Costuming at Barley Hall

Project:  Medieval Costuming

Institution:  Barley Hall (York, England)

Date:  2008


Dressing a Mannequin

Dressing a Mannequin


After the duration of my contract position at Barley Hall ended, I spent some time doing voluntary projects for the hall before leaving England to return to Canada.  The costume collection needed some attention, so I created a few original pieces, re-worked a few existing pieces, and guided fellow volunteers in undertaking costuming tasks. Featured in this page are the details and some photographs of a few selected works.  I originally uploaded these images to deviantArt there are some other Barley Hall related projects over there (a repair to some textiles displayed in the Great Hall, a few experiments and samples) and if you’d like to see those too, then please follow this link.

Before beginning the work on these pieces, I researched medieval dress in the University of York library, especially referring to “the Medieval Tailor’s Assistant” by Sarah Thursfield (I would later receive a copy as a parting gift from my friends and colleagues at the hall, which holds a place of high esteem on my book shelf).




Smock: Close Up

Smock: Close Up



White Linen Smock:  A linen smock is a cornerstone of any medieval lady’s wardrobe it’s a foundation garment, and easier to launder than woolen outer-garments.  This smock is completely stitched by hand (including long seams) using medieval techniques, from new linen we purchased in a large quantity to support costume projects a the hall.





Smock and Kirtle

Smock and Kirtle

Blue Kirtle: Close Up

Blue Kirtle: Close Up



Blue Woolen Kirtle:  I created this kirtle from leftover woolen material found in the attic at the hall.  I didn’t create it for anybody in particular, but by happy coincidence and my own costuming smarts, my former colleagues still at Barley Hall report that it fits almost anybody who puts it on and sees regular play at Barley Hall events.  Large seams are machine-stitched, all finishing work by hand.  Unlined.



Surcote WIP

Snapshot of Surcote mid-construction.

Surcote- Complete

Completed Surcote

Gray Surcote:  The surcote is re-worked from a seriously oversized Viking-style woolen smock that wasn’t getting worn a lot at the hall.  The image on the left shows it in-progress- I worked with the mannequin to pick a satisfying arm hole.


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