Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stop by and Say "Hi"!

I'll be teaching my new class: "Cover Your Head: A general overview of woman's headwear in the Middle Ages" at Ceilidh (Middle Kindgom event) on March 7th at 2pm. I'll be discussing a broad spectrum of head coverings from early, middle and late period (though I'll focus more on those from the 14th and 15th centuries) to give attendees a basis of knowledge for going out and making their own. I won't be discussing too much technique of creation- the focus is more on providing general information about each style as a start for further research on your own. I will have all 15 (yes- I replaced my Saint Birgitta's cap with a different one- but more on that after I complete it) of my personal headdresses, as well as a borrowed one or two, as physical examples to show during the class.

If you attend, please stop me afterward to let me know you heard about the class from my blog!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Down One

I took the St. Birgitta's Cap apart to fix the length, but after two days of not being able to figure it out- and not even being able to get it back together- I'm taking it out of my headdress stash. Goodbye #8.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not that I need another one...

I had been thinking about adding a German Kerchief with tassels to the headwear pile after seeing it on several sites and blogs, specifically on Marie Chantal Cadieux's site. On her picture page, here, she shows the particular way to wear it that I was picturing. My scribal teacher gave me some wimple-weight white linen for 12th night (that I received the day after I posted that I needed more!), so I was thinking that I may use it for one of these. The linen is so fine, however, that I don't think this is the right application for it.
But then, as I reviewed my headdresses yesterday, I got to thinking that my Flemish Kerchief could easily double as one of these. The only thing it will lack is a bit of length and the pleating at the front. I think I can overcome the pleating issue, however, by simply embroidering a series of lines in white along the front.
I think I really like this headdress because of the tassels at the back. Embroidery floss won't cut it for those, though. A non-plied wool yarn is the answer, I think.

I'm not going to do any of that, however, until I tackle some of the non-headdress items I have on my project pile, such as a new leather pouch.

I now have all the materials I need to complete a new ring pouch. My husband found my black ring pouch the other day (buried in the bottom of one of his leather boxes- how it got there is still a mystery), and seeing it again, I'm really not happy with it. I made it out of what I had on hand, but the ring is too heavy in relation to the thin flannel, and I don't like the look of the flannel anymore. What I have now to make a better pouch is several pieces of dark brown leather embossed with a floral pattern (that has a more 16th century/Tudor flare, but it's really nice). I also picked up some metal rings from the craft supply store. The ring is a bit on the small side, I probably won't be able to get my whole hand into the pouch once the leather encases the ring, but Dearg pointed out that I could just push up on the bottom of the pouch to get the contents from the bottom. I've worked out a 6 piece pattern that should work, but I'm going to use scrap fabric first as a prototype. I also have three colors of embroidery floss that I'll use to stitch a decorative trim around the base and top flap of the pouch. It will end up looking something like this:

The closure will be a strap of a similarly colored leather with a buckle (bronze in color), and it will have a belt loop at the back. I want it to look somewhat slumpy, so I may need to insert a lining that holds a weight of some kind along the bottom inside to give it that heavy appearance. The leather is somewhat on the lightweight side, which will also help. I'm thinking that it will be about 5" by 8" inches overall.

Also, I've decided that after we get the garb for the three kids done (by Winter's End in two weeks), it's time to go back to completing the teal fitted dress. I haven't lost any weight since my gall bladder removal surgery, and I'm getting pretty tired of wearing the same dress. It's funny, really. I have 15 headdresses and only 3 dresses. I need to have at least one new dress for the summer, and the teal dress might-as-well be it. I'll need more than one, really, so the summer will be a fun time of scooping up all the wool I can afford to have dresses made for Pennsic War in August.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Magic Number is 15


Yes. 15. I have 15 headdresses. I know this now because I decided I needed to do a better job of storing them. I had a photo box that my husband abandoned, so I took all of my foldable headdresses, tagged most of them for easier identification, and stuffed them into it. Only a few didn't make it in, mainly the hats, circlets and a few other odd pieces. Shall we take a look at them all?

1. Viking Coif with heraldic embroidery (made by my mom).
2. Working Class headdress. Still needs to be shortened in the front.

3. Leather Heraldic Circlet and
4. Veil with fillet and barbet
5. White un-hemmed turban. I have several pieces of various sizes of this, so I count them as one.
6. Snood. I have two of these, this teal one and a silver-toned one. Both made my my mom.
7. Metal circlet
8. Saint Birgitta's Cap. Still needs to be lengthened.
9. Open Hood. Still not quite sure why this doesn't sit on my shoulders right.
10. Remember this one? 16th Century "Muffin" Cap
11. Button front hood (made by my mom)
12. Henin with lapet and sheer veil
13. Heart Shaped Headdress
14. Flemish Kerchief.
15. Last, but not least, 14th Century Coif






Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Bad for a First Attemp

I'm getting pretty good at these "first attempts". I spent the past couple of days creating my very own Saint Birgitta's Cap, and, as you can see in the photo, I didn't quite do it right.


I believe my error was in cutting it too short. After cutting the two halves using my old coif as a guide, I looked at the pieces and decided that they were too long. They probably weren't. If my hair grows out any more, the cap I ended up with probably won't fit.
I think the easiest way to fix it is to remove the strap, take out the gathers at the base, rip out the hem and add an extra 2 to 3 inches to each half. I'll have a visible seam, but I don't think that's a problem.
I had also originally intended that I would cross the strap in the back before looping it around to the front, but that left it too short. So I'll need to re-address the attachment of that after I add the extra length.
On a good note, I believe this is one of my best hand sewn pieces, as far as the technical aspects go. I really paid attention to my stitches especially when I join the two halves together, and all the way down the length of the strap. I would say that my hand sewing skills have definitely seen improvement.
I just have a ways to go in getting the item right the first time.

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.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Saint Birgitta's Cap

As if I need something else on my project pile...how about a Saint Birgitta's cap?
I know, I know. If I keep adding things, I'll never get anything done. But I was reading some of the blogs I regularly visit today and saw that Isis over at Medieval Silkwork posted about the Saint Birgitta's Cap yesterday. It looked so lovely on her, and since I finally got to see how to actually put it on, I got that horrible "must have one" urge. And for me that equates to the "must make one" urge.
I need more white linen. Bad.