Alternate Construction Methods for French Hoods
cornet covered with hair bag and upper biliment from front sideright side French hoodside view of the completed hood

In the years sense I have created my French hood pattern there has been a great deal of very good research on the French hood. Some of the sites that you should look thru are listed below. Keep several things in mind while you are looking thru the sites. French hoods evolved over the years and they do come in very, very many different shapes. Looking thru the portraits and carvings I realize there can’t be any hard and fast rules on much of anything. If I were to rewriting my patterns I would most likely take an approach very much like Sarah Loraine in that;
1) I would first create a cap either made with my biggin pattern or made by using any one of my French hood band pattern pieces and sew that to a gathered 12” circle of fabric then,
2) cover the cap with a ¼ yard sq. of silk folded in half on the diagonal to create an alternate colored band in the center front of the cap then,
3) add a wired billiment or cornet to which the hood was attached.
In order for this to work one has to style their hair in double braids that are wrapped together around the back of the head. This is essential because the braids are what make it possible for the whole thing to stay on the back of the head. Not all but, most French hoods set far back on the head and would just fall off if not supported by the anchored braids.

The Elizabethan Costuming Page French hood page

Kimiko Small French Hood page

Sarah Lorraine French hood pages

and the The Tudor Taylor’s Book.

I would not throw out any of the pattern pieces from my patterns but I would suggest that perhaps the height of some of the tallest cornets (billiments) be reduced by maybe ½ and for some styles of French hoods it might not even be necessary to use one, the beads for the cornet can just be strung on heavy wire.

Here are the steps;
1) Make a cap either with my biggin pattern or with a band pattern for one of my French hood patterns and a 12” circle of fabric.
2) Style your hair in the double braid style, use extensions if you do not have long enough hair.
3) Fit the cap over you hairstyle and fold the ¼ yard square of fabric in half and tie it over the cap. It should cover about ½ or less of the band in front and angle off at the sides.
4) First with paper then with lightweight cardboard try out different coronet shapes. Find the one you want and alter if necessary.
5) Make up the coronet with buckram and wire. Cover that with flannel and then fabric.
6) Make a layout of the beads that you want to add to the edge of the cornet then, string the beads on as heavy a non-rusting wire as you can that will fit in the holes of the beads.
7) Make up a hood following the instructions on the pattern. Adjust the curve of the front edge if necessary to match the height of the cornet.
8) Tack the billiment to the edge of the hood. Note some cornet/billiments have ties that go under the chin and some do not.
9) Slip the hood/billiment combo over the cap or cornet and anchor with a couple of pins.

The French hoods below do not follow all the steps above. Where they differ is sometimes in having the cap on the outside of the cornet, in shape of the cap, in having an alternate fabric band over the band and in having a coronet or no coronet.

French Hood Double Braid Hair Style

Center part your hair and pin two lengths of cotton ribbon both at least two yards long at the top of your head. Use four bobby pins and make two “x” crosses about 4” apart.Rubber band each half of your hair as shown FHH3.jpgPull the ribbons into the rubber bands.

Braid the banded hair working the ribbon into two of the 3 sections Using the ribbon ends fold the braids upadded braid to fill the center vied from the backadded braid to fill the center vied from the side

Photo captions for Hair Style
1&2 Center part your hair and pin two lengths of cotton ribbon both at least two yards long at the top of your head. Use four bobby pins and make two “x” crosses about 4” apart.
Rubber band each half of your hair as shown 3&4. Pull the ribbons into the rubber bands.
Braid the banded hair working the ribbon into two of the 3 sections 5.
Using the ribbon ends fold the braids up and tie the ribbons in the center then bring the ribbons around and tie the very ends at the bottom near the nape of the neck 6. If your hair is long enough then it will come farther than the center top and you will just tie it at the bottom. If your hair is very, very long then you do not need to pin the ribbons across the top of the head just braid them into each separate braid starting at the rubber band.
If your hair is about the length of the wig in the pictures you will need to add extra hair to build up the center section 7&8.
If your hair is really short I suggest getting some synthetic braiding hair and making some braids to add to your own hair.

Childs French Hood this hood is fashioned after the one from this wood painting. Young Girl with Astronomic Instrument
c. 1520 Wood, (ten rows down on the page). I chose to use a wedge of the same fabric as the cornet fabric and add the upper billiment to the bag because there is a very visable line in the painting that gives it away.

cornet in place shown from frontcornet viewed from inside to show hair pins that will help anchor it in the braidcoronet shown from the back

cornet covered with hair bag and upper biliment from front sideclose up from sideclose up from back

french hood from the backyoung girl with frenchhood from left and right

Childs French hood with bag. Cornet from the inside showing hair pins that will slide into braid 1.
Cornet in place from front 2, from back 3.
Bag slipped over cornet 4&5.
Hood from back on child 6
Child from left and right front 7&8.

Princess Elizabeth Style Hood this hood was inspired by the painting Elizabeth I when Princess c.1546 The pattern for the cornet is in my Tudor French hood pattern.

biliment over the patterncap with pleated gold edge

Billiment (left): beads strung on wire layed out over the pattern to check for fit. The inside row has smaller spacers in places and smaller pearls in places so that it will fit the inside curve which is smaller. This cap (right) which is made from the band and bag pattern from my Biggin cap pattern. The pleated gold tissue is sewn into the band.

billimentbilliment back

Red velvet cornet (left) with pearls sewn to the inside edge (lower billiment) Inside of the cornet (right) showing the thread loops that the chin strap is threaded thru. Usually I machine sew the lining and outer layer together. This time I brought the seam allowance of the velvet around to the back, Holding it there with the 1/4" double sided sewable tape. Then by hand I sew the lining to the seam allowance of the velvet just inside the edge. I chose to do it this way because the lining was black and the outer fabric was red and that would have been seen on the edge of the cornet where there are no pearls or hood.

cornet without billiment and hood

Cornet over the cap, the ties go behind the neck and will fit inside the hood.

hood with billiment sewn along the top edge side view of hood with billiment sewn on

Inside of the hood (left) with the upper billiment sewn to the top edge of the hood. Hood (right) showing the billiment sewn on before it is placed on the upper edge of the cornet. I usually flat line a hood but I decided to make this one out of only one layer of fabric and do a rolled hem on the upper and lower edge. This is a silk/cotton satin fabric with very nice weight so it worked well. I did make a slight alteration to the hood pattern. I added about 1" to the top center arc of the hood because this is a fairly high cornet. I sewed the two rows of beads on wire to a double fold bias strip of silk fabric of a similar color to the cornet. As I was sewing the bead rows to the bias I aslo added the small red beads. The small red beads are not just for decoration I also sewed between then to help hold the two rows of beads to each other.

compleated French hood from frontcompleated French hood

This is how the full French hood looks with the billiment sewed to the top edge of the hood and that placed along the edge of the coronet. I used two straight pins to pin the billiment into place near the bottom edge of the cornet where the billiment stops following the curve of the cornet.   

right side French hoodHood back

Mary Tudor Style French Hood in the shape of the hood that apears on an engraving of Mary Tudor from 1555.

Cap from sidecap from front

Silk/cotton cap made with one of the Mary Tudor band pattern pieces from my Elizabethan French hood pattern and the bag pattern from my biggin pattern. The band does not have wired buckram inside but has two layers of non-woven interfacing inside.

folded white silk 1/4 yardsilk 1/4 yard pinned into place

On the left you can see the 1/4 square yard folded in half along the bias draped and pined in place just in front of the braids and along the seam line betbeen the band and bag. On the right you can see that I made a second fold by lifting the top layer of the 1/4 yard and folding it forward about an inch and then back. This will create two folds that will show in front of the billiment for extra visual intrest. A pin was added on each side to secure the folds until the hood and the billiment are pinned into place. There is also a pin in the center back that holds all the corners of the 1/4 yard in place.

billiment sewn to the silk hoodside view of the completed hood

On the right is the billiment sewn to the edge of the hood. For the hood I used the hood pattern from View B of my Tudor French hood pattern. I did just a little change in the pattern because my billiment was about two inches too short. The top edge of the hood pattern had the correct shape for this hood because it has a cut out area for the pleated trim. I tood four knife pleats along the center back seam of the hood this shortens the back seam so that the inside of the tube is not longer than the outside and the botton edge of the hood is even. It also shapes the hood to the head shape.

hood from 3/4 viewhood from front viewtop view of completed hood

The hood is pinned in place with just two pins one on each side just above the second cross of pearls. It's almost not necessary because it wants to stay in place by itself because of the valley caused by the braids. The pearls of the billiment are a slightly mauve in color but they seem to photograph much more pink than it real life. The tube beads are real silver which I wish I could have found in gold because gold would have been much more likely in the time. The really great find is the small cube shape beads that have holes on all six sides so that I could add the sets of pearls going across. I did that with a long head pin and some E6000 glue. They also made the sewing of the billiment to the silk hood simple because I could just go up and down the last set of holes and into the edge of the fabric of the hood. This hood was flat lined so it has a strong seam along that front edge.
Last Revision: 16 Jan 2009

Copyright Lynn McMasters, © 2007
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