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How to make a Tudor costume

Updated April 17, 2017

The Tudor family ruled England in the years spanning 1485 to 1603. The Tudor style of clothing, while quite elaborate-looking, can be replicated for a costume fairly simply. Tudor clothing generally presented a squared-off look for men and a triangular look for women. Create your own Tudor costume with the use of a basic tunic or dress and some well-chosen accessories.

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Men's costume

  1. Purchase a simple tunic, or craft one using a tunic pattern (see resources.) The tunic should fall to about mid-thigh and have a neck opening large enough to allow an undershirt to show. Use a material such as velvet or velour since Tudor period costumes were often made from rich-looking materials.

  2. Attach a braided trim, in the colour of your choice, to the cuffs, hem and neck area of the tunic. Secure the braided trim by stitching or with fabric glue.

  3. Add an undershirt, in the colour of your choice, with a ruffled neck underneath the tunic. The ruffles should be visible from the tunic neck opening.

  4. Add opaque tights underneath the tunic. Choose tights in a colour complimentary to that of the tunic, tunic trim or ruffled under shirt.

  5. Attach a feather to the side of a beret-style hat using fabric glue. The feather should stand straight up.

  6. Add shoes of your choice. Soft boots, in a suede or leather, are options for a Tudor-era costume.

  7. Add costume jewellery. Men's jewellery in the Tudor era was crafted from many materials ranging from gold and precious stones (often worn by the nobility) to jet or wood beads (worn by the lower economic classes). Men may wear rings, necklaces or even brooches with a Tudor costume.

Women's costume

  1. Purchase a corset-style dress bodice. The corset should cover the entire bodice, ending at about the hip area.

  2. Add a crinoline (a very full crinoline since full skirts were the Tudor style) with the waist of the crinoline resting flush with the bottom of the corset.

  3. Add a full skirt atop the crinoline. The skirt should appear very full, spanning out from the body.

  4. Place a wrap or a shawl around the shoulders, allowing it to drape down around the arms and down the back of the dress. The wrap or shawl can be a simple piece of material (luxurious fabrics such as velvet are good choices) in a rectangle or triangle shape.

  5. Add jewellery of your choice. Women's jewellery in the Tudor era was crafted from many materials ranging from gold and precious stones (generally worn by the nobility) to simple wooden beads (often worn by the poor). Virtually every type of jewellery was worn by females in the Tudor era, including brooches, necklaces, rings, rosary beads, earrings and ear strings (a long jewellery piece, often in silver or gold, that drapes around the ear and falls to the shoulder.)

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Things You'll Need

  • Tunic, or Tunic pattern and fabric
  • Corset style dress bodice
  • Full skirt
  • Crinoline
  • Wrap or shawl
  • Braided trim
  • Fabric glue
  • Ruffled undershirt
  • Beret style hat
  • Feather

About the Author

Jennifer Leighton
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