Students In Their Own Words

People from diverse backgrounds have attended our short courses and they have come to us for very different reasons. Here is a selection of students’ thoughts having completed one of the courses.

“The School of Historical Dress is blazing an essential and innovative trail by being the one to take historical construction seriously enough to teach it in exhaustive detail. Close observation of original garments was, and is always, illuminating, but to be instructed in an informed manner on how to study and pattern extant garments in a museum setting was unique and priceless.”

Cathy Hay
Harman Hay Publications
Online magazines for costume makers
‘An Introduction to the Study of Historical Dress c 1850 – 1900’, a two-day course Spring 2013



“Thank you. After over ten years of making historical clothing with no help except published literature, I was stuck – dead-ended. The SHD has not only opened up new horizons all around me, it’s given me a whole new toolbox to explore them with. I’ve had the most amazing learning experiences, and, especially on the doublet course, the amateur’s exhilaration at training with the champions. It is also intensely heartening to be with people who act on the belief that knowledge and skill are enhanced by sharing, not keeping, and that we should spread and share them wherever we can.”

Geeske Kruseman
Researcher & maker of historical clothing from the Netherlands
‘An Introduction to the Study of Historical Dress c 1500 – 1900’, a two-day course Autumn 2011
‘18th Century Underpinnings’, a five-day course Spring 2012
‘Making, Starching & Setting an Elizabethan Ruff’, a two-day course Spring 2013
‘The Cut & Construction of Men’s Doublets 1580 -1620’, a six-day course Spring 2013



“This course brought to life the skills involved in making and starching an Elizabethan ruff. The hands-on approach is far more useful than just reading about it in a book. I did not realise what an intricate and time consuming job it was, the Tudor ruff makers were indeed wonderful craftspeople. It was an invaluable experience for me and will help me in my job as a historic costumed guide and dressmaker.”

Pat Atkins
Mary Arden’s House costumed interpreter
‘Making, Starching & Setting an Elizabethan Ruff’, a two-day course, Spring 2013



“The teaching was extremely detailed and professional and tutor had a vast knowledge of historical stays and sewing techniques. I felt I learned in a week more about history, textiles and sewing than in years and I enjoyed it enormously.”

Salme Vanhanen
Textile conservator and dressmaker, Finland
‘The Cut & Construction of 18th Century Stays’, a five-day course Spring 2013



“Working with groups of sewing volunteers as I do, I found the weekend course that I attended tremendously useful, with information clearly and generously given.”

Barbara Painter
Historical clothing maker and teacher
‘An Introduction to the Study of Historical Dress c 1850 – 1900’, a two-day course Spring 2013