How to wear a veil and a wimple

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This is a tutorial for when you have long hair, but have that pesky bang that is long enough to braid in, but when braided in and your braids are doubled sticks out in the worst places.
You can of course use this when you have a shorter bangs than I do.

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Start with brushing your hair out and parting it. The part does not have to be super neat, as you are putting both a linen cap, veil and wimple over it.
But you still want it to be kind of even, so that your braids does not end up with braids that look different.

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Separate your bangs from your lengths.

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If you have a lot of hair like me, using all the hair in your braids can make them a bit to fat.
So I divide the lengths, two thirds for the braids and one third that will be put up in the back. You might want to try different ratios out, depending on how much hair you have.
If you have less of a mane you can skip this part and use all your hair in your braid.

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At this stage I put my bangs up, to make sure that they do not get into the braids.
If you have lots of flyaway hair you can either add some coconut oil in to your hair, or some kind of hair wax. I use a organic hair wax that smells slightly of oranges.
This will give you smoother and pretty looking braids.

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Now lets start the braiding, I do a simple three strand braid, making sure to pull the braid forward when braiding. If you braid them straight down, they will lay to far back on the side of your head.
You wan them to be placed right in front of your ears, because hearing seems to be unnecessary for a lady.
Secure the ends with a hair tie of your choice, I cheat and use small rubber bands.

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It is time to hide those bangs away. At the base of the braid, poke your fingers trough and use your finger to hook your bangs as if you were
crocheting.

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Pull your bangs trough making sure that the bangs are smooth and pretty.

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Secure the bangs in the back with a hairpin, making it look as if those bangs are smoothly braided into the braid.

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Rinse and repeat and do the same thing on the other side.
The look of absolute boredom is optional.

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I have put all the rest of the hair up in the back, first braiding it and then
pinning it up.

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Double your braid and fasten it using a big U-hairpin.
I have a fancy silver replica of the London findings.

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I usually put the hairpin in straight, this will make the braid look a bit crooked.
Then bend the braid so that it becomes straight again.

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Poke the ends of the braid in.

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At this point you can add whatever kind of headwear you want. as long as you cover the back of the head as you have used modern hairpins.
I will show you how I wear a frilled veil and wimple.
So lets start out with the linen cap.

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Centre the cap on your head and tighten it with the ties, crossing the ties in the nape of your neck, then pull them up and cross them again at the top of your head, and lay the loop around the back of your head.

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All secure and tight!

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I use a rectangular wimple with the measurements of 150*60 cm.
It is of a weight that matches the veil I am wearing and is hemmed at all sides with a small double folded hem.

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Centre it under your chin, making sure that the braids are on the outside.

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Pin the wimple with a needle at the back of your head.

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If you are short on reproduction pins, use a modern pin here, as this pin never will be seen. I some times also pin the wimple shut in the back with one pin, if it is a windy day.

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You can choose to wear the wimple on the outside of your dress or inside, this is a matter of personal choice. I usually wear it on the inside and secure the neckline with a few pins.
I pin them so that they are not visible from the outside.

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Now lest bring out the pretty reproduction pins as they will be visible.
I have these silver pins that are 4cm long. It is a length I like. If they are shorter than that I find them to have a tendency to slip out.

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I have a love for half circle veils, this one is 100cm long and 70cm wide.
Onto the straight edge, my small starched frills are attached.

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Centre the veil on your head.
Master the “looking in the mirror with pins in your moth“
super serious look.

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Put a pin at the top of your head, make sure to catch the linen cap.
You want the veil firmly attached to your head.

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Pin the veil at the sides as well. Now make sure to also catch the wimple.
If it is a windy day you can also put a pin at the back of your head, at the nape of your neck. Veils have a tendency to not behave in the wind and flip over into your eyes.

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And now you are done! Go forth and be fancy!

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Different shapes of veils

I made this picture for a Swedish medieval sewing group on facebook that I am in and thought that I can just as well share it with you to.

The question was “how does different shaped veils look from behind”

And of course the shape differs depending on shape, size and draping of the veil, but here are some simple styles pinned to a St. Birgittas cap with measurements for the veils. My favourite is the half circle.

Veil shapes

Wearing my veil

Wearing my veil - 1
I thought thought that I would share with you how I put on my veil and wimple, my modern me have short hair, bangs and piercings, very non medieval of me.

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I start of by braiding the front part of my hair, I try to pull the braids forward a bit, that makes them look better later on.

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One braid on each side, at my temples.

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The last hair I pull back, as you can see there is not really that much hair, I wish I had long hair, but I am far to lazy to wait for it to grow out so I crop my hair every autumn, so in summer it is slightly longer than in these pictures.

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Then it is time for the St. Birgitta’s cap, this is the best thing ever as you use it to pin everything on.

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Stuff the bangs inside.

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The St. Birgitta’s cap have long ties that you cross in the back.

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And then cross in the front and put over the back of your head.

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When I wear my St. Birgitta’s cap in the way that it sits best on my head, I feel that it sits to far back on the head to look good with my frilled veils. So I have finished of a piece of linen fabric with the dimensions 44*8 cm.

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I make a small pleat in each end.

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Then I pin it to my cap.

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Here you see that I have pulled the braids to the front, this makes sure that they are visible when the wimple comes on.

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Then I take my wimple, it is 115*50 cm and is hemmed with a thin double folded hem.

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I put the wimple under my chin.

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I pin it onto my St. Birgitta’s cap, not on top of my head but a bit to the back of my head and I pull it tightly around my chin. I usually have to make it tighter during the day as the linen stretches a bit with the moist and heat from my body.

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I fix the back so that it hangs nicely, I sometimes put a pin there especially when it is a windy day.

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I put some pins in the neckline to, to keep it in place.

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I put them in like this.

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It makes the pins almost invisible, the only thing visible is a small dot and you can see in the circle.

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Then I put the braids inside the wimple and put a pin through the braid to keep it in place.

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Like this.

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Then I pull out the pretty pins. I always loose my pins that are in my wimple and neckline so there I use ordinary pins and they are never visible. But for the visible pins I use these nice ones from Medeltidsmode.

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Then I take my veil, It is a full circle veil that is 91 cm in diameter, I folded in 25 cm and then I have attached my simple frilled veil to it.

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I put the veil on my head.

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Adjust it to sit nicely.

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Then I put a pin on top of my head, making sure to catch all the layers including the St. Birgitta’s cap.

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Then I pin the veil to the wimple.

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Like this.

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The pin on top of my head.

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And that is it, I remove my lip piercing and the transformation is finished, now there is no bangs, no piercings visible and the short hair looks like trendy braids.

Starched frilled veil

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.

Here is a picture of a four layer frill.
Four layers seems popular.
Layered frills.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Then you add dowel pins and pin as you go along, one pin for every one dowel pin. Pull the fabric snug around the dowel pins.

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After a while you will notice that the pins are getting hard to handle, not is the time to do some sewing.

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Take the dowel pins out, now you get an idea of how it will look later.

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Where the pins are you are now going to sew together with some small stitches at the same place.

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To go to the next pin you can go in the hem without the threads showing.

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And then fasten the frill with small stitches again.

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Work your way through all the pins.

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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.

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As you remember you did not hem all the way out on your strip, now you put the last dowel pins in, mark with a needles and then take it apart again.

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You can now cut of the excess fabric and hem the strip and the side of the strip.

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Then you can sew the last stitches on this side.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Then I took a strip of linen cut straight on the grain and enclosed the raw edges, just as you bind anything in a bias strip.

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Now it is done and time to starch.

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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.

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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.

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When it is completely dry you can take the pins out.

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Sometimes the dowel pins stick to the fabric and you have to use some force to remove them. Look how crisp it has become.

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One stitch broke when I took the dowel pins out, but it is only to sew it back again.

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Then it is only to sew onto your favourite shape of veil, I put mine on a half circle veil of the same thin linen as the frill.

Cathrin Åhlén
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.