Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wimple Wednesday: 16th Century Flemish Coif

The original has c.1590s Italian lace, but is described by the VAM as a Flemish style c.1550-1600. Interestingly, the portrait mentioned in the MET's description of this coif is dated c.1530--as are several other portraits by the same artist showing this style of coif. So, we're looking at a style that was apparently in use at least from 1530-1600.

Portrait of Anna Codde (1529) by Maerten van Heemskerk

Portrait of Emmetje Teunisdr. van Souburgh
(1540-1545) by Maerten van Heemskerck

From the item description, the coif is 39.5" long from crown to lappet and 9" wide at maximum (which I believe to be the front-to-back measure). There appears to be a seam along the top, which is gathered into the 'rondel' at the back. This is very like the construction of last week's coif, only with lappets and no back gathering.

When worn, the lappets appear to be crossed or pinned up at the back, making folds and a separation between the hanging lappet and the coif where it sits over the head. Crossing and knotting the lappets behind caued the coif to pull away from the head. I am still experimenting, but tentatively favor crossing the lappets high behind the head, and pinning each one.

Still working out the fold lines,
but I think this is on the right track.

Of course, it is very easy to tie the lappets over the head, like the 15th century long-tailed cap, and I rather like it. Pity the portraiture disagrees.

Comfortable, practical,
and not supported by my current evidence

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Late 18th Century Shifts

A mannequin wearing full undergarments from the late 1700s
Shift/chemise, last quarter 18th century.
Shown with stays and panniers LACMA

Some notes I put together in preparation for actually making 18th century costume.  One must, of course, start from the innermost layers, which usually translates into shifts and stays.

Shift, French, 3rd quarter 18th century. The Met.

Shift, American, c.1780. The Met

Shift, American, 1780-1810. The Met.

The construction is easier to see flat, as in this example from Williamsburg:

Shift c.1780-1810. Colonial Williamsburg

 There are more examples in the Williamsburg collection (the site doesn't direct link, but a search for "shift" turns up two more late 18th century, as well as some early 19th). The shifts all cut square, and flare towards the hem (sometimes achieved with gores); the necklines are rounded, and some are controlled with drawstrings; the sleeves vary between mid-bicep to upper elbow length, and have a square gore under the arm to allow movement. Some of the more sheer fabrics reveal a facing at the point where the sleeve is joined to the body.

Additional sources:
There is good research by Larsdatter. Kendra of Demode has a short timeline of original chemises.  And here is nother example by Mara Riley (I love it when measurements of the original item is included!). has some cutting diagrams adapted from French and German sources.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wimple Wednesday: 16th Century to 17th Century One-piece Coif

Based off the nine c.1590-1620 coifs in Patterns of Fashion 4, not to mention most of the ones in my research post. The coif is cut out flat, in a stylized tulip shape: the flat edge near the flared sides is seamed together, with the center portion gathered, while the opposite side has a cord run through the middle portion, for gathering about the back neck.

The author wearing a white coif over her hair; the back drawstrings tie around the coil of hair.
Still not got at this 'selfie' thing.
Perhaps I can train the cats to take flattering pictures....

I scaled it up some, since the largest coif in the book waas comically small once my hair came into play. I like where it sits along the hairline, but fear it's a touch too long along the sides (the rounded sections should be sitting closer to the ear than they currently are.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Lace Designs and Handwriting Samples 1604-1616

Italian, 1616 with one plate from 1604.

Just saving this here for reference (and because two lace orders arrived yesterday, leaving me with Feelings about natural fiber versus synthetic laces, as well as the visual and tactile differences between 16th and 19th century lace styles).

Friday, June 7, 2019

Original Coifs

My attempts to locate surviving forehead cloths (for shape and dimension details) met some success--and a good number of coifs. All appear to be the 'single piece' construction, and many have delightful embroidery.
Venetian cap/coif, first quarter of the 16th century. From The Met.

Late 16th century British coif, from the Met.

Another embroidered coif, last quarter 16th century, from The Met

Coif, c.1600, laid out flat. MFA Boston 

Polychrome coif, English, late 16th-early 17th century.
MFA Boston

Two blackwork coifs, British, c.1575-1599. VAM.
Detail of coif, 1575-1599. VAM

British coif, c.1600-1625. VAM.
Coif, 1590-1610. VAM.

Forehead Cloths:
Coif and Forehead Cloth, c.1610-1615. MFA Boston.

Coif and Forehead Cloth, British, 1620-1640. VAM.

Triangular forehead cloth, embroidered, last quarter 16th century, in The Met.

Another forehead cloth, last quarter 16th century, from The Met.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

HFF 3.12: Picnic

The Challenge: Picnic. Make a food for travel or eating outside.

The Recipe: Chicken Salad from the Ladies' Indispensable Assistant. Beeton's infamous picnic menu for 40 persons calls for multiple lettuces and baskets of salad after all...

The Date/Year and Region: 1852, New York

How Did You Make It:  Picked and washed lettuce (heritage rouge de l'hiver and oakleaf varieties, I think), then chopped it small and arranged it on the platter. Cut two half-breasts of chicken fine and fried them, flavoring with salt and pepper. Boiled four eggs. Arranged the chicken on the lettuce. Sliced the eggs, removed the yolks, and arranged the whites around the chicken. Rubbed egg yokes through a sieve, then stirred in ~2 tsp salt, 4 tsp mustard, 4 Tbsp oil, and ~6 oz apple cider vinegar. Poured this dressing over the chicken. 

The receipt called for celery, but allowed lettuce as a substitute. 

Time to Complete: Not sure, but it didn't seem very long.

Total Cost: $3.50 for chicken (on sale), everything else was on hand or in the garden

How Successful Was It?: I liked it, even though I ended up making too much dressing for the amount of chicken and lettuce. The mustard flavor is dominant in the dressing, but the egg and vinegar add some complexity to it. I probably should have added more vinegar (1 wineglass full per egg seems to be about 2 oz minimum), but I thought the acidity of the dressing was pretty good (though it was a touch thick).

Despite being similar to Beeton's receipt, I liked how the dressing made this one taste different. It was also simpler the make, having no beetroot, cucumber, or endive to worry about. 

How Accurate Is It?: My modern shortcut was using commercial mustard for the 'prepared mustard'; I expect the chicken was meant to be left-over from another dish, but not having any, I just pan fried some with salt and pepper. It's easy to do, but I have not documented the technique to this period (roasting and boiling being the methods I see most often).

A sieve full of egg yokes and a bowl of fine yoke grains
Sieving egg yolks.

A blue transferware platter with a bed of lettuce topped by pieces of chicken, rounds of boiled egg, and a thick yellow dressing
Salad. That is a dressing of egg yolk and mustard,
not melted cheese.