Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flemmish kercheif/coif/head thingie

I'm posty-mcposty-pants today.  Oh well.

While waiting for my yarn to dye, I decided to make a Flemmish style kerchief or cap to go with my as-yet-unsewn kirtle.  The general idea of the head covering comes from several pictures, but they pretty much all look like this one from from the Hours of Charles of Angouleme:

The Medieval Tailors Assistant has a pattern for such a cap which is tailed.  Sort of a coif with long flaps, rather like lappets, cut on the bias, which one wraps round the head and ties.  See for the one remaining website (and some broken links to sites with construction details, le sigh) about this method of making this head covering.  This makes no sense to me as it's highly wasteful of fabric, and for nothing more than a do-rag.  Besides which, it sort of looks like you can accomplish the same thing with a rectangular cut veil.

So, I found which shows an alternate way of arranging a Flemish style kerchief and which gave me another set of instructions and some dimensions for the thing.  I set to cutting and hemming (oh how I hates the hemming) and then pinning and flipping and low and behold it worked!  Here you see the results:

I played around with how I arranged the kerchief a bit and discovered that if I fold back the brim, twist the ends and bring them up to the top of my head, it ends up looking just like the picture!  As seen here:

I think I need to make the whole thing just a little wider for this to work perfectly, maybe only an inch or so on either side of the brim, but it looks right and makes a lot more sense to me than the tailed cap approach.  Plus, you can wear this in several ways, which seems more economical and practical. 



  1. Nicely done. I can't quite tell from the photo- did you use linen or cotton? And have you've stiffened the brim with something, or is it just sturdy because it's multi-ply?

  2. It's a 50/50 blend, I had a scrap that was pretty much exactly the size you gave on your veil page that I would not be sad about tossing if it didn't work (I have a large head). And no, I didn't use a stiffener, it's just folded over on itself twice so there are 3 layers of fabric in the brim section. I think that should be stiff enough, if I stab stitch around the front edge and maybe give it a little starch. The next one will be 100% linen and I think the 3 layers will be fine for that too, I'm just having a hard time figuring out how to cut out the veil and a Birgitta cap from the bit of odd-shaped cloth I have. I love pattern tetris on not enough sleep :)