Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In Progress: Frilled Hood (continued)

Before starting the collar frills, I started to question the shape of my main veil. Getting the curve at the top of the head right is very tricky, and I wasn't happy with what I was getting.

One of the things that makes a lot of sense to me about hoods from the 14th and 15th centuries is that the use of tippets and liripipes off the top of the head effectively makes dealing with the head's curve a moot point. Of all the curves of the body, the head is one of the hardest to fit, and the curve at the back is unique for all of us. Ignoring that curve altogether by adding a stylized shape to the hood eliminates a fair amount of tailoring, time and effort.

Unfortunately, the evidence for what a frilled hood might look like at the back is scant. Some of the best examples we have of the particular headdress style are memorial brasses or effigies, in which the back of the head is either concealed, or simply not addressed. I did find this image, but the roughness of the carving at the back may indicate that it was not actually carved in the back- just given some initial shaping.

The effigy of Maud de Grey (1394, St. Michaels) shows a fair amount of the top of the head, indicating a gentle curve that, at the very least, shows an attention to matching the curve.

Detail of Maud de Grey Effigy, 1394

Unfortunately, the pillow conceals any more information than that.

So I decided to go back to the drawing board on my main piece once again. This time, I went with a very rectangular piece, with only a slight amount of shaping at the neck, and a very basic curve at the top. The top, where it is straight, could be on the fold, but I'm not opposed to having a full seam. After playing around with it, I realized it needed to be shortened, and I still needed the triangular bits that stick out to the front. Here's what it looked like:

The top curve was too loose, and gave me too much of a point, unlike the smooth curve seen on Maud de Grey. So I went back to a curve that matched my head more. I also fiddled with the length some more, trying to find the point at which the veil covered the back of my shoulders, but didn't bunch up a huge amount when the front sat where I wanted it to. A greater curve at the neck helps with that. Ultimately, I ended up with this:

Quite interestingly, the frill lengths for the front and the collar are the same, which makes things easy. The three frills were heavy, so I used one on the bottom. Now that I know the length is the same, I only need to complete one more set of frills. Two for the top, and two for the collar. I may decide to go back to three each, though, if the two look like they'll be too flat. Starching will go a long way to making them look right, so it's a bit hard to know now if three is too much.

I will not be using the same light weight linen for the main body of the veil, since it really is too flimsy to handle the weight of the frills. Instead, I'll use regular medium-weight linen- the same weight I used when I originally tried making a frilled veil. I just have to decide now how to handle attaching the frills to the main veil. I think browsing through Isis's frilled veil work will provide an answer, or at least inspiration.

Unfortunately, I've got to put this project aside so that I can complete my husband's new tunic. I'll be doing an embroidered design on the chest, and I need to have it at least outlined for it to be suitable for him to wear at Simple Day. But first, I have to complete the seam finishing.

If there's enough time before the event to get the frilled hood completed, I'll definitely do that though. It's so close to being ready to rock, and I can't stand the idea of not having it, but promises are promises, and the tunic must come first!


  1. I hope you manage to have time to get the veil wearable for Simple Day! Seeing it would totally make my day.

  2. I hope you can get the veil done too! I don't know you, but I'm going to Simple Day as well (hopefully with a new dress too!) :-)

  3. It's looking good so far. I'll be interested to see the finished piece.

    (As for the German effigy - the comment on the next picture (which shows the entire effigy and her husband's effigy too) that it was originally horizontal as part of a larger tomb. So, the roughness at the back of the head is not from lazy carving, but rather because the back of the head was originally attached to the tomb and then in subsequent years hacked off.)

    1. Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for filling in that detail!