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Period Pattern ™ No.51
Early Tudor Woman's Gowns, c. 1490-1535 A.D.

Includes patterns for 5 gowns, in sizes 6-20. These gowns should be worn over undergarments from Period Pattern no. 90, and go well with headdresses from Period Pattern no. 52, capes from no. 92, and pouches and purses from no. 93.

The Tudor period marked the beginning of the Renaissance in England, and fashion (especially after 1509) reflected the change. Henry VII, who usurped the throne in 1485, was extremely frugal, and fashion for both men and women changed slowly during his reign. At age 18, Henry VIII inherited both the throne and a large treasury, and the court blossomed. He was insecure, aggressive, blatantly masculine and suddenly not only extremely rich but no longer under the control of his father or anyone else. All of which reflected in the opulent new fashions. During Henry's reign, styles for women combined elements of German, Spanish and Italian fashions, with heavy French influence overall. The quintessence of what is commonly thought of as "Tudor" fashion for women is shown in view V.
As befitted their role in society, woman's fashions were somewhat less flamboyant then the men's. The kirtle was almost identical to a cotehardie (Period Pattern no. 21), with the addition of cuffs. The skirt started to be cut separately from the bodice, with the cut of the bodice neck line becoming square. With the adoption of tight corsets and Spanish farthingales (Period Pattern no. 90) early in Henry VIII's reign, the style developed into the silhouette of a small cone inverted into a larger one. The underskirt and under sleeves we not sewn to the gown which allowed different sets to be worn with any particular gown.

No.51, view V, worn by the queen - SA, Largo Renaissance Faire
No.51, view V, worn with an early Beguin hood (#52, view II) - LL, 1988
No.51, view V, worn with a French hood (#52), and the queen,  #56, view I - SA, Florida
No.51, view V, worn with a French hood (#52), both green; and #56, view I in peach and purple - SA, Florida
No.51, view V
No.51, view II without sleeves - are the tan and yellow gowns the same gown
No.51, view I, worn with a Gable headdress (#52, view 1) - KN, Estrella
No.51, view V, worn with a French hood (#52)
Visit out photo Album for more photos
You will find the pattern views on the cover in the album section
Gowns, underskirts and undersleeves could be plain and somber, or quite colorful; they could be made of plain linen and wool or fine imported silk velvets. Fancy touches included brocaded velvet with gold threads woven into the design, embroidery with silk or metallic threads and often jewels sewn to the gown. It was more common to reserve the richer fabrics and decoration to smaller areas like trim, undersleeves, and underskirts (which could be “faked” so the expensive fabric was used only where it might show). The limit was whatever the owner could afford (and the sumptuary laws allowed!).

Comments we've received on this pattern:

  • Carla P“I made this dress for the University of New Orleans Madrigal Dinners… I made the hat following the instructions I got from ya’ll…This was my first try at a costume like this, and I think it came out pretty well… I think I had the best-looking costume here! I’m looking forward to trying some of ya’lls other patterns. I also have plans for some other dresses. Thanks.” (See her picture here; we think they came out very well indeed!)

    Carla P

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