“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Coif (much needed head-wear)

The one thing I felt would be the hardest to replicate in my chosen painting was not one of the clothing pieces, but the girls beautiful hairdo.

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My short red modern hairstyle do not lend itself well to even the easiest of historical hairdos.
I’ve tried hairpieces and wigs but never been totally happy with it – try to blend or attach hairpieces to a non existing do, or wear a wig when the small red hair at your sideburns take every opportunity to escape.

No, the only time I feel I actually can get away (barley) with my modern hairdo is while wearing a fully covered head-cloth, hat, bonnet, turban etc.

So what to do?

I needed to find an appropriate head coverage to make.
So on to the ever knowing Pinterest I went.

And found two alternatives that I really liked:

The simple head-cloth with its adorable turned up brim.The Glass of Wine (detail), c.1661, Johannes Vermeer.

Vermeer coif

And the smaller Coif, which may not cover all of the hair, but probably would work better together with my bodice and fur collar and still giving me some neck. 1662_lacemaker_netscherI almost wish I’ve found this painting earlier, so to make this as my 17th century project instead…

This example is worn with a forhead cloth – perfect for taming my short and flying bangs. a4693bed8c066a9777bbe705b7d6accf_resized

Patterns for this kind of coif can be found in almost every book covering this period in time.
But I choose to use the great pattern/tutorial from “The pragmatic costumer
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So this weekend I drafted the pattern – following the awesomely easy instructions.IMG_7925

While drafting I decide to not make a mock-up but a kind of working toile instead.
So I dug through my fabrics and found this lovely patterned golden polyester fabric, I’ve bought with 17th century doublet, dress or waistcoat in mind.
IMG_7926Yep, it’s really that narrow.

So I cut the pieces in golden polyester and white left over linen fabric.
I also added some pieces for the forehead-cloth. IMG_7929

As a “mock-up” I didn’t wanted to wast any time making it up, so I stitched the whole coif on the sewing machine.IMG_7931First seams ready, time to turn and press.

Then I folded the channel for the gathering cord.IMG_7933

I sigzaged the back seam and basted around the opening to get a nice closed top.
IMG_7934 IMG_7935
The technique was almost the same as in the hood on my 18th century red riding hood.

And lastly I put in the gathering cord.IMG_7953

IMG_7952They look so small and cute – and actually quite good in this fabric.

Finished forehead cloth:IMG_7951

Finished gold patterned Coif:
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***

Then it was on to the real deal.

IMG_7928Nice linen /cotton blend ready for the linen thread and needle.

This time I only cut one of each piece (omitting the lining) to reduce the stiffness and bulky feeling I got from the patterned one.

I just whinged it on the size of the forehead cloth, and it seemed to work nicely on the test run, so I use the same size on the linen one.IMG_7956

One thing I changed on this one was hemming the center back opening before gathering it – this way makes for a much nicer finish.IMG_7940

I also added some scrap lace to the outer edge.IMG_7938

IMG_7937Getting the gathering cord ready.

IMG_7954like a baby’s cap…

Finished linen coif:IMG_7957

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The Facts:

Challenge: nr 7-2015 Accessorize

What: Two 1550-1650s Coif

Pattern: Based on “The pragmatic Costumer”s pattern tutorial (which was awesome)

Fabric & Notions: (for both coifs) 30 cm linen fabric, 30 cm patterned gold polyester fabric, thread, 50 cm (x 2) thin cord and 60 cm small lace.

How historical Accurate: The linen coif are pretty straight on – accurate pattern, material and stitches. About 8/10
The patterned one are completely modern – polyester fabric and machine construction. More like 5/10

Time: 3 hours total for both (linen 2,5 hours, patterned 0,5 hours).

Cost: About 80 Sek (10 Usd) total.

First Worn: hopefully someday soon for photos.

Final Thoughts: I really like the way they both came out. So simple and fast – I even consider the possibility to make and sell these in a near future.

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4 thoughts on ““Sew 17th century Challenge” – Coif (much needed head-wear)

  1. I am so excited to see someone using my tutorial! Your coifs turned out so beautifully–so neat and tidy! The forehead cloth works wonders for fit, as I later discovered.

  2. What a beautiful coif! Will you wind up wearing the gold poly one? Or maybe combining the gold forehead cap with the linen coif? It’s so simple and pretty.

    (By the by, the english term for that stitch is “zigzag”. Rickrack generally only refers to the type of trim/braid that makes that shape. Silly sewing terminology :-P)

    • Thanks!
      I think for now U will use the linen one, but I definately liked the idea of combining the two.
      Ops, he he Thank you – technical terms and second language can mess tings up for you☺ Thanks for noticing.

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