This post is incredibly long in the making – I started working on a St. Birgitta’s cap several years ago, when one of the people in the SCA (Coryn of the Wode) taught a class on how to make the cap.
Unfortunately, the cap wasn’t finished in class… so I took it in parts home, and then promptly forgot all about it. Then, for the February edition of the Historical Sew Monthly, the topic is “linen”, and while there are more elaborate linen items on my to-do list, this seemed like an accomplishable project given how few projects I was able to accomplish in 2018.
I received a number of bags of fabric and clothing not too long ago from my former teacher – she was de-stashing, and so I got to stash-build instead! (Like I need more fabric…. LOL) I kept some of the pieces I thought I could use, and gave away the rest, but one of the pieces I kept was a lovely lightweight silk blouse (with a nasty fringe and some rips around the buttons, so it wasn’t wearable).
I wanted to start off my 1480s Florence costume with a Reta – a netted headdress. I figured I’d start off with a (hopefully wearable) mock-up with whatever I had in my ‘stash’, and if it worked out I could try something with more intentional materials.
There were a number of inspiration images to get me started, but the one I was most interested in was the The Birth of Mary portrait (detail)
Birth of Mary detail
This one is a much smaller version by the looks of things from the other portraits I’ve found online – going from the top of the head to the middle of the back of the head – but not covering up the low ponytail. For my ‘intentional’ version I think that black velvet ribbon and gold cord would work well – but I’m actually considering going with a silver colourway rather than gold for my own personal preference. (Though I haven’t seen any portraits that show silver…) This main inspiration image appears to be three black strips outlined in gold, connected with gold netting. Continue reading →