Costume Designer Costume Maker Historical Reenactment

Anne Boleyn – Greensleeves

This project was in my mind for years. I’ve been a “Tudor addicted” since I’ve read “The other Boleyn Girl” by P. Gregory. Despite her novel it’s a bit unfair to Anne Boleyn, it was the main reason why I decided to study her life, searching and reading as much as I could find.
Anne is a very mithological character, surrounded by an aura of mistery. It’s not easy to find impartial and complete sources, as she has been hit by the “damnatio memoriae”, after her fall from Henry VIII’s grace.
According to some reports she wasn’t a virtue lady, some called her also “witch” because of her rumored sixth finger.
What the chronicles gave us are mostly rumors started by her detractors.
Nowday historians are trying to rehabilitate her, starting from what she gave to England and to the history: Elizabeth I, her powerful daugher.

I was inspired by “Greensleeves” ballad. There was a rumor said that Henry VIII had written this song for Anne, referring to the long sleeves she used to wear for , according to the malicious tounges, hiding her famous sixth finger. Of course, there are no evidences of this story.
The research for this costume was quite long.
I found The Tudor Tailor a very good guide,where are listed all the original materials and the modern options, and the patterns.
At first I made the base of this costume, in order to wear it like a XVI century Tudorian lady.

The hidden layers, as undergarments, are a white cotton smock and a light green taffetta petticoat. I decided to not use a farthingale but rather a padded roll, really comfortable.
One of the displayed layer is the kirtle. I made mine in silver and grey damasc, the bodice is steel boned and embellished by pearls and green rhinestones. I used the same damasc for the foresleeves.
The other layer is the French Gown in emerald green duchesse satin and emeral green velvet for the oversleeves.
I found relaxing making and handsewing this pleated skirt, “knife” pleats for the front and “cartridge” for the back.
At last but not at least, the French Hood. This part of the costume was the most changelling one. It wasn’t easy to find the proper materials, most of them were purchasing from abroad. After several mockup and patterns I made the final hood, using the same fabrics of the gown, embellished with pearls and rhinestones, the same I used for the girdle and foresleeves.
In conclusion, it was a great experience making this costume.
Above all I really love wearing it.