17th century coif

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GOK
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17th century coif

Postby GOK » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:12 pm

I've just signed up with an ECWS group, on the LH side as a countrywoman (to be precise, a gamekeeper's wife). I have most of my kit sorted out but the coif is giving me problems. I've looked at lots of images (paintings, drawings, re-enactment photos etc.) but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make one. I've been loaned the Rushworth booklet but TBH, the one page on coifs is really not very helpful!

I know that Kass McGann has a pattern but a) I have no idea how accurate it is, and b) I object to paying $30 shipping for a $15 pattern! And to be honest, I prefer making my own patterns anyway. I've spent quite a bit of time looking on the 'net too but again, there doesn't seem to be an abundance of information for mid-17th century stuff (although lots of Elizabethan and medieval). Whilst I accept that a woman of my age (mid-40s) and status during this period is going to be far from the height of fashion, and that her clothing will be several decades out of date (heck IRL, I wear mostly '30s, '40s and '50s styles!), I'm not convinced that late Elizabethan headgear is the way to go!

(I'd like to make it in time for Kelmarsh, although the regiment I've just joined does have enough kit for me to able to borrow one.)

What about hair? I'm assuming that it needs to be tied back in some manner, and that merely plonking a coif on top of loose hair is a big no-no!

I'm also assuming that natural linen, and not anything eye-blindingly white, will be appropriate. Again, I've been looking at re-enactors' photos and apart from Ruth Goodman and co., most people seem to be either wearing white or very pale cream linens. Now, it could be that it's the photography bleaching out pale colours but I'm inclined toward Ruth's approach of using the very light brown natural linen for everyday wear with possibly ivory/cream for church, best, or going to market. What are people's opinions on this?

Thing is, although I'm no newcomer to LH, re-enactment or making historical clothing, the 17th century is really not my era (which is one reason I'm doing this - to learn more), so apart from obvious things like not wandering around in my underwear, looking like a bad LaRPer, or someone from the SCA or a Hollywood film (!), I'm pretty much starting from scratch!

Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks in advance. :P

Oh, I should also point out that a lot of the time, I'll be working in a re-created 17th century cottage and garden too.




GOK
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Location: Northampton, UK

Re: 17th century coif

Postby GOK » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:28 am

Karen Larsdatter wrote:http://www.extremecostuming.com/articlesii/howtowearthecoif.html
http://www.elizabethancostume.net/headw ... fmake.html

I'd go with an ivory or cream linen, if not white.


Thank you for the links Karen - much appreciated. :)

I'm really not sure that white linen would appropriate for the character I'll be portraying. Everything I've read thus far tells me that white was for higher status people...but on the other hand, I've not read anything which says that completely natural-coloured was used either! I think therefore, that a happy medium of cream may be in order...at least until I find out otherwise! Thanks for the advice!



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Shadowcat
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Postby Shadowcat » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:42 am

I PM'd you - do read it!

S.



GOK
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Postby GOK » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:03 am

Shadowcat wrote:I PM'd you - do read it!

S.


I have...and sent you an email! :lol:



m300572
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Postby m300572 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:15 pm

A slight sideline on the colours - "self coloured" linen - the slightly brownish cream of the unbleached cloth would be how it came off the loom - bleaching involved spreading the cloth in the sun with the use of various bleaching materials - Home's Experiments in Bleaching (1785), quoted in Baines, Linen, Hand Spinning and Weaving sets out a five stage process

1 Steeping, up to 2 days in water fermented with rye meal or bran

2 Bucking: pounded wood ash boiled for 15 minutes and allowed to settle. Cloth placed in a vat and trodden in by clog wearing men (the process was carried out in Holland, for cloth from across northern Europe), the lye from the ash boiling was heatd and poured over the cloth, drained of and reheated. Repeated 6 or 7 times with the lye hotter every time until boiling. Lat soak was for thre or four hours.

3 Grassing or Crofting: linen laid out on a grassy "bleach green" and kept damp for two or three days.

Repeat 2 and 3 10 - 16 times, the lye solution in 2 being made stronger then weaker through the process.

4 Souring: Cloth trodden into buttermilk (or bran and lye meal in water) and left for 5 or 6 days.

5 Scouring: washed out with soap then returned to the bleach green

So to get white linen would take a fair bit of effort. Natural linen will tend to lighten with washing and drying in the sun (and into living memory my grandma used to soak white cotton handkerchiefs in lemon juice and hang them out in the sun to whiten them).

The natural linen colour also varies depending on whether its pond retted or dew retted - I think dew retting gives a silvery grey, pond retting more the pale creamy brown.


Wilkes and Liberty, Wilkes and the Forty Five

GOK
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Postby GOK » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:26 pm

That's really interesting, M - thank you for that. I'm now tempted to go off and research clothmaking, instead of making kit! :lol:



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Karen Larsdatter
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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:23 pm

http://larsdatter.com/laundry.htm shows different steps & methods of clothes-washing, including a few examples of linen garments being laundered (and whitened/bleached, I suspect).



m300572
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Postby m300572 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:27 pm

GOK wrote:That's really interesting, M - thank you for that. I'm now tempted to go off and research clothmaking, instead of making kit! :lol:


That is the route to madness and despair!! :lol: I looked the info up and typed it while I was supposed to be helping the boss make three pairs of breeches for this weekend coming!!


Wilkes and Liberty, Wilkes and the Forty Five

GOK
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:03 am
Location: Northampton, UK

Postby GOK » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:16 pm

m300572 wrote:
GOK wrote:That's really interesting, M - thank you for that. I'm now tempted to go off and research clothmaking, instead of making kit! :lol:


That is the route to madness and despair!! :lol: I looked the info up and typed it while I was supposed to be helping the boss make three pairs of breeches for this weekend coming!!


Hmmm, I know what you mean - I'm trying desperately to get kit ready for Kelmarsh, but there are so many distractions! :roll:




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