The Lady Adventurer

Costuming shenanigans

New Coif!

I’m working on a new coif!  What the heck is a coif, you say?  A coif is an item of renaissance headwear. It’s made of linen, and a lot of the surviving examples are heavily embroidered.  Personally, I think that most coifs probably weren’t embroidered, but that no one cared to save the plain ones for centuries.

A (grainy, sorry) sketch of a woman wearing a coif

A (grainy, sorry) sketch of a woman wearing a coif

coif9

An embroidered example from the V&A. The plain bottom is for the drawstring, and would have been gathered when worn

coif6

An embroidered coif laid flat.

Anyway, I really like wearing coifs.  They are comfortable and stay on all day even when I’m dancing.  Plus, they work really well under hats and so on!  I already have one, and the matching forehead cloth to go with it.  A forehead cloth is just a triangular piece of linen that goes… well… on your forehead.  They are not necessary, really, but I have a gigantic forehead, and if I wear a coif without it, I look like an extremely fashioned challenged chemo patient.

Tada!

My coif!

In the spirit of more is more, I’m making a new one!  It’s nice to be able to change your linens regularly.  I thought I’d give this whole “progress” thing a try! So:

Coif laying flat.  You can tell that I am bad at this, because I have already started hemming it...  So much for a step by step...

Coif laying flat. You can tell that I am bad at this, because I have already started hemming it… So much for a step by step…

The coif and the pattern piece.  This pattern is drafted out of the Janet Arnold on linens, I believe.

The coif and the pattern piece. This pattern is drafted out of the Janet Arnold on linens, I believe.

There is a lot of variation in coif shape.  Like, a lot.  On the left is the pattern I'm currently using, and on the right is a coif pattern I used for a young friend of mine.

There is a lot of variation in coif shape. Like, a lot. On the left is the pattern I’m currently using, and on the right is a coif pattern I used for a young friend of mine. Both were drafted up from extant coifs.

Tiny hem!  You pretty much have to do this by hand.  I don't think i could even get such a weeny little hem under the machine properly.

Tiny hem! You pretty much have to do this by hand. I don’t think i could even get such a weeny little hem under the machine properly.

And from the reverse.  Actually, this is the good side, so I suppose the previous one was technically "the reverse".  In any case, us costumers know that the inside is where it gets interesting.

And from the reverse. Actually, this is the good side, so I suppose the previous one was technically “the reverse”. In any case, us costumers know that the inside is where it gets interesting.

I need to finish hemming this side, and the other curved side.  Then, the bottom will be turned up into a drawstring casing, and the top will get sewn together.  I estimate it will take me one movie, or two episodes of something. (Everyone measures handsewing time in TV, right?)

 

Sarah

 


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