Intro to Garb: Hats

Once you've got your tunic done, the next most useful thing to own is some kind of headwear. It protects your head from the sun or the cold. Not everyone in the SCA wears head covering. Historical sources disagree on whether everyone wore some type of head covering. We do know that married women wore their hair in long braids, in a chignon (a bun), or covered with a "head rail" (veil). So go with what’s comfortable for you.

 

Coif or cap

The close fitting cap is easy to make out of a folded piece of fabric which has been sewn with a curve across the back, as shown, and ties attached to the ends to fasten under the chin. They were usually made of white fabric, but you could use other colors. 

Hood

You will see men and women in the SCA wearing hoods when cooler weather arrives. Hoods can be made of wool, linen, flannel or even polar fleece. You will need 1½ to 2 yards of fabric. Use the drawing as a guide. You may want to make your first attempt from fabric that’s leftover from another project, to make sure that your measurements result in a comfortable hood.

Line AB is the face opening. Measure around your face going under your chin, add 5” to allow ease of movement, then divide by 2.

 

Line AC is the neck just above your shoulders, it has to be wide enough to go over your head. Measure around your head at the forehead, add 5”to allow for ease of movement, then divide by 2.

 

Lines AD and CE determine how long the cape (that’s the part that drapes over your shoulders) will be. Measure from the side of your neck across your shoulder and down to the middle of your upper arm. The angle of the lines determines how full the cape of the hood will be - 130o at least. Mark the lines and complete the curve.

 

Curve BC is the depth of the hood, it needs to be big enough to cover your head. Measure from the bridge of your nose over the top of your head and down to the base of your neck.

 

The optional liripipe starts at the crown of your head and is as long as you would like; it comes to a point then joins the back of the hood at the base the curve.

With right sides together, sew the back of the hood ½” from the edge, line BCE. Next sew the AD line ½” from the edge of the fabric. Turn the hood right side out. You will need to turn under a hem around the face and around the bottom. Do this by folding the raw edge up ¼”, then another ¼” so that the raw is enclosed. Stitch along the inner folded edge.

 

Head Roll

A head roll is a stuffed tube of fabric with the ends sew together to form a circle. A fat one can be a Byzantine turban. A thin one or 2 thin ones twisted together can hold on a veil.

 

Veils

Women's veils were circles or ovals of sheer or light weight white or ecru cloth held on with bands of the same fabric or simply worn with a head roll or a circlet, if appropriate. For a round veil, a 2 foot circle works. Oval veils can be 2 foot wide by 3 to 5 feet long. Cotton, linen, or opaque fine silk would work well. You will need 1-2 yards of fabric depending on how long you want the veil.

 

Later in the Middle Ages there are records of veils with dyed bands of color. It does produce an interesting effect, as does a beaded the edge, another common mostly-modern variant.

 

The bands that hold the veil on are strips, about 1" wide, and about a foot and a half long, depending on your head size. The first strip is centered under your chin and the ends meet at the top of your head, just forward of your ears, and not over the highest part of the back of your head; fasten with a pin. This one will resist the downward and backward weight of the veil itself. The second strip is centered on your forehead and circles your head parallel to the ground. Pin the ends together and pin this band to the chin band where they cross.

 

Now you have a secure base for your veil, which will ensure that it does not fly off in the wind, or as you do things. The veil is then pinned to the bands at the center front, center top, and the sides where it lies over the crossed bands over your ears. Or you could top it with a roll or circlet, if appropriate.

 

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