Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Phrygian Caps Take Two

   I made a second Phrygian cap to wear at Lilies. It's my first war (a big interkingdom SCA event), and I wanted something patriotic to wear. This cap is designed as Calontir's populace badge (a badge than any Calontiri can wear to show their association with the kingdom). The blazon is "Purpure, a falcon striking within a bordure Or".

   I used this pattern to make a different style than my red hat. It's taller and has flaps over the ears. The purple part is one piece. When you cut it out, the backside of the cap is the midline, so you fold your fabric over there. The two pieces are stitched together along the crown.  There isn't any overlap in my finished piece. I think the point of it is to size it to different size heads, so I cut off the excess.

I had to trim the open edge around the face a bit to get it to look right, so play around with the pattern based on how it sits on your head. Another thing I did differently is that I didn't fold the back piece under as indicated on the other website. The back wasn't sitting low enough for my tastes and I'm not sure what the purpose of cutting that flap out was in the first place. I had already cut the slots, though, so I didn't sew them back together. Maybe they'll allow a bit of give when putting it on one's head? They're covered by the bordure.

   Like my red one, it's entirely made of felt. I don't know if steppe nomads did felt on felt designs, but they did felt on leather (like this saddle blanket). I didn't have purple leather, though, so I used some of the purple and yellow felt I had leftover from another project. I couldn't find my yellow or purple thread before I left town to do research, so I used black thread instead. Had I found them, the thread on the bordure would have been yellow and the rest purple.

   The stitching is all blanket stitching (like the last) except for the stitching on the falcons and the stitching holding the bordure on inside the cap- those I did as straight stitches. The internal border was to save time since no one will see it. I've never done embroidery before, so I have no idea if what I did on the falcon is period or even correct, but I had to show the internal detailing somehow.

Here, the top is depressed so the point points up.
   I did the bordure as separate pieces since there are so many turns. The stitching holding the pieces together is also blanket stitching, but I did that stiching on the underside so less thread would be visible on the outside.


  1. It looks a bit like the open-style hoods popular for women in Northern France, Flanders, and England in the late-14th to early 15th centuries, only not coming down the back of the neck and on to the shoulders.

    1. That doesn't surprise me. They're sustained throughout history in various forms and the French still had them during their Revolution. That and they're a rather simple design, so other headgear could conceivably converge on them.
      Do you know what the late period hoods are called? Searching for "14th century French women's hoods" didn't return any images for me.

  2. I've heard them called "flemish coifs"

    1. That did it. Thanks!
      Looks like the construction is different, with the finished piece superficially similar. No point and the back wraps around one's entire head and hair.