women's headdress(es)

I needed a new headdress and one that would go with the Dürer dress. In 15th century artwork from southern Germany the 'wulsthaube' is a common type of headdress in which the face is lined by pleats, the so-called 'Vächer'. (The number of which was apparently an issue in dress codes from that time.) Here is some artwork I have gathered for illustration:

woman from Nürnberg with dancing dress Barbara Dürer pair of lovers Sol und seine Kinder
oung man and two women aristotle & phyllis Krönchenstechen pair of lovers

different headdresses

In Albrecht Dürer's pictures the wulst (bulge) is quite high (see image 1 and 2) - I thing I'd prefer it somewhat less pronounced as seen in (earlier) images from the housebook (image 3-7). The number of pleats varies greatly in these pictures, from six (picture 5) to a LOT (picture 1 and 8). At the back the kerchief seems to be stuffed in underneath itself. In some pictures you can see rather broad stitches through which the pleats might be attached to the kerchief (?) (picture 1,2 & 8). In some cases the long end of the headdress hangs over the shoulder of the wearer (picture 2 and 6) or is folded around the chin (picture 1 and 7). The only hair you see beneath the haeddress are braids at the temples.

Beneath this type of headdress a 'Gefrens' is often worn (at least in the housebook pictures). It seems to be made up simply from yarn (wool or possibly silk) that is knotted around a fastening band:

departure for the hunt Der obszöne Liebesgarten Niederwildjagd Krönchenstechen

women wearing a Gefrens

The above pictures all show a gefrens worn without a headdress. Is is attached directly to the braided hair. Commonly, it would propably have been of only one colour (as in picture 2 or picture 7 of the kerchief section). But there are also exmples of multicolored gefrens's (picture 3 and 4). In most cases it is not longer than the neck of the wearer (it is longer than that in the last picture, though).

This is what my headdress and gefrens look like right now: I've made the kerchief from fine white linen according to the pattern described in Dragon No. 6 of the Company of Saint-George. As I don't have long hair I can't make a braid to pad the headdress for a fuller look (see third picture of the kerchief section for an example). Unfortunately, it is not that easy to completely hide short hair under that headdress (a Gefrens helps, though)... (and impossible to make temple braids)

Wulsthaube, Bettina Wulsthaube, Bettina Wulsthaube, Bettina

headdress, without wulst

October 2009: If I find the time I want to make myself first a second one. (I like this headdress so much better than my old ones, I want to have a spare one for long weekends.) As well, I need a false braid which I can somehow attach to my head below the headdress to better match the fuller look (especially at the back of the head) of the artwork. I have actually found an example of a false braid in the Allgäuer Landesmuseum in Kempten. It was used (along with loads of other interesting items - I can only recommend that exhibition) as isolating material between floors of a town house... I'm thinking of attaching such a braid to a modern headband to make things easier (nothing will remain fixed on my hair).

false braid

a false braid

November 24, 2009: On the weekend I've been trying to make a false braid similar to the one from the museum in Kempten. Making the braid itself turned out to be quite easy: I cut the rectangles (7 x 50 cm) from some leftover white linen and stitched each one together to from three long tubes. I turned the tubes to have the seams on the inside. Stuffing the tubes was pretty straightforward as I discovered a very useful stuffing material - felting wool. It was sold in long (about 150 cm) fluffy stripes, which were easily divided into smaller stripes. I folded them to get pieces matching the length of the tubes, attached a (rather strong) string, which I passed through the tubes using a pencil and sticky tape. After that I only needed to pull the stuffing wool through the tube and sew the ends together.
I made a nice thick braid from the tubes which I attached to a (modern) headband, hoping that that would help fixing the ting on my head. Unfortunately, the headband turned out to be too slippery and would not remain fixed an my hair (at least not when worn with the wulsthaube). But it did look okay when worn solo :-) ! So maybe I just need to find myself a better headband...

making of a false braid making of a false braid making of a false braid making of a false braid
making of a false braid making of a false braid making of a false braid

making the false braid

January 26, 2010: I've attached the false braid to a new headband - one with little teeth on it (picture 1) - now it stays put! And the headdress looks now much fuller (picture 2) :-) as I had hoped it would. I've also made a new one - this time I tried to set the pleats (Vächer) more carefully and evenly (picture 3). I'm rather happy with the new look (picture 4).
It's a bit tight over the ears though, what can make wearing it a bit uncomfortable after a while...

Wulsthaube, Bettina Wulsthaube, Bettina Wulsthaube, Bettina Wulsthaube, Bettina

new headdress