Tudor girl’s clothes.

Posted on by Barbara Mitchelhill

My new book Road to London is and adventure about a boy, Thomas Munmore.  He is desperate to become a famous actor like William Shakespeare and so he runs away to London.  On the way, he meets a girl called Alice Trowte who is a serving wench at an inn.

Thinking about Thomas and Alice, I decided to make an outfit that each of them might have worn so that, when I go into schools, children could see what Tudor clothes were like and how different they were from their own.

Here is Alices’ outfit.

The smock


Alice’s clothes would be made of either wool or linen – no cotton or synthetics, of course.  And no underwear.  Now there’s a shock!

First of all, she would put on a smock made of linen which could be washed (but probably not that often).  She would wear this both during the day and in bed at night.




Red flannel petticoat

Next comes the red flannel petticoat.

Red fabric worn close to the skin was meant to promote good health.  Henry VIII had red underwear made for him when his health began to cause him problems and Elizabeth I was wrapped in red flannel when she had smallpox.




Woollen kirtle with attached bodice

On top of this, Alice has a woollen kirtle with attached bodice.  The bodice could have been fastened with buttons made out of cloth but I like to think that Alice was given ribbons as a birthday present (bought from a tinker).

Fastening the bodice with ribbons means that is can be expanded as Alice grows.

If her woollen clothes were splashed with mud, she would let the mud dry and brush it off.




To get ready for work in the tavern, Alice wears a linen apron to save her kirtle from getting dirty.  Notice that it isn’t gathered at the front as modern aprons might be.

Last of all, she has tied a square of linen on her head to cover her hair.

I’ve already started to make the costume for Thomas Munmore.  No jeans and tee shirt.  He’ll have a doublet and hose.



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