulder length as described before. You can just see the top of the fine silk shirt with its fancy gold band, over which there is a jewelled gold necklace with diamond shaped peridot pendant. I chose to make the V-necked doublet in pale almond green silk brocade to tone with the colouring on Katherine’s under-gown. The heavy jewelled chain around Henry’s shoulders is made from a metallic gold braid with flat backed pearls and crystals added to each section and joined at the centre front with tiny golden jewelled filigrees. Below is a close up of the lower half of Henry’s costume:

Close up of purse and (nervous cough!) the required codpiece!

 You can see from the picture above that the doublet finishes just below the waist and there is a fancy cord belt tied over it to hold the decorated leather purse. During this early Tudor period, the hosen (leg coverings) were still very Medieval in style and full-length, very much like our modern day tights (panty hose). (Later on the hosen would become more like stockings). During the 1500s it was still very fashionable for younger men to display their shapely legs fully. Although quite a delicate subject nowadays, the codpiece was also very important part of the gentleman’s costume. At this time it consisted of a triangular flap laced to the main part of hosen and was not padded or emphasised as in later fashions. It was merely practical to cover the privates but convenient enough to undo in order to pee.

I used a fine silk jersey fabric for Henry’s hosen and hand-dyed it to tone with the colour scheme used for Katherine. At first I dyed it to match Katherine’s under-gown but felt that the paler colour was too feminine for Henry so I decided to re-dye it a few shades darker. The codpiece caused me quite a lot of trouble regarding trying to make it look right and not ridiculous! Without any form of ‘filling’ in it, it looked wrong and with too much, it looked equally wrong. Having tried tiny amounts of cotton wool and then toy stuffing, I was about to give up when I noticed a little scrap of the silk jersey on the floor that had missed the bin. A few minutes of rolling, scrunching and hand stitching later, Henry’s annoying codpiece was annoying no more! Below is a close up of Henry’s leather shoes:

Close up of Henry's fashionable wide-toed leather shoes.

Once the problems of the hosen were overcome the shoes were quite simple to make. At this time, the slim, more pointed shoes of the Medieval period had given way to a new German-style fashion of very wide-toed shoes. These shoes were very flat and could be worn either with or without a strap across the instep and were often slashed to reveal a different coloured leather through the slashes. The width of the square shaped toes was often highly exagerated and much wider than the foot of the wearer, often being padded out inside………something that would also become popular with the robe and doublet of later times. Below is a close up of the robe and doublet sleeves:

Close up of Henry's slashed doublet sleeve and split hanging robe sleeve.

 I chose to make Henry’s robe from cream silk jacquard as I wanted to emphasise the freshness of youth and also not have him clash with the fabric used for Katherines gown. The length of the robe is fashionably short to just above Henry’s knees and the cream ‘fur’ trim (made from chunky chenille yarn) extends into the typical Tudor fur collar around the shoulders (you can see this better if you scroll back up to the full-length picture at the start of this post). I also added a fancy cream and gold braid for more opulence.

At this time, the sleeves of the robe were often very long (past knee length) and unpadded. If worn long, they were slashed about half way down the length for the wearer to put his arm through comfortably. Henry’s robe sleeves are also lined in a biscuit coloured silk which you can just see in the above picture. Slashing was an extremely popular German fashion and continued to be much favoured for most of the Henrician era. It was often seen on doublet fronts, shoes, sleeves and also in ladies sleeves later in the period too. You can see that Henry’s doublet sleeves are fashionably slashed at the elbows to reveal the silk of his shirt underneath.

Whilst Henry took a very long time to design and complete, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of his making. It is with poigniancy though, that I look back over the reign of this most memorable of rulers. For me there are so many ‘what ifs’ about Henry’s life. For example, what if his first son with Katherine had not died in infancy……..would that have made Henry different, I wonder? The start of Henry’s reign and also the start of his first marriage seemed to hold such promise for the future, such triumphs and victories. I have always felt that it was very sad that this particular love story ended so sadly and bitterly.

Henry and Katherine (together again if only in doll form)

 Until next time, bye for now!

A match made in Heaven?.....sadly it was not to be.

Brand New Doll: Young Katherine Of Aragon.

Hello! In between orders, I have been working on the latest doll to add to my Tudor miniature dolls line. Please let me introduce to you my ‘Young Katherine Of Aragon’:

Young Katherine of Aragon, dressed circa 1509/10.

 I have always felt rather sorry for this grand lady, whatever her faults may or may not have been and wanted to be able to portray her in her youth, in happier times. As many of you may well know, Katherine of Aragon was the first wife of the infamous King Henry VIII of England. However, Henry was not her first husband as she had been first married to Henry’s older brother Athur. The match between Katherine and Arthur was arranged by their parents Ferdinand and Isabela of Spain and Henry VII and Elizabeth of England when both were just toddlers. When Arthur reached the age of 14, Katherine, shortly before her 16th birthday, travelled to England for the marriage in 1501. Sadly the young prince died less than six months later, leaving Katherine a widow. Unable to return to Spain, the young teeneager was stuck in England under the protection of her miserly father-in-law Henry VII, who by all accounts, left her barely able to clothe her ladies in waiting, let alone herself.

During those difficult years, Katherine formed a strong friendship with Arthur’s younger brother, the robust and lively Henry and, by the time the old King died in 1509, that friendship had turned to love. The 18 year old Henry, now King Henry VIII of England, married the 23 year old Spanish princess and it is well documented that he was most taken with his young bride. It seems fair to say that the early years of their marriage were very happy with the young King being most attentive and openly romantic towards Katherine.

So, when I created this new doll, I wanted to try and capture the youth, hope and happiness of that early married life. In researching the young Katherine, I came across the fact that, she had pale auburn hair, NOT as I had always assumed for a Spaniard, black or dark hair. I also found this lovely painting of her, painted between 1501 and 1509 by court painter Michel Sittow:

The Young Katherine of Aragon.

 Since this portrait was painted before she married Henry, she is wearing more sombre colours than I have used for the doll. Henry VIII’s Court was very lively and vibrant, like him. Very unlike the dour seriousness of his father’s Court. Therefore I chose a rich gold silk jacquard for her over-gown with a paler, more youthful green for the under-gown, both popular colours for Royalty and the elite at that time. The style is that of around 1509/10, with the Medieval influence still visible alongside the more typical Henrician Tudor style. I have kept the head dress or ‘coif’ similar to the style in the painting and this would more than likely have been black for most married women.

Here is a close-up of the coif, jewellery and gown bodice. The tightly fitted over-gown bodice is open to reveal part of the green under-gown. Around the neckline, you can just see the edge of the lace from the shift she would have worn next to her skin. The lace is gold-edged, (Yep……..I painted that by hand!…….time consuming but worth it). There is also some more gold-edged hand-painted lace around the front of the coif and at her wrists.

Showing the individually applied jewellery, bodice detail and coif.

 The long hanging sleeves of the overgown are lined with a rich brocade of cream and gold. These long sleeves were typical of the late Medieval and early Tudor era and eventually developed into the wider, turned back sleeves of the middle Tudor period. 

Close up of the over sleeve lining detail.

 At this stage the sleeves of the under-gown were still tightly fitted but these developed into the large padded and fancy false under-sleeves more commonly associated with Tudor costume.

Close up of the end of the tight-fitting under-sleeve, also showing the gold edged lace cuff from the shift.

During the early 1500’s, ladies could wear either a tied belt around their waists or the more elaborate jewelled hanging belt. Since Katherine’s gown is rather an elaborate Court gown, I felt it looked better with the more formal hanging belt. The pearls and crystals were all individually applied to fancy black and gold braid with the addition of jewelled gold filigrees at the waist and at the end of the belt.

Close up of the jewelled hanging belt.

 I thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating this new doll and she is proving very popular, with collectors placing orders for her already. Of course I shall now have to work on a young Henry VIII to accompany her but for now it is only right that she has the centre stage and spotlight all to herself.

Until next time, bye for now!