Tudor-Child-rev - 7/18/15
"The Tudor Child [Book Review]" by Kimiko Small.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
You can find more work by this author on her blog at:
The Tudor Child [Book Review]
by Kimiko Small
February 12th, 14:05
Hi, I'm back with another book review. This time it is a special treat, a book that I was honored to do my small part to help in the editing and commentary on (along with a few others including mmcnealy) . I have been given permission by Jane M-D to make a book review before the book has been shipped - it is in production even now. I do not get any monetary compensation for this book review, nor will I get any monetary compensation for any sales from the book. I really wanted folks to see how wonderful this book will be, especially for costuming parents out there who has longed for a book that not only gives age appropriate patterns (in scaled graph format), but really in-depth information on children of the Tudor to Stuart period of English history (1485-1625).
I present to you The Tudor Child by Jane Huggett and Ninya Mikhaila, edited by Jane Malcolm-Davies. From The Tudor Tailor company.
Note that even the cover is very useful, as their turn under flap has key information on it. At top is their British standard of child measurements, so you know what their baseline numbers will be for their patterns (which do state the age). Then in currency of the 16th century, a small chart on Roman numerals, various English 16th century measurements, and there will be a ruler to help with the pattern graphs (which I removed from this image).
At the request of the authors, I have removed the images that I originally had down to three smaller images. So my commentary is not going to make as much sense as it would with the images there. But they do have that right over their images even if American copyright and commentary laws state otherwise.
Oh, where to begin inside. At the beginning as one does with a good book. Right off the bat, you see full color images of paintings, and here as elsewhere there are images I had not seen before. I've seen a lot of period images, but the TT ladies really go all out to find even more images in their quest for more knowledge. This shows clearly even on their copyright info and Contents pages.
Oh, note that the words Review Copy will be everywhere in the images I have posted as I did screen captures of their final book files that they kindly allowed us to read.
The book also includes a Forward by Alison Weir,  the author. There is of course an Acknowledgement page, and it is amazing the number of people who were involved in this book. This will not be a small book. It is 160 pages at the Index page, and it took them quite some time to get it all together. They also had to delay the book as there were problems, but it is slated to ship around March 1, 2013.
When the TT folks research something like this, they dig deep into various records from wills and warrants, to images of the period. And they don't just look into paintings and other visual sources, they also go and find extant artifacts, like this teething tooth and rattle (I won't give away the little fun facts about this item). The information starts with the family's place in society, and then goes from newborn infant to near adulthood (which for them is younger than it is modernly). They cover all the stages of a child's life, from swaddling infants, young and older youths to about age 12. Not only discussing fashions, but also the training the children will go through, both male and female training. As a mom, I also appreciate that there is some info on their mothers as well, including how the Tudor women dealt with maternity fashion needs.
Back to the artifacts, it was quite wonderful to see paintings, brasses and other funeral monuments, along with extant children's garments - some of which were photographed for this book. The ladies traveled quite a bit to see some of these garments first hand to better understand the garments.
Sometimes all you have are what appear to be scraps, but with the various examples from a variety of sources, it is easier to understand the garments of the period. And in understanding the period garments, they recreated the images into patterns for recreated period garments, like you see below. (Aldersey image below left, with the girl's garment recreated on the image right).
The image on the right hand side, lower corner of two boys, is Hans Holbein (the younger) as a boy, and his brother Ambrosius, as painted by their father (Hans Holbein the elder). I just rather liked that image, since Holbein the younger's paintings are heavily used as a Tudor fashion source.
This page is a good example of the various sources they used to recreate their patterns. Funeral brass, extant knit cap, detail from a painting, and funeral monuments. There is discussion on boys and the skirts they wear when young, then moving onto wearing breeches and how things change for boys at that time socially and in their clothing. I know I've had problems figuring out sometimes if I am looking at a young boy or a young girl, and this book discusses the clues they used to figure out the sexes, and what the symbolism means.
Even stained glass is used in their research with another new-to-me image. This page also shows that they do cover a wide range of time, over a century worth of information and patterns. From 1527 to 1620 in just the two images below. And girls are discussed as clearly as boys, along with the roles girls were expected to grow up into. Along with roles by gender, there is heavy discussion of the various garment layers from the skin out, including accessories. Some of it seems a little repetitive (or maybe that was all the reading I was slowly doing), but it is all excellent information, with lots of footnotes (see farther below).
On page 51, they then get into the fabrics and sewing techniques you will need to use in your costume re-creations. If you have read The Tudor Tailor book you know about the various fabrics of the period. They again include their chart with that information, including new quotes pertinent to children and taken from various written sources like wills and warrants.
I don't share all the large full color photos of the garments they recreated (or the large full page spread of period images). I wanted to keep some of it as a surprise for you when you buy the book. But they really are beautiful costume p0rn, as it is often called.
This page is a great example of what they discuss in Constructing the Garments, showing how one can recreate the look of the period using modern methods. As an example is the modern trim in the photo that was made into a more period looking one. Even how to pink and slash garments (a very common decorating methed of the period) using period tools or modern tools. There are lots of detailed sketches drawn by http://www.perry-miniatures.com/">Michael Perry (Ninya's husband), that help with the sewing details. I know many folks like myself understand visuals better than words, and these sketches really help to add clarity. And what's not to adore with a cute kid looking at herself in the mirror as her mother finishes with the muslin mockup (a must do for any garment really).
Then comes each pattern and reconstruction of period garments, including this adorable little baby who is happily being swaddled in the period fashion. Believe me, if the child didn't want to be wrapped like a burrito, they would let you know about it. All those steps and details were once done for little newborns, especially for those of high social standing. Doesn't Jane M-D look like she stepped out of a portrait with the fashionably wrapped Tudor baby in her arms?
In their books, they have changed a few things from their usual format. One little but ever so helpful item is their box of Sources. It is right up front with every single garment being recreated, so you know what sources they looked at when they created their patterns (I hear some cheers from the SCA A&S crowd).
Another little helpful box of info is their chart of Years. This helpful box has a range of dates and social stations, with check marks to show you when and for what social station the particular fashion style is appropriate. Really helpful, so you won't be making a little Stuart commoner's gown for your daughter to wear at the Henry VIII ball (although if she really wants that, I won't tell you not to - but at least you will know). The date ranges are not super accurate, but generally helpful. You will need to understand the changes in fashion to know the definite cut-off points - if you really wanted to know more. And usually older fashions were still being used at later times, and this is discussed in the book on how garments are often re-used and re-made to flow with changing fashion trends.
So that you don't think it is all about pretty, pretty princess (or princely) clothing, there are simpler garments as well for the common children of the era. I'll be making up some of these garments for my kids as they would rather run around and get muddy while climbing trees.
If you notice, I'm not sharing the patterns, as that is one of the purposes of this book. But they are there, well detailed on graph paper for you to scale up for your children. Don't worry if you don't draft or scale patterns there will be full sized ones available on their web site for sale as well.
But for those of you who want that pretty, pretty Princess Elizabeth for your 12 year old daughter, well, your wish is granted. It is here, in all the glorious details you ever wanted, from the smock to the outer gown and French hood. And for her brother, there is a Prince Edward suit as well. Yes, lots of details. The children will be well dressed at that ball.
There are other accessories as well, from simple coifs and biggins, to various types of headwear. And for those who knit, there are a few knitted items to keep you happy as well. I'll have to find someone to knit a few items for me in time. There is even a cute pair of leather booties for the baby/toddler to wear, and a doll (as seen on the cover image) for a child (or adult) to dress up and play with (I can't wait to find time to make my daughter one as well).
The book would not be complete without footnotes, lots and lots of footnotes, for those of you who really, really enjoy knowing the research details. 8 pages of tiny print, of which this image only shows a sample. The final page is the index, so you can find the detail item you want quickly.
So, in all that, are there any drawbacks? Well, a few I know of.
• While the history and the garments are well detailed, there is not much information on how to make these garments in such a way that the child won't outgrow them after being worn once or twice. You will need to find a forum or FB group to discuss these sorts of details, or hand them down to younger children later.
• The date ranges as I mentioned are not super accurate for those who are new to the period but are general guidelines.
• The book jumps around a bit with regards to age on how the patterns are presented but there are subsections - just not listed directly in the Contents page. They are pregnancy and babyhood, general underwear, basic garments, ordinary boys and girls, elite children, and accessories.
• Unless they went with a spiral cover or similar, the book spine is going to be well worn by the time I am done - since I do tend to keep working pattern books like this open a lot.
• There are some patterns and information that is the same as was provided in previous books. However, these are scaled down to the smaller child size. (added later)
• There are no real directions on how to modify from one size to another size. You need to understand how to do this already, or find another book/resource to explain that process for you. This includes the knitted garments (added later)
• There may be other problem areas, but they are minor and I can't think of them right now.
So, that's the (modified) review of this book. If you have any questions please ask in the comments area. If you want to pre-purchase a signed copy of this book, there is a special offer price of £25 pounds (for UK folks - higher elsewhere, see their web site),  with the offer lasting until February 15 (2+ more days their time I think). If you want a signed copy, I highly suggest purchasing one now. I cannot wait to get started on garments for my kids (after Pentathlon in a month).
Copyright 2013 by Joan Silvertroppe. <Kimiko.Small at facebook.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.