The vision...

The vision…

(I’m catching up on some projects that I’ve not yet documented. This item was completed in June 2012)

Somehow or other Lochac’s 30th anniversary feast snuck up on me, and I realised that I had nothing wonderful to wear on my head. I’d given away my first hood which went with the gaudete dress. While a friend very kindly returned the gown when I moved back to Australia, as she remembered it was mine, she didn’t have the hood, and didn’t remember receiving the hood when she acquired the dress. It seems people don’t remember which hats belong to which dress, which is frustrating, but I can also understand why.

So I was presented with an opportunity to attempt the style again, and make it less heavy than my original. While I love the look of that hood, there were, of course, elements I’d change. There always are. For starters I over-heated with so many layers – a wool undercap, with a silk and proper cotton velvet hood on top (surprise!). Secondly it was quite heavy, kept slipping back on my head and gave me a headache by the end of the night. Finally the first variety was one of the earlier un-constructed beguin hoods from the late 1490s-early 1500s, whereas I want to play around with the slightly more constructed styles appropriate to the 1520s.

On the day of the feast, after ruminating over my options at breakfast I raided my fabric stash and found the following materials:

  • Black cotton velveteen
  • Gold silk
  • Red cotton
  • Black linen
  • Two types of gold gauze ribbon

Here’s what I came up with:

A photo of me wearing the hood I created

Beguin Hood, mark II

The Construction

This hood has three layers:

  1. A white cotton biggins cap
  2. A semicircle of black linen lined with red cotton, edged with the two gauze ribbons
  3. An elongated semicircle of black velveteen lined with gold silk

It’s constructed by first pinning the white cap to my head to form a strong base for my smooth, fine and slippery hair. Plaited hair ‘sewn’ to the head, or a black velvet band would be more correct, but this is what I had to hand.

Then the semicircle of black linen is placed on this cap, the front is pulled forward to it is level with the front of my forehead and the two sides are balanced out to be even. A pin is placed in the centre of the crown of the head to keep it on, and a second pin is placed at the nape of the neck to start to form the shape.

Finally the black velveteen layer is pinned in a similar fashion, with the addition of a pin on each side, just in front of the ears, once the velveteen front layer is pulled back to line up with the back edge of the gold braid. These pins prevent the velvet layer obsuring the gold braid on the linen layer. The middle of the front edge is then gently turned back and shaped to show the silk lining, and give that kick of colour you see in many images of hoods/bonnets at this time.

How did it go?

Pretty well. It stayed on my head and was fun and flattering. While it didn’t achieve the early “French hood” style I was going for (although the second version, which added an extra pin to fold the hood into a roll did) it is reminiscent of this painting of St Cecelia and her Fiance by Cornelis Engebrechtsz