I'm working from the Tudor Tailor Pattern that my in-laws gave me for Christmas a year ago. This is without a doubt the most expensive pattern I've ever owned...almost $80 to purchase. It does have the patterns for three garments: petticoat, kirtle, and gown - but still, that's pretty expensive. The pattern is MASSIVE. Kendra at Demode had warned that the pattern pieces were very unwieldly, but it wasn't until I had the pattern spread out accross the entire living room floor that the sheer size of the pattern struck me.
First impressions on the pattern: well, the fact that there are no seam allowances included is very frustrating for me. I normally trace the pattern pieces rather than cut them out so I can reuse the pattern which makes adding seam allowances a bit easier, but these pieces are so big I can't use my tracing paper (some are wider than 60 inches). I'm at a bit of a loss on how to proceed: I'd really like to make more than one gown style from this pattern, but I have no way to transfer the markings. Any ideas?
Another first impression is that the instructions kinda suck. I had to read the kirtle instructions six times before I felt I had a vague notion of how to proceed. The instructions aren't illustrated at each step which makes it challenging for me - I'm a visual learner. I've decided to be on the safe side I'm going to completely make up a garment using scrap fabric. I normally just fit the bodice using muslin and then move on. This time I'm going to bone the muslin, work the eyelets, and finish all seams. I just really need to understand how this garment is made before cutting out the fashion fabric.
I'm doing a mid-Tudor style, like the portrait of Princess Elizabeth above. I really wanted to have the massive sleeves and bell shape that comes from wearing a farthingale. Someday I'll probably make an earlier Tudor gown with a train, but for now this is what I want. I already own a farthingale, so I'm moving strait to the kirtle. I'm ordering black taffeta to go with a golden upholstery fabric I snagged from a bargain table in Dutch country Pennsylvania. For the gown, I have a cotton velvet I'd like to use. The velvet is a peachy color that's all wrong for the Tudor period. I'm going to take my first jaunt into dying fabric for this project, and try to acheive a nice deep red.
I'd like to get to wear this outfit at the Maryland Renaissance festival this year, but that might be a bit ambitious. Each garment is very involved, and I don't have all the fabric I need yet. We'll see how this goes. Wish me luck!