Saturday, February 7, 2009

Making Unnecessary Headwear is FUN!

I have a couple of pieces of white linen I got from my mom to make coifs with several months ago. The coif I have now (and the type she intended I would make), isn't going to work for my 15th century kit. You can see my mom wearing hers in our household photo in this post. First off, I can't find any period image showing a woman wearing this kind of coif. Not saying that there isn't one out there, I just haven't found one. Secondly, it's associated more with the 13th and 14th centuries than the 15th.

Though the Saint Birgitta Cap is a 14th century item, from what I can gather, it was worn into the 15th century. By women. (Important point there.) So, instead of the "traditional" coif, I'll be using the white linen for at least one SBC. I don't have enough tho make two, so I'll have to come up with something else to make with the rest of the linen. Not as though that will be a hard task.

I'm not sure how to go about making the SBC, though. I think I'll employ a "hold up to my head and pin where I think I need to cut" method to get the correct shape. I know that the key to the cap is the straight line down the center where the two halves join. Here's a reconstruction by Joanna L. that shows the center seam done in a herringbone stitch (similar to the original). (Check out her blog, Maiden's Chamber, for more of her projects.)

This page has a diagram showing the basic construction. The diagram is from Medieval clothings and textiles vol. 4., which goes into detail about the cap. I have trouble figuring out the curve on diagrams like this. I prefer to work with measurements, but, as I discovered with the open hood, measurements can lie if you're not looking at the three-dimensional aspect of the piece. This is why I don't make my own dresses.