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: Elementary recaps, Reign recaps

TV Recap: Bates Motel cordially invites you to the tragedy of Norma Bates, AV Club

TV Review: And Then There Were None, AV Club

Review: The Story of Hong Gildong, NPR.org

Review: You Could Look It Up, NPR.org

Genevieve on Tumblr

  • photo from Tumblr


    Rococo remodeled

    These Regency garments were made from elder 18th century silks, probably grander Rococo dresses remodeled to fit the new and slimmer style. Whereas the Regency fashion often sported thinner silks and cottons, the 18th century silks were still seen as precious and beautiful, and lucky be the young woman who inherited enough to make a stylish, modern-day dress out of it!

    • Pink gown: 1800-1810, made of a silk brocade from the late 18th century. OK-dep-01040
    • Coat: 1800-1805, made of a Spitafield silk from 1746. OK-05678
    • Blue gown: 1820-25, made of a silk from the mid 18th century. OK-07407

    All garments from The National Museum in Oslo


2016 Appearances

Often updated. Please check back!

Emerald City Comicon, April 7-10, 2016