Saturday, August 17, 2013

Brass Dress Pins

A few words on pins. Some of you may have heard the phrase "having your pin money" at some point. The meaning of this phrase is to have a little extra money left over to do something special or treat yourself. Modern women might think of this in terms of having extra funds for cosmetics or shoes. The origins of this phrase are in fact in the Tudor period, or possibly earlier. At this point in history you had to have "pin money" to dress well. Pins were used to hold up placards on gowns, sleeves, veils, and arrange jewelry. At later dates they were also used to arrange skirts and ruffs.

Extant Brass Pins from the Victoria and Albert Museum
Today's reenactors have been lacking in quality brass pins for their dressing needs for some time. Often we resorting to steel straight pins for sewing. The problem with these is that they are not sturdy enough to stay in the fabric without bending. For anyone willing to pay $2 a pin plush shipping there is a good solution on the market finally. Irene Davis of The Treasury is not making pins made the same way they were in period, including drawing down the wire for added strength. Strong and sharp, I used these pins for the entire two weeks I was at Pennsic (and SCA event) without bending a single pin, harming anyone including myself, and no damage done to my clothing. I truly can not say enough good things about the brass dressing pins from The Treasury.

Brass Dressing Pins by The Treasury
Large image of Queen Jane Seymour with visible pin heads
Pins in the V&A

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alternative French Hood Construction

Most of you out there have probably seen and used the Tudor Tailor's French hood patterns. I do love the look of my hoods I have created using these patterns, but they do not travel well. When transporting them they must either be worn or packed carefully into a hat box. Making French hoods out of plastic canvas gives them increased durability, but also adds significantly to the weight.

If you have had problems transporting your hoods you may be in luck. Have you tried the research and pattern by Sarah Lorraine. Sarah's patterns involve layering pieces to archive a final look which is spot on for several of the portraits and profiles we see of period women in their headdresses. It also sits lower to the head in keeping with research being done on French hoods between 1510 and 1540. Take a look. Try it out. Share your thoughts. When my versions are done there will be an update. Happy August!