*NOTE* This review was done January 31, 2003 and refers to the first version of Tudor Roses, not the recent revision/reprint. Until Amazon's book listing system separates the two different books out by version, this review, which is 10 years old, will not be relevant to the new book. There is a section about the CHANGES in the new edition at the end of this updated review. Again, this review was and is for the original edition.
The Tudor kings and queens had sumptuous clothing down to an art--gold embroidery, padding, slits, velvet, silks, jewels, lace. They had it all--and they wore it all at the same time. (They apparently did NOT have the fashion rule to look in the mirror and take ONE ornament away to avoid overdressing. No indeed. Their rule seemed to be to look in the mirror and make sure to add ONE MORE THING. Was there any other time in history when costume was so frankly over-the-top? I don't believe so.)
Alice Starmore and her apprentice, daughter Jade, created a number of sweater designs inspired by the Tudor royals. These are not recreations of Tudor clothing. Instead, these are wearable art that give an impression of richness. Of the designs, one of the most stunning is "Katherine Howard" done by Jade Starmore. She is especially good at dramatic shaping in knitwear--her trademark. The design is in "gold" and "silver" color wool that looks like metallic embroidery couching over a carnelian colored ground. While done in plain, matte wool colors, the impression of this sweater is of a richly embroidered coat with a peplum.
The "Margaret Tudor" is interesting in that it features textured knitting depicting thistles, with pewter buttons studding the cables to give the effect of jewelry. Wearable, but dramatic.
There is also a lot of colorwork done with Starmore's unique way to blend many, many subtle shades of yarn that creates a pearly effect. This is especially effective in the "Henry VIII" which uses golds and browns on a blue ground. The blended shades look like gold embroidery. Amazing.
The most interesting choice of design was the "Elizabeth I", which is NOT pounds of textured yarns and buttons like a heavily-jeweled tunic, but instead, virginal WHITE with a textured neck pattern taken from silk stockings. The shaping is that of a stomacher (lower in front, slanting down over the tummy.) It is a testament to the "Virgin Queen" image of Elizabeth while quoting amusingly from the famous design of the silk stockings she made popular. Think Glynis Paltrow or Cate Blanchett. If you have a pretty figure, this would look stunning.
CHANGES in NEW REVISED EDITION published in November 2013. The original review above is for the 1998 edition and the review was published in 2003. I am updating the review because at this writing, the books are listed under the same heading. They are different books.
Patterns with same styling, colorways, but fit may be different than the original 1998:
Anne of Cleves
Elizabeth the first
Katherine of Aragon
Same name, but different appearance:
Elizabeth of York
Completely New Patterns to the New Edition:
Mary, Queen of Scots