Friday, February 22, 2013

14th century hood

It's done!  I based the design for Bronwyn's Laurelling hood on London hood #247 as described in Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-c.1450 from the series on Medieval finds from excavations in London put out by the Museum of London.  Marc Carlson has a handy summary on his website.  Women's hoods of this type were shorter than this, but I added to the mantle in order to fit the embroideries.  There's an extra gore in back for the same reason.  It doesn't lie as flat as I would like for that reason, but it needs to be there to accommodate the reason for its manufacture. 

I tried to talk myself into doing just a plain hood sewn up the front, but the more I looked around, the more I found that that style seemed to be more masculine.  Women's hoods were more often buttoned.  With lots of buttons. Lots and lots of buttons. This little hood has 23 buttons. Unless you are a pewter caster and make your own, that's a big investment in buying buttons.  Conveniently, there are other methods used to make buttons. I'm actually a sucker for making buttons, as you may have noticed with other projects. I love doing threadworked buttons, but they are not the correct type for this time period.  I'm not as enamoured with cloth buttons, which are correct.  I'm just worried that they're too soft.  Also, I need all the help I can get for making things even and consistent, and wads of fabric don't seem to turn out how I'd prefer.  Most tutorials for these start with circles of fabric and make what is basically a quilter's yo-yo that you stuff.  I do mine from squares of fabric and self stuff them, using the corners of the button to fill out the center.  Here's a video of the basic technique done by Katrin (and a great blog as well.  She posts amazing links.)  I do some additional stitching in concentric circles to further shape and stiffen the button.  Then they're attached to the edge of the fabric, projecting out on longish shanks.  It is a different look than the modern eye is used to, but it does draw attention to that long row of buttons you just slaved away on.  It also makes the curve to the face work as it doesn't get caught up in weird overlap that needs to be trimmed. Not that that is truly a problem, while the hood buttons all the way forward, it was usually worn with the ones around the face open.  Sometimes they were all open.  And occasionally, the hood was worn more like a hat, entirely on the head. Fashion shifted and this became the precursor to the Tudor Hood. So basically what I'm saying here is that after making loads and loads of buttons and the accompanying buttonholes, they may not in fact be used.  Ahhh, fashion. They do still look cool as a sort of trim along the edge.

Speaking of trim, I made that.  Which you can tell, because it blends so well you can barely see it in the picture.  There's a double interlooped braid along the edge of the embroidery strip.  You can also see lengths of it laid on the bands down the liripipe.  I put the embroidered strip on in a period method for applique.  Again, it doesn't seem like it is right, but stay with me.  Modern quilters applique by turning under their edges, but medieval applique isn't done in that fashion. Instead, the piece to be appliqued is applied to the base and then the edges are covered with cord. It's usually gold thread. Gilded leather is also an option.  Since I wanted this to be washable, I went for a cording made of wool and silk. I actually really like this method.  The West Kingdom Needleworker's Guild has an introductory article on this type of applique. I've taught a couple of classes on it as well.

There isn't evidence for a full lining of linen. Some of the extant hoods have an applied strip of linen to reinforce buttonholes, but there aren't full linings.  There is documentary evidence for fur linings, however, and much of the pictorial evidence shows hood fronts flipped back to show off a different color.  I went with linen since I had an amazing green linen jacquard, and I wanted the hood to be two tone of blue and green. In part the green is there since I felt it appropriate for a Laurelling hood, but mostly, Bronwyn's heraldic colors are azure and vert.  She mentioned to me at the event where she was later called up and asked to begin contemplating the question of joining the Orderthat she always has some green on as it is her favorite color.  I laughed and joked that she should have taken her apprentice belt much earlier (she avoided taking one for a very long time,) since it would have kept some green on her. I finished the edges with bias of the green and used it further as a trim on the liripipe. 

So there we go, a hood made with love and supported by a group of friends. It has been patiently waited for.  There's even a bit of documentation.  Seems to sum up what I think makes Bronwyn a wonderful addition to The Order of the Laurel.


  1. SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

    Will you be at Defenders? Please say yes. Please please.

  2. I'm going to be at Defenders. And Coronation. Or I can get my butt in the car and bring it to you some time this weekend. Like I said, you have been more than patient since my January went splat with sick kids and sick me and it took me 2 months to finish. I'm really sorry for that.