One helpful hint for folks who have not read a lot of early modern English written accounts – read it aloud and sound out words you don’t recognize. Often, your brain will figure it out through that process. Other times, you’ll have to look up a word you don’t recognize (googling it can help). In some cases, it’s possible that you aren’t recognizing it because it’s a word you don’t know in modern English. For example, I couldn’t figure out “balas” because I didn’t know it was a type of gem in modern English. 🙂
For me, it was slow going at first because I had to learn to recognize weird spellings of words I know *and* learn new words, but after you see “pearls” spelled “perles” a few times, you no longer have to think about it at all, and it starts to go a lot faster with practice. It does pay to take the time to really learn the names of commonly used fabrics. Many of the ones used in the 16th century in England are listed in useful tables in _The Tudor Tailor_. I recommend starting to read period accounts with the bookmarked TT book next to you. You don’t have the TT book yet? If I could keep only one of my 16th century costuming books – and I have a lot of them, that would be the one I’d keep because it gives you the basics for fabrics, stitches, colors, and patterns for a full century of garments for both men and women. Not all of their patterns are perfect, but it’s still the one book I’d keep.