cheats guide ,costuming made easy , Tudor head dresses ,how to make an easy and accurate French hood


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

bolyen hood

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

french hood 1

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

gable hood gold

They can be made for around £10 and look authentic,but will probably take  at least a couple of  afternoons or evenings to make

gable hood front

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.

green tudor gown front

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 .

gable hood shape fronjt

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

purple tudor hood

But to make it look more authentic add some  folds and maybe a piece  pleated cotton


Or make a fur covered one

white fur hood

These are a good alternative to the gable hood and once they have a veil can look quite similar.

intermediate hood gold

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

bolyen hood

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

trims hood

,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.

red hood

,this isnt essential and can be left off without it necessarily being noticed, neither hood below has the frill


grreen tudor gown

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.

Early Styles

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



bolyen hood

tudro gown

Slightly wider styles.

These are slightly wider at the top and go slightly narrower to the sides ,they are usually more elaborately trimmed .

eliz red dress



gold tudor gown close

Squarish  wide styles

mary tudor

english-school-duchess-of-norfolk-em red hood B1986.9

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

sieve potrsit french hod

mary queen of scots blk and gold

black gwn hd

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

claude_france blue hood

There is a gallery of French hood images at the very bottom of this post

Step one

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.

cardboard hood

.The cut  a small piece from inside this piece to make a crescent shape,try this first cut away crescent on your head.

hood 1

.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

hood 2

Now completly cover with cellotape,this will make it waterproof ,more flexible and help shape it

hood 3

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

complex hood 1

,,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

elizabeth princess red gown

Lay the hood base on the fabric ,which should be much bigger than  the hood if its for your first hood.

hood and fabric

,later you can use smaller pieces or scraps left over from gowns etc

hood fabrci 1

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

hood 5

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

green tudor gown

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

hood frill

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 .

veil hood

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.

reddresseated tudor gown

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

kath howard

mary kat miniture

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


mary gown back

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.

hood two complex

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

complex hood part 3.

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





anne bolyen 1536 detail





white hood

margaret tudor french hood

duchess d etempes white hood

GB hood

black french hood

red hood


english-school-duchess-of-norfolk-em red hood

small hood

tudros hood

bol hood

MadameCanaplesClt1525 hood

mary hood

french hoods

mary tudor tudors

claude_france blue hood

other  easy to make Tudor clothing posts are here

About hathawaysofhaworth

I am a Historian and author living in the north
This entry was posted in 16thc/17thc, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to cheats guide ,costuming made easy , Tudor head dresses ,how to make an easy and accurate French hood

  1. everythingtudorblog says:

    Reblogged this on EverythingTudorBlog and commented:
    Cheats guide: How to make an authentic cardboard Tudor headdresses… Cheap and easy… Pop over to this great blog for more cheats guides….

  2. Fiona says:

    Have just made my French hood. Your advice was so useful. Thank you. I got some great stick on pearls, from the craft section of Poundland, which finished it off wonderfully.

  3. edwards2017 says:

    This may sound rather odd, but to sew through the cardboard what strength needle do I need to use please? Thank you.

    • Hi
      I usually use a fairly thick one but not a darning needle .A new one is ideal so its very sharp.You need something medium length as if its too long its hard to manoever it .Mostly it depends on the cardboard and the thickness of the cellotape you cover it with.

  4. Hello. I have ZERO skill. Do you think it would be possible to use a plastic visor for the front piece, then the cardboard for the domed bits before adding a veil?!

    • Hi ,I wouldnt ,they never look correct and they are harder to work with and though I havent used them I believe they are hard to keep on as well,the cardboard cut outs are much easier and a lot less tough to sew through ,
      bye for now

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