I will have three of these posts on Tudor Head dresses covering all the head dresses and a short post on how to make caps and coifs.
This post will be on how to make assorted styles of French hood.
which is a fairly easy head dress to make ,it doesn’t really need any sewing skills and can be made very cheaply.The one below cost less than £5 for the materials
They will usually take around two to three hours to make a simple one like the one above ,less time if you use a piece of veiling at the back rather than authentic taffeta
First however in case you prefer other styles I will give a quick run down of the other styles and links to my blog posts on how to make them
Head dresses 1 (A quite hard project)
The Gable hood.
This is by far the hardest head dress to make and even harder if its made the usual way with wire buckram etc,My cheats guide used cardboard and makes a comfortable wearable accurate hood.
Your may have to buy fabric and will probably have to buy trims for this hood so you will need access to a fabric shop or on line site
They can be made for around £10 and look authentic,but will probably take at least a couple of afternoons or evenings to make
Headresses 2 ( A very easy project)
The English intermediate or transitional hood
This is very easy and also quite cheap to make ,if your making one with fabric to match your gown and if you have a small piece of white cotton or linen or an old pillow case it will quite literally cost nothing and should take around an hour to two hours to make .These are my favourite head dresses very comfortable and suitable for everyone even if you have short hair.
I will be adding the cheats guide to making an English hood shortly but you make a cardboard base using a cereal box ,cellotape it to shape using clear tape or masking tape,then its more or less the same process as that for the French hood below .
Then you sew white fabric inside and cover the outer part with a more expensive looking fabric ,for the simplest version just trim the edge with pearls
But to make it look more authentic add some folds and maybe a piece pleated cotton
Or make a fur covered one
These are a good alternative to the gable hood and once they have a veil can look quite similar.
The French hood guide
You will need….
(Ideally fairly large sharp ones ,kitchen scissors ,you can use smaller sized scissors but rounded ended scissors or nail scissors wont work (you can make an intermediate hood like the one above without larger scissors )
Cellotape or parcel tape
A long pearl or gold beaded necklace or even better two necklaces,other broken jewellery etc ,this if for the trim.You can use all one type of trim,this hood used a primark long pearl necklace
Or if you dont have enough of one kind of trim or a long enough necklace you could use two different things maybe some braid that’s usually used on upholstery
,if your buying trim buy two metres of pearls for both edges or one metre of pearls and one metre of trim for the top .I use pieces of leftover trims which have been bought for gowns necklines as I sometimes like to match the hood and gown trims.
You will also need
A small piece of fabric for the hood itself ,(you dont necessarily need to buy this you will probably have something to hand),velvet is the easiest to work with as its slightly stretchy but damask also works well or brocade ,Taffeta is much harder as it tends to rip and silk is too thin and shows through any unevenness in the hoods under layers ,,,you could use an evening blouse or top ,an old cushion ,scraps leftover from your gown or you could buy half a metre of velvet or other fabric ,sometimes charity shops have small pieces of fabric ,or cushions made from suitable fabrics .You can also use your gown fabric which is what I usually use if I am making a gown with anything except taffeta or silk
In addition you will need
A piece of black fabric ,silk ,taffeta ,satin ,velvet or velvet for the back veil
If you can find some a small piece of pleated trim or satin organza etc for the front.
,this isnt essential and can be left off without it necessarily being noticed, neither hood below has the frill
To tie it on you will need
Two short pieces or around half a yard /metre of narrow ribbon or tape ,,,,this doesn’t need to be anything special you could even cut some of the ribbon that’s sewn inside garments to they can be hung on hangers ,maybe from a skirt or trousers.If your buying it especially grossgrain ribbons works well as does velvet as they fray less and are easier to tie and untie Again if your buying it try to buy some that’s a similar colour to your hair as this will be used to tie the hood on and goes under your hair at the back .
For the hood base you will need
A standard sized cereal box or similar sized box as long as its a similar stiffness to a cereal box,a thick cardboard box or corrugated cardboard wont work .It has to be big enough for a curved piece cut out from it to go around your head as the French hood base needs to be cut in one piece.In the UK a family sized cornflakes box ,or wheetabix box is the ideal size.
Decide what shape of french hood you want ,they vary and theres styles to suit everyone.they are all made the same way ,,just the cardboard is cut different shapes.
The Tudor Tailor has excellent patterns for different styles of hood but to make with cardboard you just need a rough idea of shape.
These are the classic style seen in the portrait of Anne Boleyn and other ladies of the Tudor court.They are a medium width that’s curved evenly and almost the same width all the way around
Slightly wider styles.
These are slightly wider at the top and go slightly narrower to the sides ,they are usually more elaborately trimmed .
Squarish wide styles
Very late narrow styles
These sit very far back on your head and are very narrow ,later styles dont go very far down at the sides and end above your ears,often they dont have veils or have floaty chiffon style veils
At the base of this post I have included a galllery of French hood images ,both potraits and modern hoods made by either myself or for TV and movies .I have also included a small section on more complicated styles with extra instructions for anyone who would like to try something different for their second hood
Most French hoods are red ,black ,white ,gold or a mixture of those colours ,I dont know of many portraits showing hoods in colours to match gowns so for complete authenticity its best to keep to these colours ,however if historical accuracy isn’t required its nice to have hoods to match your gown
I think there is one portrait with a hood matching the gown but this could be the piant changing colour
There is a gallery of French hood images at the very bottom of this post
Cut the sides off your cardboard cereal box or if you are buying proper card cut this to size approx 12 ins min by 16 ins min
,cut two squashed circular shapes from from each side of the box.
.The cut a small piece from inside this piece to make a crescent shape,try this first cut away crescent on your head.
.Cut slivers of card off until its fits your head comfortably inside .then cut a little more from outside the crescent until its the right shape for your head ,again do this one tiny sliver at a time so you dont make a mistake that cant be covered over.If you get the curve slightly uneven you can correct this when you add the trims as long as its not too much of a difference.
Cut the other piece out to match place them over each other and fix together with cellotape or parcel tape
Now completly cover with cellotape,this will make it waterproof ,more flexible and help shape it
when they are secured together ,use more tape to slightly angle the hood inwards ,to do this just slightly pull back on the tape as you wrap it around to make the hood base start to curve,Its hard to photograph on the plain hoods as they wont stay on the mannequin head but heres the effect on a more complicated hood
,,it hard to explain but once your actually doing to its very easy .Again try it on a few times until the hood curves how you want it to around your face.Early hoods dont really need to curve that much later hoods need more curve
Lay the hood base on the fabric ,which should be much bigger than the hood if its for your first hood.
,later you can use smaller pieces or scraps left over from gowns etc
but its best to have extra spare to use while your getting used to making them.As with the cardboard cut a smaller part circle out from the centre .This gives you the shape you need for covering the hood
wrap the fabric around the hood and tack a few pieces in place, at the top and both ends this is just very loosely so that you can start to trim off excess fabric .You can also check trims against the fabric before sewing them on
Stitch the fabric onto the hood completely slowly pulling it tight at the back until the front has no wrinkles ,when its covered with fabric start to give shape to the hood by pulling the fabric tight top to bottom and then across the back ,again it sounds odd but is really easy when your actually doing it ,your trying to make the hood top slope very slightly back and the sides very slightly forwards .For early styles this only needs to be a tiny amount .For later sides where the hood curves around your ears slightly you will need to apply a little more force .Be careful not to bend the actual cardboard as that will never go right at this point.Dont worry about any messy bits at the back they wont be seen as a veil goes over the back
When you have the shape you want add trims,start with the outer edge as this will be the most noticeable and if you run out of trim its better to do without the lower trim than have gaps in this top trim .start at one end and curve it slightly behind the hood to start and stitch along the top .
For the bottom trim do the same except for later styles leave a little of the trim at the edges to stick out slightly if your using trim this wont be too hard but for pearls or upholstry braid you can get the stiffness by folding it back on itself
(Optional stage if you dont have any frilled or pleated fabric pieces skip to the next stage )
Add the frilled front piece ,this is optional ,authentic hoods usually have this but its possible the frill showing was actually a little cap under the hood so its not an essential step
Make the veil
Cut a rectangle of fabric big enough to go right across the hoops top and around the side .fold it over then stitch the edges almost to the top and sew all base together to make almost a bag .
Add this to the hood ideally towards the top at the back but anywhere at the back will be fine .If you can put a slight gather or pleat at the top I find that makes the veil hang better if your going to have a plait of hair under it.
Add the ribbon ties ,put the hood on and work out where they need to be to keep the hood tied on comfortably and securely,usually just mid way behind your ears works well .
The hoods now ready to wear .If you have hair that’s long enough to make even small plaits ,plait your hair in two pigtails and fasten them over your head just further back than you will want your hood to rest ,this should stop the hood slipping off backwards.
More complicated styles
These have a lot more decoration but are no harder than other styles ,if you have access to trims and some time it might be interesting to make one of these designs
Lastly a more complicated style of hood
This is made from two sections and does take more variety of fabric and more trims ,slightly more skill and time.Its a very flattering style and if you want to stand out its a good choice for your later hoods
To make this hood
Make the top part exactly as before for the simple hoods.
To make the base part cut a strip of the cardboard, you can use the edges of a cornflake box,use two pieces overlapped and taped together as before.
Now add the hood to this base and cellotape on at the top fairly firmly but leave the sides free as you will need to pull fabric under them to make the two parts look separate
Stitch fabric over the base first ,velvet is ideal as it also tends to stop the hood slipping but you could use silk or wool.
Now cover the hood ,for both pieces there will be some at the centre you cant turn over towards the back ,sew the join as neatly as possible ,,so it can be covered by trim
Add trimmings and sew ribbons to the back part of the base.
A gallery of French hoods
other easy to make Tudor clothing posts are here