Headgear for Step down

12th Night Coronation for Lochac is hot, oppressively hot. So there were a few things that drove my thoughts about what we were wearing for stepping down.
  • Our reign was based around Charles V of Spain. Charlie wore black when he abdicated. Actually he pretty much only wore black after his wife had died as he was in perpetual mourning. (After abdicating, he then retired to a monestary) That inspired our decision to go with black - it's simple and it can be dramatic.

  • Lilya (then Crown Princess) lives very locally to me so I had to ensure that whatever I was going to do was going to have minimal help required because if there was any spare energy, it should go to her. (There are only six weeks between winning Crown to stepping up as Queen -so it's all systems go - immediately.)
  • I'd already made myself black linen garb (thanks Vandel for the great price on the linen!) That meant that all I had to make was a doublet for Gabriel and some funky headgear for me. (hell yes!)

  • I have always loved the idea of having a veil down to my knees and funky hats with tassels. So why not!

  • Anything I wore on my head would have to work with the Crown, County ceremonies and speed changes in public.

Christoph Weididtz from the Trachtenbuch, a manuscript 1529 -1532 of his journey around Europe.
The Veil

Looking at the translucence of the veil, I had to go with silk and managed to find that in a little shop in Sydney after Yule Feast. I purchased twice the width of the fabric plus a little extra because I made an assumption that we'd be cutting in a semi circle. The thing about assumptions is that they always trip you up and prove you wrong....

We cut out the semi circle, then I put my hair up in plats to allow something to pin it into. Strangely it did not hang the way that we thought it would and drooped significantly on the bias. After much fiddling, with Mum and Gabriel on the task, they marked out half and then we mimicked the cut to the other half. The shape we ended up with is actually more triangular. How 'bout that! Things you learn!

So on the left is the veil hanging from a hook in the kitchen, you can see the slight curve which will allows for the back of the curve in my head. Below is what it looks like when it's on the floor. So - yes triangular.

It's finished off with bias binding (which Mum was kind enough to sew for me) and beading on the edge by Maud. (Maud decided that a plain veil is just too boring really!) She based her beading on beading done on a hood in Hispanic Costuming. I don't have the pic to hand at present. The bias binding is a little too heavy and next time I'll make sure I cut some out of light silk rather than purchasing it. That's what gives it the curve look - which is ok - but not the look I was going for.... But it as already sewn and I wasn't interested in doing it again. To attach to my hair I created little loops for hair pins. (Still has bobby pins in it if you look at the photos)

The Hat

This is really straight forward. We managed to find some funky black hats, peerrrrfect for this application over in Colonial Williamsburg with Nesta. I simply made 15 tassels (being the 15th Crown of Lochac) and applied them. I also cut some black silk satin to trim the edge and to put onto the band to give it a subtle lift. I've put in padding to assist it to sit on the head, (thanks Grete for sewing it into the hat for me!) and just used a bit of ribbon to tie it onto my head - because speed pinning is *not* what I do.

But that's not all.....Maud sent me this little teaser and frankly - how could I resist!

Funerary bust, relief by Matteo Civtali 1435-1501

Ok - so it's a little early, Matteo is an Italian artist *however* the style is carried through Spain during this period. In fact, it's something that Spain had done for centuries. I haven't found out which part of Italy this work is from, and if it's Naples then it's definately within scope. If it's northern Italy there was a time where some of the provinces were trying to get into bed with Spain so were mimmicking the styles.

Irrespective of it's flaws, I decided that it was good inspiration for what I wanted to achieve. What I loved about this was the simple beaded coif - which was just chains draping at the back of a band - which is perfect for very hot weather. The tranzado has *even more tassels!* Say no more.

Tranzado (Hair case)

I made a fake tranzado using white silk, cotton wadding (used for quilting), black velvet ribbon, black platted braid, silver findings and white beads. (Oh and black cotton tassels!) Previously I've used white wool fabric but it's very heavy and after a day of your hair being pulled, your scalp gets very sore. The cotton is a delight.

I don't have photos of construction at this point. Sorry

  • It took 30 cms of silk x fabric width (makes a *very* long fake hair braid), (Overlocked)

  • I used two layers of the cotton wadding sewn up on end of the silk - allowing 10-15cms free on top end (to allow for hair stuffing) and about 5cm at the end,

  • With help from two sets of hands, we rolled this together loosely.until we get to the end and pin down the outside silk and handsew down.

  • Then I wrapped the black platted braid- zig zaged up the tranzado

  • Then, tacked down the cross points of the black braid

  • Used black ribbon to make the "ties" around the braid, fixing them with silver findings and beads and finishing off the ribbons with black tassels.

  • The top end of the tranzado, I have allowed for a split to be able to stuff in my own plait and allow the chunky safety pin to hold it into place. I've used hooks and eyes, and sewn down all the excess black platted braid to continue the zig zag pattern. I've also put in hand done eyelets for the chunky safety pin.

Beaded Cofia

Again, I don't have photos of the construction of this however here it is completed. I measured around my head where the band was going to sit and then cut out a piece of velveteen that size, sewed up and finished up. It's fastened with hooks and eyes. I then decorated it with findings and beads (like I used for the tranzado) which then worked as measuring points on where the beads ended up. I then used safety pins and string to work out how long each beaded length needed to be which didn't work out so well - because the beaded strings are heavier and react differently. I wish I had considered that earlier because a very long job out of something that should have been quick and easy. Live and learn.

So here's the end result. The silk worked a treat - allowing th headgear to still peep through. The hat came into play thankfully as Mathilde and Stephen were kind enough to provide us with counties... but Mathilde's head is much larger than mine - so it sat on the hat perfectly!

Let me know if you want me to write up instructions on constructions of the tranzado etc. I'm sure I'll need a new one soon! (Empress Isabel had forty... I think I need at least 10)