Outfitting a Tudor Tailor's Shop

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Dansknecht

Outfitting a Tudor Tailor's Shop

Postby Dansknecht » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:01 pm

I'm working on an an Elizabethan tailor's assistant impression, and would like to be able to outfit a tailor's shop for living history demos, etc.

This is what I've got so far...

-My soft kit (as well as a sword, buckler, and hanger)
-A small chest and a coffer
-Several reproduction cups, utensils, eating equipment, etc.
-Piles of wool, linen, silk, etc.
-A stuffed linen pin cushion, needles, thread, a reproduction thimble, awls/prickers, repro scissors, chalk, beeswax.
-A jar/bowl full of period buttons (pewter, thread-wrapped, etc.) & points
-A painted cloth wall-hanging (soon to be more)
-Various garments to be strewn about
-A basket full to be filled with "cabbage"/scraps
-Papers (a tailor's log/bill, some plates from a book of fence, a copy of the Lord's Prayer, etc.)

I'm looking into getting some candles/pierced brass or tin lanterns, a pitcher, some rush mats for the floor, and am working on making a period pillow/bolster. Other than obvious things like a table or two, what else would you find in a tailor's shop?

Thanks!!!



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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:18 am

BIG shears for cloth cutting
Pinking irons


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Re: Outfitting a Tudor Tailor's Shop

Postby Merlon. » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:16 am

Dansknecht wrote:...A jar/bowl full of period buttons (pewter, thread-wrapped, etc.)...
...Various garments to be strewn about...

I doubt a bowl of buttons is correct, they are not sweeties. The thread wrap buttons would soon be tarnished or damaged by the pewter ones. I would have thought individual storage by type would be more appropriate.
All the images of tailers workshops I have seen show garments hung up rather than strewn around, they are high value items

consider:-
longs strips of paper or parchment to measure your customers with and record their measurement on, strips then kept as a permanent record of that customer for future orders, hung up in bundles.
Writing equipment
Measuring sticks
Bone awl or stilleto for opening eyelet holes
Stuffing sticks and beaters


Make sure any of your lengths of cloth do not exceed the maximum lengths as set out of in period statute and of correct period widths. Also don't have too much cloth, it is period wise very expensive. Unless you are prosperous wiith clothing and apprentices to match, you could not afford to have so much money tied up.



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Postby Alan_F » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:47 am

If it's a Tailor's shop, why do you need to have weapons in it?


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Dansknecht

Postby Dansknecht » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:51 am

Thank you for your responses.

The bowl of buttons was just an idea as to how to show the public the different sorts of buttons and fastenings used.

As for the clothing, I didn't mean exactly strewn about; I plan on getting some poles or hangers similar to those found in Jost Amman's book.

I hadn't thought of cutting down the fabric, I love that idea. I hadn't thought of measurement records either.

Please keep the ideas coming.

Thanks!



Dansknecht

Postby Dansknecht » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:55 am

As to the weapons, they'd just be personal arms to keep on hand for service in the Trayned Bandes (I'm trying for a mid-1570's-1580's impression), or for practicing in a school of fence.

Forgive me if my response is lacking... it's very late at night here.



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Postby Lindsay » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:13 am

Given the value of the materials a tailor could possess, it is more than likely that he would have some form of weaponry to hand. There is evidence of the Burgesses of Edinburgh commonly keeping Halberds in their shops.

Alan_F wrote:If it's a Tailor's shop, why do you need to have weapons in it?


Historians did it in the past.

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The breakaway Society for the Appreciation of Guthrie.

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Postby Alan_F » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:53 pm

Lindsay wrote:Given the value of the materials a tailor could possess, it is more than likely that he would have some form of weaponry to hand. There is evidence of the Burgesses of Edinburgh commonly keeping Halberds in their shops.

Alan_F wrote:If it's a Tailor's shop, why do you need to have weapons in it?


Makes sense I suppose.


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Postby border reiver » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:46 pm

try geting hold of a copy of the tudor tailor and have a look at the tool etc in that?


Andrew



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Postby Sophia » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:47 pm

I have been involved in running the Tailor's Workshop at Kentwell Hall for the last three years with various folk including Ninya Mikhaila and Bess Chilvers.

Based on experience I would like to offer the following comments:

Clothes the public can handle are very useful particularly children's clothes if you are being visited by schools.

One of your tables needs to be relatively large. A standard cutting table is still 120" x 60", and I would not be surprised it this was the case in C16th.

You should have both stools and at least one decent chair for a customer among your furniture.

For lanterns I would recommend an open sided copper/steel lantern with a reflective polished interior or a proper horn lantern. A pierced lantern will not give a usable light. I speak from experience here as the space where the Tailor's Workshop is sited at Kentwell has no real windows. It has window openings with solid wooden shutters and openings which are filled with wooden strakes to prevent birds getting in (it is the upper room of a barn the rest of the year). When the weather is bad and comes from the wrong direction the rain can get into the middle of the space if the shutters are open. Sewing by candlelight is not fun. Also buy real beeswax or best quality tallow candles - rushlights were made with low quality tallow (i.e. recycled cooking fat) and train oil would have made the shop stink.

Some of the pinking punches shown in The Tudor Tailor are produced by an American company called Green Man Forge. The others are produced by the wonderful Bodger. You should also have a wooden block covered with a sheet of lead on which to use them.

The iron shown is based on an very early C17th illustration on a stone candlestick in the Museum of Scotland (I asked Ninya).

For shears I would recommend contacting a competent craftsman who can do you a reproduction of the shears shown in the Moroni portrait of the Tailor. Mine were made by Andrew Kirkham here in the UK but you may be able to find a craftsman in the US who can do the job.

On the fabrics front - recommend you read up thoroughly about this as it is an absolute minefield. The more I read the less I know.

What you should have in stock in reasonable quantity are unbleached linen and wool for linings, canvas of various weights for stiffenings, large quantities of unbleached linen thread in various weights which according to my research is the most common thread for seams and various common colours of silk sewing threads. Also various sizes of brass and/or iron hooks and eyes. Soldered brass lacing rings are also useful.

If you want to be really fancy you might have some samples of fingerloop braids, silk ribbons (all grosgrain weft faced and quite heavy as far as I can work out - you can occasionally find antique silk grosgrain ribbon if you keep your eyes open).

You could also have swatches of the more expensive fabrics to show clients, particularly silks and velvets.

I have also found it very good to have as much vegetable dyed cloth as possible on show as this gives the public a real idea of the range of colours genuinely available.

In terms of activities have small uncomplicated jobs on hand or things that are not urgent as you will be continually interrupted. I do a lot of my period clothes entirely by hand and have a good idea of my work rate and this is down by 4/5th on a very busy day at Kentwell. If you have sufficient experience and can find a willing volunteer creating a toile for a garment by draping is a great crowd puller. Never ever try and cut something complicated while the public is about unless you have someone else to take the heat while you are busy.

Finally accept that unless your display is entirely roped off people are going to wander up and pick things up regardless of their value, fragility, sharpness, etc., adults are as bad if not worse than children. (It was amazing the number of Teachers who after the children were welcomed into the workshop and reminded not to look with their fingers still started randomly touching things, right down to prodding the bread and cheese I had out for my lunch to see if it was real.)

Hope this helps,

Sophia :D


aka Thomasin Chedzoy, Tailor at Kentwell Hall

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Postby Tuppence » Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:03 am

Don't cut down fabric in terms of width. A cit edge looks very different to a selvedge.
If you can find it, get hold of some short lengths of handwoven fabrics.

Don't mix the buttons all together. Get separate containers.

No chairs or stools (or minimal), and a table that will take your weight and allow you to sit on it.

Partially made garments that show the inner condstruction, and that you can work on to show the public different techniques. (Also good for alleviating boredom if it's quiet.)


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