Halloween Costumes: Part One of Many

It’s the beginning of Halloween season! I’ll be nerding out at regular intervals between now and then, navigating the dangerous maze of commercial costumes and costume patterns.

Today’s Costume: Tudor Lady.

Two reasons this dress has a lot of vague knockoffs: it’s expensive and time-consuming to make; also it’s hot as BLAZES, oh my GOD, if you go outside with one of those on any time before October 31 you are basically a ticking time bomb of heatstroke.

In previous years, Simplicity has tried to get you to believe this is Tudor wear.

Simplicity was wrong. This is like The Other Boleyn Girl level of costuming.

However, they have stepped up their game recently. This is their Tudor offering this year.


Let’s look closer.

There are some nitpicky things here; there are princess seams on the bodice, but they’re hidden under the arms, so I’m fine with it. The separate undersleeves look great, and the underskirt is separate and has a false front, and looks like it’s cartridge pleated, even, so really, I’m pleased as punch.

Part of the reason it looks so good is because of the suggested undergarments:


Ignorance Alert: I know nothing about historical costume, compared to anyone who’s actually studied it. That said, from a glance at this, I have a feeling that it’s cut a little low; in the portrait of Mary Tudor I’m using, it looks like there are tiny dots of blackwork above the neckline of the gown, where the chemise is visible.

Besides that little nitpick, this is PRETTY AWESOME. If you look at the envelope back , they even have Ye Olde Arme Gussets (the little triangle insets in the armpits that let you lift your arms):

(Ignore the hoop skirt. We can only make so much progress in a year.)

Please note I know nothing about costume, and this could all be totally incorrect, and it turns out Mary Tudor would cut a bitch before she would ever put on a tight-sleeve chemise. However, I do think that puffy sleeves became more fashionable in the Elizabethan era, when you had a more exposed cuff and upper sleeve than the Tudor sleeve, which is just like a coat for your arm or something, I don’t even know who decided you should drag three yards of fabric around on each arm, I don’t make the rules. If I did, we would have costume museums, all of which would be titled Pajamas Through the Ages.

So, long story short: Tudor ladies this season should be picking up those Simplicity patterns pronto. Happy sewing! Post pictures! I will be at home in my pajamas, waiting to see how it went.

Recent Work

TV Recaps: Elementary, Season 5

TV Recaps: Victoria, Season 1

TV Recaps: Reign, Season 4

TV Recap: Bates Motel, "Hidden"

Fiction: "Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home", Clarkesworld

Film: How many movies about grief this year? All of them, Legacy.com

Book Review: HIGH NOON: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, NPR.org

Book Review: How to Read a Dress, NPR.org

Nonfiction: A Doom of One's Own, Clarkesworld

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