Project Hodgpodge: Sibilla’s too lazy to do more than one post

Considering how I’m currently feeling, the subtitle of this post should probably be the headliner. Alas, this is basically going to be an all out hodgepodge of what I’ve been working on in the space of time from my last post – and it’s photo heavy, so you might be screwed if your are reading on a mobile device.

16th Century Turkish Hat: for Baroness Ishmala bint Yuhannah, OL, induction into the Order of the Pelican. The hat is based on this portrait of Mihrimah, daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent ( by Titian. While this portrait is a copy of a lost original, we have several other portraits of her, or possibly other women of the court, and a similar hat (which may or may not also be copies but the hat remains fairly fixed).


16th Century Turkish Hat

This hat was a challenge. While the initial internal felt/wire support structure of the hat was fairly straight forward, the draping and the understanding of what I interpreted to be the combination of something like a turban with very high back additions proved to be challenging. There was a lot of fiddling with it and frustration when the fabric decided to drape in different ways on the same symmetrically cut piece of fabric, or chose to not drape properly at all… Everything that you are seeing was hand sewn(sometimes creatively), a necessity when trying to get certain folds to lay *just right*, or large pearls (representing her baronial coronet) to sit on several layers of fabric and base. I chose for the decorative bands to be pinned on in the end. That way should she choose to change things up a bit and go for the set stones seen in the original or something else later on, it would be less hassle to remove or replace the bands. I’m really happy with the way that it turned out. I had wanted to play with this hat for a while, and I finally had the opportunity when Ishmala’s apprentice, the lovely Lady Juliana della Rena whom is holding the hat with beautifully beaded sleeves, honored me with helping out.


Speaking of the lovely Lady Juliana della Rena, the next project is a needle-worked purse given to her as a sponsor’s gift from this last Queen’s Prize Tournament. Juliana’s entry was a gorgeous silk embroidery showcasing Assisi work, which is a 16th century Italian counted thread embroidery. Since you can tell I’m gushing a bit about this, it won’t be a surprise that she inspired me to try out a new idea for some counted work of my own. The pattern comes from Hans Hofer’s Formbuechlein, printed in Augsburg in 1545, and could have been used for a multitude of projects that lend themselves to a counted pattern.

counted pattern 1 001

A Counted Pattern from Hans Hofer’s Fombuechlein, 1545.


The stitch used is a crossed stitch, found in period and used prominently in the Oxburgh Hangings from the late 16th century. It was however embroidered on aida cloth as a bit of an experiment to see the results on such, as well as the possibility that the original pattern was not intended to be used as embroidery at all (even though many designs in the form book to lend themselves to embroidery). But it was fun to do, turned out rather well, and still has much of the period aesthetic that I was going for. I also learned how to lucet from this project with a lucet given to me previously by Juliana. You can see my efforts (still very much in the learning phase) as the drawstrings and such.


Embroidered Drawstring Pouch


More works in progress: a timeline of French hoods for my class on the subject.


French Hood Timeline, in Progress

I had hoped to have these completely finished for my class on French hoods at Clothier’s Seminar in early February, but alas it simply didn’t happen. Since then they have been placed on the back burner – but not too far back since they need to be ready for the class I’ll be teaching again at Lilies. The goal is to have a complete hood as a model for the substantial design changes the hood made throughout it’s popularity, from the style popularized by Anne of Brittany at the turn of the 16th century through it’s many transformations until the end of the 16th century in the style of an Elizabethan hood. I didn’t think that I needed to completely reinvent the wheel and either used the patterns from the Tudor Tailor, or altered them to create the earlier versions. At some point, I probably will work on reinventing the wheel to reflect the research I have been doing with the French hood to come up with a more period pattern and understanding of how they would have gone together in period, but for now I’m pleased enough to have them this way and teach as such. More to come on these as they are completed and proper finishing elements added.


Speaking of Hats, my most recently finished hat is an Elizabethan heart shaped bonnet. I’m pretty smitten with it and love that I can show a style beyond the typical late 16th century French hood. In the photo it is beside the Elizabethan hood I made for my first Queen’s Prize project a few years ago (the hood was based on the portrait of Alice Brandon, by Nicholas Hilliard, 1578).  I used the pattern for the bonnet from the Tudor Tailor, substituting the base suggested with the base for the Elizabethan hood since I felt it gave it more of the period look. You see this style in many places, a couple being in the Commonplace book of Thomas Trevilian, 1608/1611, as well as here in this grave monument where the girls have their white coifs under the bonnet so you see them on the front ( At some point, I’d also like to do a lace edged coif also in this style.


Elizabethan style French hood and Elizabethan Heart Shaped Bonnet


I also finally got a round to making a decent set of ruffs for my Elizabethan ensemble. For the Chieftain’s event, I set the ruffs and pinned them. The neck ruff did really well, but the wrist ruffs unfortunately had quite a few bloodstains on them at the end of the day. Afterward, looking at portraits, I confirmed that indeed men mostly wore the wrist ruffs and women either very small ruffles or turned back cuffs. The wrist ruffs on men were also loose; they had most likely been set with pins, but then unpinned before wearing. Lesson learned. For ease, I decided to go ahead and sew the sets in these ruffs, just for the ease of it – they are also cotton for trial purposes, so it’s not like they are historically accurate anyway. When I get to making the proper linen ruff, I’ll keep that one pinned.

Heart shaped bonnet and ruff

Heart Shaped Bonnet in Action with Correct Period Hair Style and Pinned Ruff. Photo by Dread Baroness Elianor de Morland.


Here is the ruff not pinned on. The sets already sewn into the neck ruff and starched.


Neck ruff, total set height at a little over 3.5 inches.

I washed the wrist ruffs (there was some substantial soaking involved) before I sewed the sets in, but this lets you see the mini-cartridge pleating that creates the ruff itself. Which, I have a huge thank you to give to Lady Verena Näherin for explaining the mysteries behind pleating the ruffs and attaching them to the bands.


Wrist Ruffs. Inside and Outside, unstarched to show tiny cartridge pleating.


My latest project has been 11th century Rus. I had hoped for it to be finished this weekend for Crown Tournament, but apparently I’m crazy and have decided to completely hand sew the ensemble which means the entirety of it won’t be finished in time. Oh, did I mention I’m also weaving the trim for it too? Below is the trim so far, and an illustration of how far I’ve come from the first thing I learned with (thanks again for teaching me Fionn!) to the green apprentice belt that was next, then the patterned green belt that will be the top edge of the panova, and the new pattern hot-off-of-the-loom that will be used on the rubakha. More on this when it is eventually finished.


Inkle wove trim, a fun learning experience. First is in background to most recent in the foreground.