Update on activities of the Needlework Group

With work completed on Tudor clothing projects (bar the usual on-going maintenance) the Needlework Group’s July meeting concentrated on the clothing for Tindalls Cottage.  For the woman the group are making a red woollen cloak, quilted petticoat, stays, shift, cap, fichu and apron, plus a rather fetching bed gown in a striped linen.  For the man the group are making breeches and waistcoat.

View of Tindalls' kitchen. The cottage was built c.1700-1720 but we have set the interpretation at 1765 when John Tindall lived there with his wife, Ann, and 5 children.

View of Tindalls’ kitchen.
The cottage was built c.1700-1720 but we have set the interpretation at 1765 when John Tindall lived there with his wife, Ann, and their 5 children.

Cutting out for the upcoming Saxon (c. 950) clothing was started by Barbara Painter using some ivory linen for an under-shift, some brown and white twill woven wool for a tunic, and a loose-weave grey Herdwick woollen cloth for a cloak.

The group will be meeting between the 4 – 8 August for an intensive sewing week in order to accelerate the clothing for Tindalls Cottage & to start the Saxon project.

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New painted cloth for Bayleaf

Bayleaf, the Museum’s best-known house, has a new painted cloth decorating the upper end of the hall. The design of the cloth is based on a set of original wall paintings from Althrey Hall in Wales. It has been painted by Melissa White, who specialises in replica hand-painted 16th century interior decoration.

The new painted cloth in Bayleaf

The new painted cloth in Bayleaf

The striking striped design alternates a pomegranate motif (in yellow) with rosettes in a diamond trellis. Using traditional techniques Melissa painted directly onto linen cloth (which had first been sized with rabbit-skin glue) using natural pigments, including yellow & red ochre, lamp black & whiting.

Painted cloths were a common form of decoration in the 16th century but very few survive because of the thin & perishable nature of the linen.  However, we know that their designs were similar to those of domestic wall paintings.  The Althrey Hall wall paintings were selected because they are of the right date for Bayleaf’s furnished interior (about 1540) & are well preserved.

Update on activities of the Needlework Group

At the last meeting of the Needlework Group work continued on the male & female outfit which will be worn in Tindalls Cottage (built c. 1720 but interpreted to a date of c.1765).  Judith finished the rough canvas man’s waistcoat with handmade buttons, the red woollen hooded woman’s cape was cut out & work began on a coarse-quality linen shift.  Norma also began quilting the woman’s petticoat which is made of madder-dyed linen with a carded fleece interlining.  The group also continued work on clothing to be worn in other exhibit buildings.  Breeches & a sleeveless doublet are being made for the Tudor Kitchen (Winkhurst) & a hand-quilted pourpoint (or doublet) has been made for Boarhunt (c.1380).  Weaving also continues, with Jane & Val working on a piece in worsted yarn.

Work begins on quilting the madder-dyed linen petticoat

Work begins on quilting the madder-dyed linen petticoat

New painted cloth for Bayleaf

We have commissioned a new painted cloth for Bayleaf – our late medieval hall house originally from Chiddingstone in Kent. The cloth will replace the woven wool & silk damask cloth which currently hangs behind the table at the upper end of the hall. Over the years this cloth has deteriorated & it has now reached a state where it cannot be repaired.

The new cloth – which is being created by Melissa White (http://www.melissawhite.co.uk)  – is based on the design of a set of surviving wall paintings in Althrey Hall (Flintshire, Wales) which have been dated to about 1550 – close to the 1540 date that Bayleaf is interpreted to. Melissa is painting directly onto linen cloth (which has first been sized with rabbit-skin glue) using natural pigments including yellow & red ochre, lamp black & whiting.

The image below is of a sample that Melissa has prepared for us. The cloth will be completed in June & will be showcased at the Museum’s Colour in Historic Homes event on 21 September (http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Events-Information/Colour-in-Historic-Homes).

Sample of cloth showing the Althrey Hall design prepared by Melissa White

Sample of cloth showing the Althrey Hall design prepared by Melissa White

Update on activities of the Needlework Group

At the last meeting of the Needlework Group on 17 January the clothing for the Tindalls project really got started.  Sewing techniques were looked at (again!) & Barbara Painter went through the design ideas & explained how she wanted these pieces to look – made-over perhaps out of fabric being used second-time around & from cheaper (& relatively coarse) fabrics.  Volunteer, Judith, has constructed 2 corsets.  They have been stiffened using the thinner ends of cut willow to stuff the boning channels.  Some madder-dyed linen in a delicate shade of pink has been cut for a petticoat that will eventually be quilted, using finely-carded wool as padding, & the lining has been cut.  Meanwhile Judith is making thread buttons for the man’s un-dyed coarse linen waistcoat.

One of two corsets made by Judith for the Tindalls project.

One of two corsets made by Judith for the Tindalls project.

The Tindalls bedding has been finished.  The linen ‘beds’ (mattresses) & pillows still need to be stuffed with ‘flock’ (sheep’s wool) & the woollen blankets need to be dyed.  The blankets will be hand-dyed on site using a natural dye derived from fermented walnuts collected at the Museum (which will produce a dark brown colour).

Southern Counties Costume Society at the Weald & Downland

The Southern Counties Costume Society will be holding their Study Day and AGM at the Museum on Saturday 1 March.  The theme of the Study Day is ‘What the other half wore’.  Speakers include the Museum’s Domestic Life Interpreter, Cathy Flower-Bond, who will be talking about (and wearing) our replica medieval clothing, and Museum Historian, Danae Tankard, who will be talking about clothes shopping in seventeenth-century Sussex.  The work of the Museum’s Historic Clothing Project will be on display.

Full details of the event can be found on the SCCS website.

Replica medieval clothing (c1380) made by the Historic Clothing Project

Replica medieval clothing (c1380) made by the Historic Clothing Project

Update on activities of the Needlework Group

Cloth woven on the Dryad loom

Cloth woven on the Dryad loom

This beautiful piece of cloth has been hand-woven on our Dryad loom by volunteers, Val and Jane.  It is on display in Gonville Cottage.

At their last meeting the Needlework Group finished off a man’s undershirt for Boarhunt (c1380), various men’s garments for Bayleaf (c1540), a hand-dyed yellow blanket for Walderton (c1680) and bedding for the cradle in Tindalls (c1760).