Check out my Pinterest board!

Hi! Last night I spent some time creating a couple of new Punterest boards. Tip: If you love costuming, GET PINTEREST. There is a wealth of resources out there, available at your fingertips. Actually, even if you’re not such a fan of costuming or history, still get it because there is something for EVERYONE. It’s good fun and you’ll never be board again! (Get it?) 

Anyway, here are some links to my Pinterest boards. They are added to regularly so do follow me!   My 18th century board     My Regency board   My 1860s board My 1870-1880s board  My Edwardian board Undergarments through history board

Have fun looking through them! 



Guess the Famous Figure

Hi! I’m very excited for this post, because Anne has very kindly let me steal her wonderful idea of Guess Who? Basically, the idea is that I will write a paragraph or two from the point of view of a famous figure in history, and you have to comment who you think it is. 

So, without further ado, my first Guess Who!

I sit here, cold and alone, waiting for a messenger to tell me I am free to go. The hours pass, and no message comes. My hair is dishevelled; I see no reason I should tidy it. For whom would I make myself presentable? My gaoler? My mind wanders and I wish it would sleep, but I cannot sleep. What horrendous torture are they doing to my dear Cat at this moment? A cold breeze tickles my neck, but it is not windy outside. Perhaps it is her ghost. I think about her more than ever, now, when I too am the prisoner of a monarch, imprisoned for no plausible reason other than rumour. Is she with me now? Is that a silent footfall, or a figment of my imagination? I want her to be here, to calm me; to comfort me. More than ever, I need the quick thinking of my mother to guide me safely. But no mother will ever come, for she died here; am I to have the same fate? I scratch a message into the glass of the window with my ring: ‘Much suspected of me, nothing proved can be.’ I turn away from the window; then ravens circling the Tower Green install a fear of death in me which I cannot bear. 

So, who do you think the mystery figure is? Please share this with whoever you think would guess it! 

Pictures from Punch 1898

For those of you unfamiliar with Ounch, it is a British magazine which was established in 1841, and is famous for its satirical cartoons. 

My family has many of these magazines, all collected in about seven massive books which each has all of the editions for one year. 

Most of the cartoons are political, but there are some genuine funnies in there. 

For your enjoyment, I present: Punch.

  Lord’s is a London cricket ground.  













And, finally….  


More to come soon! 

Peasant dress throught the ages – Part Two

In part one we saw the Medieval poor and how they dressed in whatever they could afford to piece together. Today, I will look at the next section in history: the Tudors. Although to many this may seem like the same thing, I feel that fashions changed considerably for the rich, less so for the poor, but nevertheless I find it interesting. 


Women wore a thick woollen kirtlea square-necked ankle-length dress with a fitted, laced bodice and full skirts. Sleeves were tied or pinned onto the bodice, showing the smock underneath and probably an apron over the top to keep the dress as clean as possible.

Women kept their heads covered at all times, often with a tight-fitting linen coif. 


 The men wore long hose, loose breeches, shirt and a thick belted ‘jerkin’ similar to a long waistcoat. 

A merchant or farmer might wear a leather doublet (a thick, quilted upper garment), over breeches. Daggers and purses were hung on leather thongs from the belt. Hats and caps would also have been worn, probably to keep warm and to avoid washing the hair. Thick cloaks would also have been worn in the winter. 


In this scene from a painting, we see the rare image of the back of a dress. There is a black V shape, which could extend to the front and be some sort of parlet. I think there might be a gold-coloured clasp of some sort at the tip of it, perhaps to pin it to the bodice to prevent it from riding up. The green dress is probably her best, as the sleeves are attached which means that this dress wouldn’t be worn in conditions which would require the wearer to detach the sleeves, for instance in doing labour, or hard and hot work. Her apron is the same colour as the lining of her sleeves and from her belt we can see a purse and a key swinging – perfect pickings for thieves! On her head she wears some sort of linen cap with a reasonably riding structure to frame the face. Although I wouldn’t wish to jump to conclusions, I might think that this is a German painting, as the style is a bit different to English painting of the time and the headwear is more Flemish or German than English. 

The man wears a dark jacket with a red shirt underneath and from his belt hangs a dagger or knife. His beige trousers are reasonably loose and in his hat he has a feather, which influences my feeling of Germanity in this portrait. 

The totally out of proportioned child bottom left wears a miniature version of adult clothing, with a cap and apron. 


The image on the left is of a slightly more wealthy, bourgeoise, couple, but the image on the right I think might show merchants perhaps, because the ladies’ clothes are not fine and they wear aprons and modest necklines filled in with plain white part lets. Their bodices do up in the front, showing that they might not have a maid to help them dress and they don’t have sleeves to their dresses. Note that they are either wearing a cap or a black hat. 

The man on the right  wears tight hose and breeches with a loose shirt and a doublet. His shirt has a small ruff. The gentleman on the left is slightly better dressed, with a dark blue jerkin with gold trimmings and white hose and breeches. Both men wear black hats.  


These images depict field workers harvesting in late summer. In the pictures you can clearly see the detachable women’s sleeves which a re often different colours to the kirtles. The back of the bodices have the same V shape as in the painting above, and in the top left picture there appears to be the same type of black parlet-neck-fill in thing. As usual, all wear some form of headwear, and the women wear mainly coifs with one wearing a wide brimmed straw hat to keep off the sun. All the women wear aprons and the men wear loose clothing which would allow them to work freely without being restricted. 


Here we see much the same thing, with the woman on the left wearing clearly a coif or some form of head covering under her hat. She is barefoot. One of the men has holes where his knees are in his blue hose and one man wears no hose at all.   

Peasant dress through the ages – Part OneĀ 

I was researching working class clothing for my HSM Challenge, and it struck me that there is no real outline as to what the poor wore in every age. 

Well, I thought, I had better change that. So, we start in the Medieval times…

So what did the female worker wear everyday? 

 The basic garment worn by both men and women alike was a tunic. 


This image is probably much later than the other two below as the style of clothing is more complex. For women, the skirt and bodice are different colours,ms igniting that the bodice colour would be the Kirklees colour and the skirt an additional layer. The aprons worn are also different colours – White for the lady in the left and green for the one bending over. Usually, the apron was a simple square or rectangular piece of cloth, often linen and sometimes hemp, which the wearer would tie around his waist by its corners. These ones seem to somehow be fastened to the skirts at the back. Most chores that occupied the peasant housewife’s time were potentially messy; cooking, cleaning, gardening, drawing water from the well. Thus, women typically wore aprons throughout the day. A woman’s apron often fell to her feet and sometimes covered her torso as well as her skirt. So common was the apron that it eventually became a standard part of the peasant woman’s costume. Through much of the Middle Ages, aprons were undyed hemp or linen, but in the later medieval period they began to be dyed a variety of colors, which is why I believe this painting to be late Medieval. 

From this image, we can see that on her head she wore a coif (lady on the left) and then I imagine that most would have worn some form of straw hat for working out in the fields (lady in the right, sitting, back to us).

Women wore their tunics long, usually to mid-calf, which made them, essentially, dresses. Some were even longer, with trailing trains that could be used in a variety of ways. If any of her chores required her to shorten her dress, the average peasant woman could tuck the ends of it up in her belt. Clever methods of tucking and folding could turn the excess fabric into a pouch for carrying picked fruit, chicken feed, etc. or she could wrap the train over her head to protect herself from the rain.


In this case, a long sleeved shift, most likely hemp, would have been the under outer most layer (stays would most likely not have been worn for working in the fields) and a one-piece dress over the top, tied with a belt. From this picture we can ascertain that blue was popular, and the lady on the right has her gown laced at the front, for ease of dressing. 

The blue colour was a dye called woad. Other colours were less common, but not unknown; pale yellow, brown, light red and orange could all also be achieved. These colours would fade over time, as long lasting dye was too expensive. The gowns are not long, as that would be impractical, and both ladies have a head covering, the left lady has her hair tied back, but on the right it seems to just be a veil. Women usually wore veils — a simple square, rectangle, or oval of linen kept in place by tying a ribbon or cord around the forehead. Some women also wore wimples, which attached to the veil and covered the throat and any exposed flesh above the tunic’s neckline. A barbette might be used to keep the veil and wimple in place, but for most working class women, this extra piece of fabric may have seemed like an unnecessary expense. Headgear was very important for the respectable woman; only unmarried girls and prostitutes went without something covering their hair. 

In summer, shoes would not always have been worn, to save wear and tear. In winter and when the weather was worse, as well as working in stony fields, a simple style of leather shoe would have been worn, with a wooden or many-layered leather sole. 


We can tell that this lady is most likely not wearing petticoats under her dress, as the outline of her legs are clearly seen and the fabric is quite tight around her legs. Petticoats would largely not have been worn by the very poor, as the extra fabric would cost. 

Most women worked indoors and didn’t often have need of a protective outer garment. When they went out in cold weather, they might wear a simple shawl, or cape.

So, on to men


Here we see the humble tunic. Men generally wore tunics that fell past their knees. If they needed them shorter, they could tuck the ends in their belts, as seen in the image, or they could hike up the garment and fold fabric from the middle of the tunic over their belts. Some men, particularly those engaged in heavy labor, might wear sleeveless tunics to help them deal with the heat. Most men’s tunics were made of wool, but they were often coarser and not as brightly coloured as women’s wear. Men’s tunics could be made from “beige” (undyed wool) or “frieze” (coarse wool with heavy nap) as well as more finely woven wool. Undyed wool was sometimes brown or grey, from brown and grey sheep.


These men wear straw hats and head coverings, such as hoods. Some hoods had a length of fabric at the back that the wearer could wrap around his head or his neck. Men were know to wear hoods that were attached to a short cape that covered the shoulders. The colours often contrasted with the tunics, and red and blue became popular colours.   


 Here this man uses his apron to hold seeds. he wears leather boots and blue hose, and his red tunic come to his knees, with possibly a front opening and fastened by a belt. His hood is a contrasting blue. I must say, he does look as if he has the Monday morning blues….


We saw the women in this picture above, but in the background are three men using scythes. They wear no hose and two have straw hats, one a coif. Their tunics are short and two have their sleeves rolled up. All are bare feet, so we can assume that this is late summer and they are harvesting.


For men who worked outdoors, an additional protective garment would usually be worn in cold or rainy weather. This could be a simple sleeveless cape or a coat with sleeves. In the earlier Middle Ages, men wore fur capes and cloaks, but there was a general view among medieval people that fur was worn only by savages, and its use went out of fashion for all but garment linings for quite time.

Men usually didn’t wear their aprons until it was necessary, and removed them when their messy tasks were done.