When is a hood not a hood? When it’s a bonnet and frontlet.. unless it isn’t.

A while ago I found myself fascinated with a hat. I blame Tullia. Happily the hat is limited both chronologically and geographically. As far as I can tell this headgear was popular from 1488-1515 in northern France/Brittany and the Netherlands. Even more happily that seems to coincide with my waisted kirtles which I like to wear so much.

I made this cap up for my elevation to the Laurel last year(and completely forgot to post about it). I believe this would be called a “Breton Cap”. I’ve found references naming the decoration “agrafe”.

What I did:
– My hair (which is down to the middle of my back) is braided into two braids behind my ears with a tape and then is laced on the top of my head. Tape purchased from Tudor Tailor’s Etsy store: Hairlacing Kit in Red with Cream Stripes for Tudor/Elizabethan Reenactment Featuring Bronze Bodkin and Ribbon.
– Over that I wore a pair of ear irons. Ear irons made by Louise Passe and ordered from her Etsy store Oorijzer, or Ear Irons**.
– Over this I wore a red silk taffeta coif I made. This is lined in linen and edged with some gold lace. A red ribbon is used to hold this on my head. I suspect I’ve made my coif too small. There’s far too much of my hair showing in front of it. I’ll need to remake this in the future.
– On top of this I wore a black velvet round bonnet (lined in black linen) and a black velvet frontlet (lined in gold silk taffeta) edged with some findings purchased from Joanne’s. The frontlet and bonnet were made following the pattern from “The Queen’s Servants”. I’ve tacked the frontlet to the bonnet and then pinned the whole thing to the coif and my hair with pins purchased from Historic Enterprises. Pins, Veil, pkg of 4 or 10
– The Laurel agrafe (gold decorative pin) was purchased from Etaine du Pommier who also has an Etsy store.

** I’m not certain that Ear Irons were used under the Breton cap. But, considering this is a style from Brittany (the northern part of modern day France) and Brittany is ~400 miles from The Netherlands/Belgium and Ear Irons were widely used in the low countries, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to use ear irons to tame the corners of my coif under the Breton cap. Besides that, they’re just cool.

Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild: English, French, and Burgundian Women’s
Bonnets in the 15th Century: One costumer’s exploration and recreation of historical headwear by Cynthia Barnes (Volume 12, Number 2 Mar-Apr 2014)

From “Anne of Brittany: The Story of a Duchess and Twice-crowned Queen”
“Francis himself, in ducal robes, received with the Lady Anne, who wore a quaint Breton cap and a rich gown whose train was heavy with gold embroidery.”

From “The Queen’s Library”:

From “Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne. Illuminated by Jean Poyer”:
“Poyer paints Anne wearing the Breton cap, which signified her ties to her homeland of Brittany, and dress in maroon, a favorite color of the queen.”

Johnson, Caroline, The Queen’s Servants: Gentlewoman’s dress at the accession of Henry VIII, United Kingdom: Fat Goose Press, 2011. Print.


Diary started Feb 23, 2010.
Gollar first worn Sunday December 4, 2011.


German dresses are lovely.. but if you leave your tata’s uncovered they’re going to get cold. I’ve wanted to make a Gollar for a long time. A Gollar is a short, sometimes fur-lined cape sometimes with a collar worn over many of the German dresses. A few years ago for Valentine’s Day my honey got me a full pelt of sheared beaver. I am totally going to use that to line my Gollar.

Research and Background

Textiler Hausrat mentions that Gollars can be seen as a component of feminine clothing in Durer’s costume study of 1500. While primarily a fashion of the first quarter of the 16th C, it does continue until 1570’s. Even women of lower middle class standing were permitted gollars made of “Atlas, Damaskat, or other silk fabric” and were noted in inventories as damask or atlas and fur lined. (pages 80-83 translated by Katherine Barish, located in the Yahoo Group files of Jutta Zander-Seidel’s “Textiler Hausrat, Kleidung und Textilien in Nurnberg von 1500-1650”, ISBN 3422060677).

My goal is to create a garment that is consistent with the fashions portrayed in the woodcuts of Landsknecht from about 1520 Germany.

Details to include:

  • Capelet. Should go to the points of the shoulders and down low enough in the back to cover my back. Smooth fit that still allows use of the arms.
  • Dark wool outer fabric
  • Lined in fur (sheared beaver)
  • Hidden buttons for closure (should be able to be buttoned closed)

There’s some hint that the standing collar is a fashion of Saxony(ie both the “Woman aged 27” and the black and white next to it are wearing Saxony style dresses). I’ll need to look into this more.

Inspirational Pictures

The German single-leaf woodcut, 1500-1550, Max Geisberg ; rev. and edited by Walter L. Strauss, New York : Hacker Art Books, 1974.
Niklas Stoer – Schuldthos c.1530

Guarded Style:

Paumgartner Altar (detail of right wing) by Albrecht Durer, 1503

c. 1514
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528). Melancholia I, 1514. Engraving. Approx. 9 1/2 x 7 3/8 in. (24 x 18.5 cm).
© Konrad Liebmann Foundation, Stiftung Niedersachen, Germany(link)

c. 1520 H. Holbein, Baseler Bürgersfrau beim Ausgang
Nach der Handzeichnung. Oeffentliche Kunstammlung, Basel

Hans Baldung

Saxony Style:

Unknown c. 1525 Woman Aged 27

c. 1528

From the Back

Edhard Schoen G.1235-1238. Army Train 1532


Pearl and Coral Gollar Project


– 11/28/2011 I’ve contemplated this for a few years. This coming Sunday I’m supposed to wear my German dress while walking in a parade. It’s December.. in California.. so I don’t expect to freeze.. but I do expect that a gollar and gloves will be welcomed additions to the outfit. So on Tuesday night I finalized the gollar pattern (based on the bottom portion of my hood pattern) and finally cut out the wool and fur. I had to cut the fur out in two sections in order to be able to get the pattern to fit on the pelt. Even then I will have to patch in a triangle to make up for a bit where the pattern ran off the edge of the pelt. I stitched these two big pieces of the fur together. The seam is obvious.. but the pelt will be on the underside of the gollar so I’m not worried about it.

– 11/29/2011 Started stitching the wool to the fur along the neckline. The plan is to stitch the two pieces together inside-out and then flip them around so the right-sides are on the outside of the gollar. Stitching is going faster than anticipated. That said, I need a thimble. Ow.

– 12/1/2011 Acquired a thimble.
– 12/3/2011 Finally finished sewing the gollar together.
– 12/4/2011 Trevor gave me a set of hooks to use to hold the gollar on. Sadly it wasn’t until I sewed the first hook/eye on that I noticed that the right front and the left front are different length. I’ll need to shorten one side to even them up. Other than that.. I wore this in the parade. It was nice and toasty. Gollars are made of win (even badly uneven ones).

Hemd II

My original Hemd was a good first attempt.. but after several months of wearing it I’ve decided it could do with a little improvement. Since I’m deathly allergic to altering garments that I need to wear I instead decided to make a new hemd.

Here’s my new pattern:

Here’s the reasoning for my new pattern:

Problem: Neckline was cut out to be 2x my neck measurements and then smocked to “take up the excess” unfortunately it didn’t really take up the excess.. so it’s sitting WAY too loose compared to what I want. Original was cut at 40 inches, smocking drew this down to 34 inches.
FIX: The new one’s neckline is cut at 20 inches. I’m afraid that may be a bit tight.. but I’ll try it out.

Problem: On the original the collar cut at 3.5 inches is too tall.
FIX: New one will be cut at 2 inches.

Problem: On the original the seam between the sleeve and the body falls several inches down my upper arm. It’s not an issue when I have closed sleeves but in my sleeveless dress or with loopy sleeves I dislike the way it fits.
FIX: I nipped off triangles at the corner to pull the sleeves in Triangles are 10″ (at the shoulder) x 18″ (at the side). This does bring the seam more in line with the top of my shoulder. When I did this I left out the gusset. I will consider carefully for the next hemd whether I put a gusset in or not.

Problem: On the original the sleeves at 30″ long are too long. Add to that the extra fabric at the shoulders.. they’re -way- too long.
FIX: New ones are cut down to 24″ long. With the triangles removed these may still be a bit too long. I’ll have to fiddle with them or possibly hem them.

Problem: Original was cut at 60 inches long which puts it just about floor length. I worry that it will show when I kirtle my dress.
FIX: New one is cut at 40 inches long. About knee length.

Staying the same:
Smocking pattern: Gather stitches at 1cm each and each line is 1.5 cm apart. The honeycomb pleat stitches will follow the same line at the gather stitches. This should give me a very nice set of diamonds for the neck line.

[Edited to add:
After a year of planning to smock this I finally sat down last night and started to smock this.. and found out that with smocking the neck will be too small. So I’ve changed my mind. This hemd will not have smocking I may embroider it in the future. Instead I’m adding some beads to act as buttons and allow this to close. I will, of course, be adding a Hemd III (hopefully with smocking) in the future.

Bones.. and that damned hemd :D

I ended up adding short bones under the hook/eye tape on either side of the front opening. As a happy coincidence the tapes are almost exactly wide enough to hold the bones. So it was very easy to tuck them into place. The bones are about 7 inches long.. so 1-2 inches shorter than the hook/eye tape (I was using what I had on hand). I pushed them all the way to the bottom of the channel, stitched them into place and left the top 1-2 inches of the front opening un-boned. I like the way that worked out so I plan to continue to do that on my other German dresses.

Based on pictures from June Crown it looks like the bones are cutting down on the zig-zag of the front opening.

As a “bonus”, the night before the event I decided I didn’t like the way the collar of the hemd was looking. So I removed the fabric from the inside of the collar (Because really, there’s no better time to drastically alter your hemd collar than the night before an event). This made the collar easier to iron to get a nice crisp honeycomb showing up.. but also allowed the collar to stretch out to MUCH longer than is actually needed for the neck. I’m not pleased with that. The plan right now is to make a new hemd with a smaller collar and then possibly come back to this shirt and fiddle with it later. I don’t want to tear apart my only hemd in order to fix it.. and leave myself with no usable hemd. So I’ll work on a new one first.

Wulsthaube Mark 2: What -I- did

Picture taken by Edith

I don’t -know- what was actually used as the unterhaube.. so I’m taking my best guess. It turns out that using something -like- the St. Brigitta coif is actually very convenient. It ties on top of the head and the steuchlin is tensioned over it and pinned into place.

The unterhaube:
Cut two pieces of white linen about 8″x14″.
Hold them up to your head and pin them together along the curve of your head.
Cut off and discard the portion marked in grey.
Do a flat-fold seam along the edge marked in red.
Do a simple rolled hem around the other edges of the coif (marked in blue).
Pleat the bottom back portion of coif and add your ties to the bottom corners of the front edge.
The ties should be long enough to go from the center of the back of your head to the top of your head (leave excess and cut them off when you figure out how much you need.

I did my hair up into two braids and then bobby-pinned them across my head.
Put your new coif on your head. Cross the ties at the back of your head and bring them up to the top of your head. Tie firmly. This should keep your unterhaube in place.

When you’re satisfied with your unterhaube, create the wulste (bulge). A tapered sausage shape that will run over your head from ear to ear. It’s a tapered linen tube that I’ve stuffed with some extra wool roving I had from an abandoned spinning project.

Whip stitch this to your unterhaube. It should be placed about the top-middle to the back of the middle of the top of your head. When tied on, the ties should sit in front of the wulst.

The Steuchlin:
Drape this with your steuchlin.

Inside-out steuchlin

For my current steuchlin I’m using a wool pashmina(28 inches wide x 68 inches Long with 3 inches fringes) I acquired for $8 ($0.99 item, $7 shipping) from Ebay.

I folded back ~20″ of the pashmina so that the fringe will be on the inside near the back of my head. Then I did a line of stitches along the edge of the pashmina on the inside to make it into a tube.

To put it on, I pull the sewn portion of the pashmina around my head and onto my neck. Then I pull it back over the wulsthaube to get nice tension. Lastly I pin it with a single (really strong) pin at the back of my neck (be careful that the pin point isn’t going to stick you in the back of the neck when you look up). I think if I measured carefully enough I could probably attach it without the pin.. but that would depend on the elasticity of the wool to keep it in place.


Picture taken by Edith

The hemd came out beautifully.

Running it through the wash did rumple it a little but it was easily revived with a quick ironing. I did find that the collar may be a bit too tall for my neck. When I tie it closed it bends and folds oddly. I think if I’d made it 2″ tall instead of ~3.5″ tall it’d work beautifully. As it is, I just wore it untied. It works.

Regardless, I really do like the new cutting pattern. The collar easily stands up and isn’t pulled flat by the weight of the sleeves.

I intentionally cut the sleeves long. I think I’ll go ahead and pleat the sleeves on this at the wrist, elbow and half way down the upper-arm. I think that I can easily use this hemd with my next dress, a Linen Kampfrau.

Progress: Smocking done

At Mists Investiture this last weekend I finished the last of the smocking. I think it’s beau-ti-ful (click to embiggen). I’ve removed the pleating threads and stretched it out a little. After all the smocking the neck came out a little bit bigger than 50% of the original width. I’ve decided to line the collar both for comfort and to hold the smocking at the right size.

The lining was cut out of the same linen at 4″ x 18″ I folded the top/bottom and sides so that I was working with finished edges(Folded, the lining piece is about 3″ by 17″). Then I pinned the snot out of it. Tonight I will hand-stitch this piece of fabric inside the collar. I think I’ll also attach the ties to this lining.

After that’s done I just need to add sleeves (cut at 26″ by 30″ where 30″ is the length of the arm) and gussets (I think I’ll make this 4″ square). Honestly I’m not sure I need the gussets.. but I plan to add them anyway.. along the lines that it’s easier to add them now then to have to go back and add them later. The sleeves are cut intentionally long. At this time I’m not planning to finish the cuff.. but I’m leaving enough fabric so that I could do something nice and fancy to them if the idea strikes me later on.

Lastly I need to wash the hemd to get out the blue marks from my fabric marking pen.

I’m hopeful I can finish all of that tonight.


Along with my Trossfrau/Swiss Dress I need an appropriate hemd(chemise).

Inspirational Pictures

Die Augsburger Monatsbilder, a set of 4 murals done in Augsburg, Germany in the 1520's (link) Detail from October

Die Augsburger Monatsbilder, a set of 4 murals done in Augsburg, Germany in the 1520's (link) Detail from April

Detail Woman and Knaves

Detail Woman and Knaves The German single-leaf woodcut, 1500-1550, Max Geisberg ; rev. and edited by Walter L. Strauss, New York : Hacker Art Books, 1974.

Edhard Schoen G.1235-1238. Detail – Army Train 1532 The German single-leaf woodcut, 1500-1550, Max Geisberg ; rev. and edited by Walter L. Strauss, New York : Hacker Art Books, 1974.

One of three linen shirts found in the Shipwreck of the Gagiana. Flury-Lemberg, Mechthild; Textile Conservation and Research; Abegg-Stifting Bern; Berlin; 1988.

One of three linen shirts found in the Shipwreck of the Gagiana. Possibly in the Municipal Museum of Biograd.

Picture found on Landsknecht.org site. I love the smocked neck.


There are several acceptable styles(high neck, low neck, rounded neck, etc). I’ve decided I like a high-necked front-opening hemd with honey-comb smocking at the neck. When I made the shirt for Fearghus’ Waffenrock I used a pattern very similar to one suggested by Rainillt in the Pleatworks Yahoo! group. It worked well enough but I notice that it has a tendancy to slide and lie flat on his shoulders. I want to try and avoid this so I’ve update the cutting pattern somewhat.

Starting to pleat the neckline. Gather stitches are in red (will be removed), honeycomb pleats started on the right-hand side. Blue marks are a fabric pen. They will wash out.

I started with two pieces of fabric 40″w x 60″t. I’ve whacked a hunk out of the fabric at the shoulders..(3.5″ x 10″) so the neck should have a tendency to stand up. As an added bonus I won’t have that weirdness that comes when trying to make even gather stitches that transition from the front of the shirt to the back of the shirt and have to stretch over the shoulder seam. I plan to do a small flat-fold hem along the outside of the collar and the top of the shoulders and then I’ll pleat around the outside of the up-standing neck and smock that into the honey comb pattern. Once the honeycomb is done I plan to add a strip of fabric to the inside of the neck to cover the pleats on the inside and to make the shirt more comfortable to wear.

I’ve set aside some 2.8 oz linen I acquired online. I’m afraid 2.8 oz may be too fragile.. but I’ll make the shirt up anyway and see how it survives. The linen is very very fine.

The honeycomb pleat should draw in the neckline by ~50%. So I’ve actually left 2x my neck measurement at the top of the garment to be pleated. A while back Cristina Stolte posted a smocking experiment. Using her work I’ve decided to make my gather stitches at 1cm each and each line is 1.5 cm apart. The honeycomb pleat stitches will follow the same line at the gather stitches. This should give me a very nice set of diamonds for the neck line.


A Sture shirt for a Lady (16th Century) by Lia de Thornegge
Pictures from Uppsala Cathedral Treasury
1520 Queen Mary of Hungary Dress (with chemise) (picture gallery)
Yahoo! Pleatwork Embroidery group
Cut and Construction of Pleatwork Shirt.pdf from the Yahoo! Pleatwork Embroider group files

Katafalk: Resetting smock https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/resetting-smock/

Unterhaube -> Brigitta Coif?

Idle wonderings. Might the under part of the wulsthaube be based on something like the cap commonly known as the “St. Brigitta’s cap”?

It would make a very convenient structure that:
– would contain long hair.
– wouldn’t pull your hair when you put it on (like my current version does)
– wouldn’t have ties at the neckline (which my current version DOES and I don’t see any evidence of in pictures)
– if the loop slipped over the wulste that was attached to the cap would make it very easy to keep the loop from slipping up off the top of your head.
– That +Wulste would probably drape just like what I currently have.

That said, I think it would need to be more forward and cover the hairline.

From Edyth Miller “St. Brigitta’s Coif – in 15 minutes!
From Middelaldercentret “Konehue
From Medieval Silkworks “Women’s caps” and “The cap of St. Brigitta: reconstructions
From Arachne’s Blog “The Cap of St. Brigitta
From Aure_’s Live Journal “The cap of St. Brigitta

Wulsthaube Mark 1

Last night I finally tried on my first (acceptable for public view) wulsthaube. I’ve been futzing with fabric and directions for a while and finally I got something I could put on my head and photograph on my head dummy.

Wulst: I made a long skinny linen tube (a little bit bigger than I could fit between my finger and thumb making an OK sign). It’s long enough to go from about the middle of one ear to the middle of the other ear. I stuffed this with some wool roving I’ve had around FOREVER for spinning. Dimensions to follow (I promise).

Unterhaube: I then pinned this to a modified coif. It’s modified in that it ties at the back of my neck instead of under my chin.

Steuchlein: I then followed Emmie’s suggestion and draped this with a lovely pashmina (28 inches wide x 68 inches Long with 3 inches fringes) I acquired for $8 ($0.99 item, $7 shipping) from Ebay.

I’m -relatively- pleased with it. I need to find/buy some more sturdy pins as my current sewing pins are SHIT and bend if you look at them cross-eyed. I’m thinking some nice sturdy brass pins would be loverly.. I may see if the boy can make those in bulk.. then I won’t panic about losing them.

I’m still a little mystified what I’m supposed to do with MY hair. It seems wrong to put it in a bun.. and if I braid it I don’t have anywhere to put it.. so I’m just.. puzzled atm… I’m sure I’ll figure it out.