Hello - I'm Jo. Welcome to my website.
The 17th Century is my happy place. It's where I belong. It's such an amazing period of history - and yet, still so undiscovered. Whilst I love researching and sharing my knowledge of many aspects of every day life four hundred years ago, its the clothes that really get me. I just feel like I was born to wear them. Physically and visually its where I fit. I even got married in a 17th Century style gown. I have dabbled in other eras, but my heart belongs to the Stuart period of history. I mean, come on - satin, ribbons and lace , - what's not to like!
I've loved history and period costume for as long as I can remember. I spent most of my formative years drawing 'women in big dresses' or attempting various period hairstyles, usually involving lots of ringlets.
I first encountered re-enactment twenty years ago when I saw Syr John Owen's Regiment of Foote at a castle in North Wales. Owens recreate life during the English Civil Wars of the mid 17th Century. With my passion for history and dramatic nature I was immediately hooked. I made my re-enacting depute the following January at the the Battle of Nantwich as a common camp follower. I quickly added Regimental Fifer, Spy and Pikeman to my repertoire. Although my defining role must surely be Lady Mary Myddelton, defending her home against the besieging Royalist forces.
Growing up I'd aspired to be an actress, but now I realise it was just my deep seated desire to wear period clothing... which re-enactment allows me to do. And I was never going to be satisfied with just one decent 17th Century outfit. I wanted lots! The only way I could ever afford this was to have a go at making things myself.
Its been a slow and sometimes painful process. When I started making my own 'kit', I had three books on period costume and a basic idea of how pattern pieces fitted together. I didn't even know how to sew a proper hem. There was a lot of trial and error, loads of unpicking, quite a bit of swearing and maybe just a few tears.
I've had several triumphs and a few disasters. I've had to think outside the box, back inside the box again and occasionally had to make the box to begin with.
I've mastered new skills and developed existing ones, such as making bobbin and needle lace, knitting stockings and how to curl the perfect ringlet.
But the desire to create something new, something a little more historically accurate drives me on. Just like my teenage self, I still have a head full of big dresses, only now I see myself wearing them and not some faceless figure on paper.