The Ickworth sewing circle

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The Ickworth sewing circle is a group of volunteers who have a passion for historic costume.

Can you imagine watching a period drama with the actors all in modern dress? Neither can we, so our dedicated team of sewers are tasked with the enormous job of providing us with period costumes for our projects.

Early days

The sewing circle has been coming to Ickworth fortnightly since 2000 to make costumes for Ickworth’s events and projects.

Ickworth has previously concentrated on its Georgian past and for many years we've celebrated the members of the Hervey family and their friends who were part of life.

In one of our projects we decided to re-create the clothes worn by the Hervey family in the painting ‘A Conversation Piece’ by H F B Gravelot. You can have a closer look at the painting in the smoking room in the Rotunda.

Changing our look

Aside from these stunning costumes, the sewing circle has created many other costumes for fun dressing-up days, period re-enactment events and lots more. 

However, this house has a long and varied history and now we're moving forward to look at life as a servant on the estate as part of our Ickworth Lives project.

From Georgian panniers to servants' clothing

Before the renovation of the Rotunda basement, our costumes mainly focused on the pomp and circumstance of life upstairs in our beautiful house.

However, we're bringing the basement back to how it looked in 1910 at the last restoration by Lady Theodora Hervey.

All of the servants' stories we've gathered relate to life in the late 1920s and 1930s. We'll be telling these stories when we open the basement in March 2012.

The sewing circle is now busy making costumes which the servants would have worn in the 1930s. To do so, we've trawled through archive histories to find as much as possible about the colours and styles worn at Ickworth.

What's next?

The sewing circle have been working exceptionally hard making costumes for the maids, cooks and head housekeeper in time for the basement opening. You'll see the fruits of their labours at our Living History days throughout the year. In due course they'll be working on costumes for the gardeners and estate workers.