Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hairstyles and veils

Today, an intorduction to veils.  Yes, I know others have posted similar descriptions, but most use a band under the chin (which doesn't suit  a number of 12th Century styles) or aim at a different style, so here's how I make my simplest style of veil. Of course many variants exist, and I'll attempt to explain some of the ones I use later, but don't be afraid to experiment - If it's giving you the look you see in the illustrations, you are probably heading in the right direction.

The fillet
Veils don't just stay on by magic. And if you just jam a crown or circlet on your head on top of your veil, you run the risk of getting the dreaded muffin head effect. In fact, there are plenty of veils in manuscripts that don't have a circlet on top of them, so something else must be holding them up. My favourite way to do so is a fillet.

A fillet is a strip of fabric a bit bigger than the size of your head. Good fillets are made from fabric that will grip a little. For example a shiny satin ribbon works badly, slipping off easily. A velvet ribbon works a bit better because its pile grips the veil better. But those are both modern examples of materials. Period examples are likely to be linen bands or strips of tabletweaving or similar woven narrowwares. I have both and both work quite well.

Here's pictures of attaching the fillet:

The tabletwoven strip I prefer to tie behind my head, while the linen bands don't tie very comfortably or securely - I prefer to pin those tightly to itself at the back of my head.

Once the fillet is sitting on your head, you can now attach the veil. I'm using a simple oval veil today, but this method should work for most other vaugely cirular shapes of veils. Drape the veil over the fillet in the position you want it to be in.

Pop in a pin in the centre, that is above your nose

Add a pin on each temple.
And so the final product which drapes, but doesn't fall off your head when you dance. You can place a another fillet over top of this again, be it a simple metal circlet, a wreath of flowers, a cloth band or a crown. I'm told the underneath fillet will support the weight of a crown a bit, although I can't speak from personal experience.

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