The trendy thing at the moment among re-enactors seems to be the frilled veil. Everyone makes one and after my try last year with my non starched frilled veil I was very exited to make a new veil. This time I wanted to try the nice starched kind.
I first read about frilled veils over at Medieval Silkwork and it was something I had never seen before. But after knowing about them I started to see them in so many pictures. It is often like that, that you don’t see things because you don’t know what to see. This is why it is so interesting to talk to other people about how they interpret a pictures, we all see so different things in the same picture.
Then I just had to figure out the best way for me to make them. First I wanted to do the measuring and marking before the sewing, but well I ditched that for this really simple “no measuring” way.
First I cut a really really thin linen fabric into strips, I needed about 3,5 meter to make my frill that is about 80 cm finished.
The strips are 6,5cm wide before hemming. I cut them 100% straight by pulling out threads to use as guides for cutting. I also pull out a thread at 1 cm on one side, to guide me when doing the hem.
Then you sew together two strips using a really small felled seam and make a thin double folded hem. I do not hem all the way but leaves about five cm on each side of the long strip. When hemming and sewing the strips together I use silk thread.
To make the holes when starching the veil I am using wooden dowel pins, these I also use when sewing the thing, here is where the no measuring comes in. I start by putting my first dowel pin in, I put the first in the middle of the sewn together strip. It is important that the felled seam is put as you see in my picture, this way it gets almost invisible in the finished veil.
Now it is time to make more frills. I put in three dowel pins in the frills I just sewed, this makes it easier to make the new dowel pins snug. Then you continue on, pinning and sewing until you get to the end of your strip.
Continue on the other side of the strips in the same way, and when you need to attach the third strip you make sure that the felled seam ends up like in the picture, in the middle of the fill. To make it more invisible. And you finish of the end of the strip as you did on the other side.
Now you need to pleat the back of the frill. I do not measure at all, using the threads in the fabric and how the fabrics wants to lay you can get nice pleats anyway, and it is not deadly important that they are 100% exact and the same.
I sew my pleats down with big backstitches, hare I used a waxed linen thread, but these will not be seen so it is not important what kind of thread you use, I had the waxed linen thread already on the needle so that is the reason why I used that in stead of silk.
It was my first time starching anything and I decided to use a modern starch for this time. I used potato starch and water. I took 1dl cold water and whisked down 2 teaspoons of potato starch in a pot. Then I put the pot on the stove and kept whisking, it is supposed to simmer but not boil. And then with the heat it turns into slime.
Then I applied the slime with my fingers to the fabric, generously on both sides. I let it sit for a few minutes to make the fibres soak up the starch. Then I took away the excess starch with my fingers, so slimy! Then it is time to put in your wooden dowel pins, my frilled veil took about 125 wooden dowel pins. Then you need to let it dry, I hanged it on my drying rack in the sun.
And this is how it looks. The starching held up VERY well, I used it several days and at the battle of Mästerby it even held up to a light rain, I was quick to throw my open hood on but the ends of the frill was still in the rain. All I had to do when I came home was to take it of and put the dowel pins in again and to let it dry. The next day it was as crisp as when I starched it the first time.
As long as the starch is not washed away I believe that if the frills looks a bit flat you can mist it with water and put the dowel pins in and let dry, that would refresh the frills without having to re-starch it completely.