Posted by: Lucrece | August 28, 2010

Transition: “frontlet and cap”


So now that I’ve tried the gown, it’s time for some headwear (aside from the hood which you can see in the photos).  I intend to make a conical hennin soon, but before I do, I think I will make what I’m calling a frontlet and a cap like those these ladies are wearing.

Frontlets are mentioned a number of times in the Paston letters (letters between members of the Paston family in late 15thc England).  It could refer to the headband seen worn around this time period (the one that often has a forehead loop).  Or, it may refer to the band of fabric which began to be worn with the conical hennin.  It sometimes appears to be just a band of fabric, and at other times could also have an attached semi-circle veil as is seen later once the hennin falls out of fashion.

In the transition period, the hennin is replaced (it would seem, briefly) with a small cap in some cases, and then with nothing,  the frontlet having become  the outer layer of a  several layer headdress. 

The cut of the frontlet undergoes a change during this time.  It originally falls behind the shoulders during the hennin, and then the cap period.  Later, the band falls in front of the shoulders instead of behind and a slit appears at the side of the neck.  I also believe that it is cut in a different way from the earlier semi-circle as the semi-circle does not create the right shape (more on this in the future).

The cap is interesting; in a couple of the illustrations you can see the segments it was likely cut in to make the round shape.

I will be making:

A wool cap, made in 8 segments, possibly stiffened with hide glue if necessary and lined with either silk or linen.  I may also try adding some tablet weaving to the edges and/or segment seams if I feel particularly ambitious.

A velvet frontlet with attached black silk veil, possibly lined depending on the weight of the silk I buy.

So..away I go!


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