I have been sewing.


This last Autumn was when I really decided to up my game in the sewing department. I took a commission to sew a 1600’s French Gentleman’s outfit for a friend (post coming soon!), and shortly thereafter, my husband requested that I make him some new Tudor garb. (Because I honestly don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not actively working on a sewing project). πŸ™‚

And so I present: Tudor Merchant-Wear from 1540:

1524717_641507462581275_37940334_nBasically, when I’m taking on a new project, I sit down and draft ideas as I do my research. This outfit was inspired by the Tudor Tailor’s version of documented Royal servant’s attire for 1540.

Since my husband’s persona is that of a merchant, we didn’t want anything too terribly fancy, but still better looking than your average working man of the time. We chose a fine-weave linen for the red layer, and a textured weave linen for the black. Linen was the fabric of choice for much clothing of the time, and as the clothes really DO make the man, it shows this gentleman is still a worker, even though the cut and style of his garments say he is well-er-off than your average laborer.

Since I already had a fairly standard doublet pattern (Simplicity 4059), making the necessary alterations for the black overcoat was a snap. The skirting needed more fabric for the necessary pleating in the back, and a swooped cut down the front. I used another jacket pattern for the red layer, and pretty much followed those directions verbatim.

The pants were another story…

The Pants of Doom

Oh, the pants!

Never have I EVER had a project that was so tricky and cunning and snarly to make! I used the pants pattern found in my Simplicity file, and then had to figure out how to pane them (that’s the term for the “striping” down the leg). To make these paned breeches, as they are called, I cut the cuffs and waist, and then cut and sewed ten 2 inch strips (the panes) all out of the black. The main portion of the pantleg came out of the red. Now the tricky part of the panes are that they have to be stitched both into the waistband AND the cuff, and with enough drape to them that they don’t prevent the wearer from moving his legs to sit, or walk, or jump, or step up onto something.

Traditionally, paned breeches came in varieties of different lengths, the most common being the men’s “short-short” version (aka. “slops”), or a slightly longer version that were worn with tights and/or grippy shorts called “canions.”

My sweet husband adamantly insisted there would be no “short-shorts” in ANY variety in his wardrobe. πŸ™‚ So paned “breeches” they became!

Once I solved the major issues of construction that always seem to occur (parts not lining up they way they should, sections not laying or draping correctly, especially on those Pants of Doom), it was time for buttons and finishing:

Took around 40 hours for all the cutting, trimming, serging, sewing, and finishing, and all things considered, I am well pleased with how this project turned out.


12 thoughts on “Sewing Project Roundup: 1540’s Tudor Merchant’s Wear

      1. It does surprise me how much of costuming really DOES tie into history. We don’t think of it so much now, especially when the fashion fads change every few months, but back then, clothes really said a LOT about who you were, what you did, where you came from. It’s very cool. πŸ™‚

    1. I’ve seen a few of them around, but actually have yet to buy any. πŸ˜› I really need to, though. I hear they’re pretty good quality.

      On Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM, Notes from a Musical Life wrote:


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