Tudor Coif

Last year a friend was inquiring if anyone would be willing to take on a commission to make a late Tudor coif. She’d tried but couldn’t get the pattern right and was getting frustrated. Since I love historical headwear, I figured I’d give it a try.

 Shockingly, I haven’t made any Tudor garments for myself yet (it’s on the list!) which means I haven’t made a Tudor coif yet! 

I started with Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion…

I looked at the different shapes of the finished garments as well as the proposed patterns. I also looked at some photos and blogs from other reenactors to see how they were wearing their coifs – where they sat on the head, how much of the forehead showed, how much ear… etc. 

This helped me adjust the proportions of the patterns in the book for my friend’s head specifically, making changes to the depth and length so it would sit properly for her.  (Her head isn’t quite as large as mine, but is still slightly larger than “average” – and I’m not sure what the original measurements were drafted for.) 



The book indicated that the for one of the coifs, the main top seam was actually hemmed and then whipstitched together, so I did the same for this. I used a blanket stitch on the edges. 

I used a SUPER fine, almost sheer white linen – the same linen I have used for veils and other light headwear. 

The back is hemmed by hand, and then gathered up to create some of the shaping – and to hold the wearer’s hair – especially important if it’s long! 

Just draping it over my headform.. it didn’t look right. Even though the coif would be intended to cover all of the hair – the SHAPE is based on having hair styled in specific ways in period.  Styling my own hair in this manner – and the coif looked right – but to take photos… I ended up pinning a squishy bun support to the back of my foam head. 

The cap is tied on with a very fine silk ribbon – the last of my silk ribbon in fact. The ties wrap around, and then fasten together at the back of the neck.  

My friend picked up the coif – but hasn’t sent me a photo of her wearing it yet… so these foam head photos will have to do! 

One comment on “Tudor Coif

  1. […] to mind is Tudor… since I’ve been wanting to work in Tudor for ages but (other than a coif for a friend) I’ve never actually finished anything off […]

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