At St Bartholomews



Really enjoyed presenting our Tudor Talk with costume display this morning for the Newcastle Embroiderers Guild – it had snowed heavily very late last night and we were worried that when we woke up it would be a very heavy covering.

Hey presto! As if by magic all the snow had disappeared this morning and we had no problem to driving to Bartholomew’s Hall in Forest Hall near Newcastle upon Tyne – 0n a good day it’s only a 10-15 minute run from our home in Cramlington.

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Newcastle upon Tyne Embroiderers’ Guild is a friendly, enthusiastic group of embroiderers – their aim is to share opportunities for creativity and promote embroidery for all – everyone is welcome, from beginner to expert.

The only qualification needed is an interest in, and love of, embroidery. – they group say you can enjoy embroidery and not pick up a needle.The ladies really enjoyed our talk and we really enjoyed presenting it.

Threads 'The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn'

One of my favourite costumes – my Blue Silk Anne Boleyn Gown has been chosen to grace the cover of a novel about my favourite Tudor Queen . I was happy to show the ladies a copy of ‘The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn’  written by Nell Gavin  – my lovely model Laura is on the front and back cover wearing my gown.

While discussing Tudor underwear I mentioned that in the 16th Century Tudor ladies wore no type panties or knickers at all and that that type of undergarment was not deemed desirable or essential and in truth had not even been thought of – however strange that seems to us today.A lady attending the talk asked me if I knew where the names knickers and also panties comes from. The word drawers was invented because underwear was drawn on.


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Apparently the word knickers  comes from a novel called History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker, supposedly a Dutchman living in New York (novel was actually written by Washington Irving).The illustrations for the book in this country showed a Dutchman wearing long loose fitting garments on his lower body.Knickerbockers were men’s loose trousers worn for sport so women’s underwear were soon called knickerbockers too. In the late 19th century the word was shortened to knickers in the late 1800’s . In America ladies undergarments are called panties, which is obviously a shortened form of the word pants.


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I enjoyed chatting to the ladies after my talk and was happy to answer questions or queries about both my costume design and history of the Tudors. I even caught up with an old friend Kath who used to work with me at Northumbria University – it was great to see her.

I am currently producing a new talk for 2016.  It is about Fashion and Queen Marie Antoinette.  My 18th Century inspired costumes will include a pink patterned silk corset and panniers, La Reine Chemise worn with a pretty Bergere hat and and a fabulous court gown worn with an amazing wig.


This talk should be available from early next year – date to be advised. A number of the ladies I am pleased to say expressed an interest in booking my costume event-  I will be providing more information about my new talk in a future post.

We also enjoyed refreshments after my talk – I would like to thank the ladies for their help and hospitality – not forgetting my super son James who kindly set up the display.





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