This is part 2 of the Hovetcleet Challenge, and my entry in the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s 2nd challenge: InnovationPart 1: Hovetcleets and Oorijzers covers the history of this piece of headwear and some of my theories and assumptions on its construction. This post is about testing some of those theories.

Part 3 will be a longer research paper, with lots of images.

Version 1

hovetcleet-small I made version 1 in 2004, to go with my first square-necked gown. This is a very early style, similar to the two images above.

It was made of a heavy, opaque linen with a wired front over  a long truncated hennin. I loved at the time (and wish I still had it) but I also know it can be improved. The wired front in particular is incorrect as it created concave gaps behind the wire rather than the flat line that is seen in the images.

There’s a more extensive discussion of this version, including photos of the inside of the hovetcleet in my (forthcoming) research paper.

Version 2

The Plan

After looking at lots of portraits and doing some research into material culture, I wanted to build Mark II do the following:

  1. Build a shorter hennin, or a small cap OR
  2. Use a white headband and a fake bun and plaits combo
  3. Use a lighter-weight linen for the veil
  4. See if I can create the heart-shape through starching
  5. Make ooijsters to get the sharp points at the cheeks
  6. Play with folding the back of the veil to achieve a variety of styles

What I accomplished

Starch creates heart- shape: CHECK!

Light weight veil, band and fake bun work really well to give the correct shape: CHECK!

I started to make some oorijzers, but realised l didn’t need them with this starching method. I’ll be building Mark III to play with this item later this year. I also need to nail the folds in the back of the veil. Perhaps in time for Rowany Festival. Still, this drape looks very pretty.

Just the facts

The Challenge: #2 Innovation 

What’s the innovation? Structured white headwear that is a break from previous draped veils and caps. By the 1550s this item becomes the structured and decorated attifet and eventually becomes part of the highly varied Dutch folk costumes of the 1700s +1800s. – interesting article link here, and/or photo montage-

Fabric: White linen, medium weave

Pattern: None – it’s a rectangle and a headband

Year: Worn 1490-1540. This version closest to the style of the 1520s

Notions: Pins, hook and bar. Does a fake bun count as a notion?

How historically accurate is it? This is a working theory, so it’s difficult to tell, but I think I’m most of the way there. Could be improved with a better headband (making sure it doesn’t slide off my head), and proper folds in the back of the veil.

Hours to complete: I stopped counting, probably around 4-5. Most of this time was taken up with hemming and using  a pulled thread method to ensure my veil was square to the warp and weft of the linen fabric before I cut it.

First worn: For this photo shoot. First formal wear will probably be for an event in March.

Total cost: ~$45AUD. Linen at $22AUD a metre, but this is less than a metre. A few cents for the cotton tape, and for the hook and bar. $25AUD for the fake bun.

Construction notes below the jump

Construction Notes – How I made this version

  • Take a very simple rectangle of white linen 80cm x 60cm, with a rolled hem.
  • Find a heart shaped form -I used a cardboard gift box
  • Prepare a starch gel and apply it about 10cm depth along the front of the veil (the 60cm edge). I followed katafalk’s instructions for making up a starch gel.
  • Drape over heart-shaped form and place it somewhere to dry. Try to get the ‘ starched section as parallel to the form as possible.
  • When it is dry gently remove it from the form
  • Shape any starched section that has a sharp dent or is wrinkled so that you get a straight profile though the crown. Use a spray bottle to dampen a small section to be re-shaped, place it over a tailor’s ham and use a hot iron to re-set the veil into its final shape
  • Make a white hair band (“Alice band”) between 1-1.5″ wide. I used a cotton tape and closed with a skirt hook
  • Put your hair up, Either in plaits over the crown of your head, or in a large bun (I bought a fake bun to put over my puny one – tip from,looking at hijab wearing tutorials on YouTube, since there are so many similarities)
  • Place the veil over your head, centre the dent in teh heart on your forehead and pull it forward so it’s slightly forward of your forehead. Pin the top of the veil into the white band
  • Make the veil meet at the nape of your neck, and pull it gently so that it’s at the right depth compared to your jawline, as lightly pulled in. Place a pin at this point.
  • Gently push the veil in at the back of your head to create a separation between the head of the ‘hood’ and the tube of the veil. Place a pin here.
  • And you’re done. Wear with pride, but not in a rain storm.