How to Make a Medieval Women's Headdress

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A circlet of wire covered in satin can hold a simple veil in place for a medieval look.
A circlet of wire covered in satin can hold a simple veil in place for a medieval look. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Hats and headdresses were a fashion staple for women throughout history. Ranging from simple veils secured by leather or metal circlets to elaborately designed horn-like cauls, headdresses have been a way for women to express their station, flair, and fashion for ages. While form has improved over the ages, the basic methods of hat and headdress construction are still fairly simple. With a little imagination, you can soon add a few medieval headdresses to your wardrobe.

Things You'll Need

  • 7 gauge metal wire
  • Wire cutters
  • 1/2 yard cotton
  • Needle and thread
  • Fiberfill stuffing
  • Silk ribbon
  • Scissors
  • 1 square yard gossamer fabric
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • 1-3 yards linen
  • 1 square yard organza

Circlet and Veil

Wrap a length of 7 gauge wire around your forehead and twist the ends together slightly to mark the hat frame. Remove from your head, snip the excess wire from the ends, untwist and open.

Cut two strips of cotton 1 inch longer than the wire and two inches wide, and stitch the longer sides together, leaving the shorter sides open to create a fabric tube.

Flip the fabric tube inside out and stuff evenly with fiberfill stuffing.

Slide the wire into center of one open end of the fiber-stuffed fabric tube and continue to thread the wire through until it pokes out the other side.

Twist the wire in place at the back to secure the hat frame and close the ends of the fabric tube with a few stitches by hand. Remove any wisps of fiberfill that may be sticking out.

Tie one end of strip of satin ribbon around the twist of wire with at least 6" of overhang and spiral-wrap the ribbon around the hat frame tube until you return to the other side of the circlet. Tie the ends of the ribbon together in a bow.

Drape 1 yard of gossamer fabric over your head and secure it in place with the circlet.

Burgundian Caul

Wrap a length of 7 gauge wire around your forehead and twist the ends together slightly to mark the hat frame. Remove the circle from your head and snip the ends close to the twist.

The Burgundian Caul is similar to the conical hats of princesses and wizards.
The Burgundian Caul is similar to the conical hats of princesses and wizards. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Create another wire circle which is 1/4 the diameter of the hat frame, twist closed, and snip the ends close to the twist. Set aside.

Fold an 18 inch strip of wire in half and curl the ends under to create antennae. Secure the wire fold perpendicular to the hat frame with hot glue. Hook the smaller circle into the curled ends of the antennae and hot glue in place to secure.

Cut a piece of linen into a trapezoid with a 10 inch center length, a base which measures the circumference of your head plus 1 inch, and a top which measures the circumference of the smaller circle plus 1 inch.

Lay the trapezoid of fabric over the cone of wire so the base lines up with the hat frame and the top lines up with the smaller wire circle. Fold the ends over the inside of the smaller circle and hot glue on the inside. Repeat for the base.

Tuck or tie a sash of organza -- a strip or fistful of organza material -- into the small opening at the top of the hat so it hangs down over the back of the caul where the open seam is.

Tips & Warnings

  • For the circlet and veil, hem the edges of your gossamer fabric to prevent fraying if you like.
  • Add ribbons to the back of the circlet for a fairy princess look.
  • Decorate either hat with beads, jewels, and gold netting for a more sophisticated look.

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