The Manuscript Challenge – The veil


Effigy from the church La Collegiale, Neuchâtel, late 14th century

Part of me choosing this effigy as (one of) my Manuscript Challenge is her veil. The first thing I noticed when I looked at her was that the veil was rather thick for being a normal veil. Could it possible be a frilled veil of some sort? I believe so. There are so many different kinds of frilled veils and I recommend you to visit Isis Sturtewagen’s blog Medieval Silkwork. She knows almost everything there is to know about veils. 

So, what kind of veil is she wearing? 

When you look at the veil you can see in the right corner that the veil has some sort of carving in the wood. Something that the time almost have erased. Doesn’t it look just like those big f

rills you get when you get by using one long strip of linnen and fold it in big ”swirls” (by using wood pegs, earplugs or one of your fingers)? I think so. The example I did to the right is made out of wooden pegs, 1 cm in diameter. Just pinned together it creates a flowing, swirly shape. 

This kind of frills need to be starched to stay in shape. My example here to the right are not starched, actually they are only pinned together. 

This kind of veil is not so uncommon in the historical material. There are many manuscripts with women who wears frilled veils, but I always believe its hard to interpret exactly what kind of frilled veil the lady is wearing since the detailing often isn’t exact enough. But there are frilled veils during my period, thats for sure. So when looking at more exact frilled veils, you can turn to different kind of effigies. They have more details and they are also much easier to take a closer look on. I know of a couple of ladies who wears this kind of frilled veil, like this lady from Mechelen, Schepenhuis (1375-1385) and these three weepers from the effigy of Thomas Beauchamp and Katherine Mortimer (c 1369).

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My veil

My veil is done. I choose to make a frilled veil with dubble row of frills. I think that the effigy only wears one row, but I wanted two rows to make the frills really big and exclusive. I used linnen (125 g/cm2) for both the veil and the frills. The veil is a half cirkle (100 cm x 75 cm), which is my favourite style of veil. I looked at how Isis Sturtewagen made her frills and how she starched the finished rows of frills. I used small wooden pegs, 0,8 centimeters in diameter to create frills of the same size. The starch I used was potato starch  which was what I had in my pantry. I had to do twice to make it perfect.  The frills are 104 centimeters long, so it’s a little longer than the veil, but I don’t think it matter at all. It’s all hand sewn with silk thread and linnen thread from my stash. 

There will be pictures of me wearing the veil, but that will have to wait until I have all the clothing ready, which will be some time in the summer of 2015. This veil will be put in my boxes for storage, and since the veil is starched I use the wood pegs to help them keep shape. Even if they are starched, they get bruised if you handle them without care. There are 324 pegs in that veil. 

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Fabric: about 110 centimeters of linnen fabric á 79 SEK = 86,90 SEK (11,26 dollars, 7,18 pound sterling or 9,10 Euro)

Wood pegs: 370 pegs: 156 SEK (20,21 dollars, 12,89 pound sterling or 16,46 Euro)

Total cost: 242,9 SEK (31,47 dollars, 20,0 pound sterling or 25,63 Euro)


Making of the frills: about 10 hours

Starching the frills: 2 hours

Making the veil: about 2 hours

Putting it all together: 30 minutes

Total time: 14,5 hours.

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Categories: Blogg