Meet a Tudor Lady

Tudor Lady

 There are 4 layers to this 

early Tudor dress.

The whole costume weighs just over 2 kg (4lb 9oz).



The Headdress is like an ornament. It did not have to match the dress, but was a good way to show off your jewels and riches. It was usually worn over a cloth cap called a Coif that fit close to the head.     

Places to find out about the Coif:

What is a Coif?     

Pictures of Coifs

Layer 1. The white garment next to the skin is the Chemise. It is made rather large so the extra material can be pulled through gaps in the sleeve of the dress. It was also used at night for sleeping in. 

chemise.jpg (53794 bytes)If you were rich, you had fine linen or silk cloth. If you were poor, you had wool or rough linen cloth.


Things to think about:  

1.      How do you think this dress would be useful in a cold Castle?

2.  Do you think you could get dressed easily on your own?

3.   Would the kirtle be easy to keep clean?

4.  Since you would wear the Chemise to bed, as well as through the daytime, what do you think you would smell like after a while?

5.  Compare this outfit to your own clothing. How easy or hard would it be to run about and play?

6.   If you lived in Tudor times, do you think you would get tired of the weight of your clothing?

7.  What do you think it would be like to wear the Headdress all day - every day?  

Layer 2. Next is a plain Petticoat.

petticoats.jpg (52553 bytes)


  Layer 3. After that is a fancy Petticoat. The bottom has a layer of dress fabric. This is so there is something pretty to show when you or your maid hold your dress up out of the mud in the Castle courtyard!



Links to interesting Tudor pages:

Tudor Gable Headdress: A Portfolio of Images : a selection of drawings by Hans Holbien

Tudor Dress: A Portfolio of Images : examples of the gowns which one would wear.

 Elizabethan Costuming Page: Pages and pages of interesting information and portraits of both early Tudors and Elizabethan Tudors.

Re-enactment groups in the UK: A website for people interested in acting out the events in history, or pretending to be someone from a particular period of time.

Hampton Court Palace: A palace used by many Monarchs of England but famous for its links with Henry VIII.

Layer 4. On top of all the layers is the dress, which is called the Kirtle. It is trimmed with fur, has a bit of a Train, and Lacing up the back. The sleeves are tied on at the shoulders with Points that have Aiglets at the ends. There is a spare set of Sleeves so this set can be changed for cleaning or for special occasions. The Chemise is pulled through the gaps in the sleeve in order to show off the material. This Lady must be rich, as she can afford to have a lot of material in her Chemise.

The Lacing on the Kirtle. lacing.jpg (66975 bytes)

I used metal eyelets for the holes, but a Tudor maid would have hand sewn them!

More photos and info on Lacing.


HenryVIIkirtle.jpg (25912 bytes)

  A special thanks to year 5 for the model who wore the dress and for the display. This photo was taken at the Open Day 2002 at the Pines Junior School. To find out more about that day, click on the link.