Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Liripipe Hood

This is an older project. I made it before I started this blog so I don't have any in-progress pictures of it.
It's a liripipe hood!

Judging from my sketchbooks, I made this sometime around the beginning of August 2012. I had been reading a book on Medieval costume from the school library when I came across a picture of a liripipe hood. I immediately decided that liripipe hoods were awesome and that I needed to make one.

A definition of the word "liripipe" can be found here, some Medieval illustrations of them can be seen here, and an article on hoods and liripipes can be read here.
From what I remember reading in the book they were a man's garment that was popular around the 14th century. They were usually made of wool and the liripipes were separate pieces that were sewn on to the back of the hood. With all the fashionable men trying to outdo each other, the liripipes kept getting longer and longer until they had to be tied into fancy knots to keep them from dragging on the ground.

The pattern is pretty simple so it didn't take much work. I drew the pattern on an old sheet and used that as a mockup. It seemed to fit okay. It is loosely based off of hood #4 in this illustration.
The light spot was caused by a stain on the blanket that blocked some of the dye.
I cut my pieces from a grey wool blanket with blue stripes on the ends. There was just enough room to get all 3 pieces out of it without any of the blue stripes ending up in the garment. I put the pieces, plus a small scrap, into a big pot with forest green acid dye.
My mother teaches dyeing and has a small dye kitchen right outside my room, which is quite useful when something isn't the right colour.
The scraps that I didn't dye.
The colour is mostly even. Despite my constant stirring, there was one place where the wool was at the bottom of the pot for too long and came out much darker than the rest.
I don't really mind.
The seam holding the two halves together is whip-stitched with fine linen yarn. I dislike sewing bulky fabrics by machine because you can't match the thickness of the thread to the thickness of the fabric. There is a running stitch going down the middle of both seam allowances to keep them open and flat, and to help hold the lining in place. There is also a running stitch inside the edge of the hood.
The inside of the hood.
The liripipe is made from one piece and is exactly one metre long. It is also whip-stitched. I sewed it up right side out because turned liripipes always look too thick and bubbly and I wanted mine to be very thin. The thick wool did a very good job of hiding the stitches.
It tapers to quite a small point.
I poked the seam allowances in on both the liripipe and the tip of the hood and whip stitched them together. I used the small scrap I dyed to patch a small hole at the top of the hood. There are a few smaller holes elsewhere on the liripipe hood. I suppose I should darn them.
The hole repair is on the left, the liripipe join on the right.
The hem has 28 scallops. After measuring and cutting them, I pinned them with the edges turned in, and stab-stitched around the very edge of the lining. I am certain that real Medieval dagging was not done this way, but it was not my intention to be historically accurate.

(Side note: What does spell-check have against costumers? It didn't accept liripipe or dagging as words. Look what it's fist suggestion for "liripipe" was.
Lipizzaner? Seriously?
It knows the word for that particular breed of white horse but it doesn't know what a liripipe is. Why is this?)
The outer fabric sticks out about 3 mm further than the lining.
The front closes with 14 buttons. The button loops are made of cotton cord with bias strips of the lining fabric carefully whip-stitched over them.
The buttons themselves are actually little felt balls, a bit smaller than a marble. I wet felted them using green merino roving.
I like the way the loops outline the buttons in brown.
Here is the button closure from the inside.
The garment is lined in a thin brown cotton. The lining seams are the only part that is sewn by machine. There wasn't quite enough of the cotton, so one half of the lining has some piecing it it. The lining ends at the point where the liripipe is attached and is tacked into place.
You can't see the piecing in this picture, but it's on the right side.
I like my liripipe hood. Unfortunately, it doesn't really have a place in the wardrobe I plan on having one day, and certainly not with the one I have now. I did wear it a few times last fall, but found the liripipe somewhat awkward.
It got compliments when I wore it, but nobody knew what to call it. I was asked several times if I put my braid in the liripipe. What a dumb question. A braid would obviously not fit in there and even if it did it would be very awkward because the liripipe is so far up on the head.
Speaking of dumb questions, you would not believe the number of people, who, upon seeing this drawing asked "Oh, is that what they were for?"

A silly drawing in which a liripipe is employed as a whip. I was not very good at drawing people then. He looks all disjointed.
No! This is not what they were for. This is just a silly drawing. The article I linked to earlier does say that boys were known to drop rocks into their liripipes and use them as weapons, but those liripipes would have had to be much wider than the one in this drawing, and those boys were probably not wearing their hoods on their heads at the time.
Is it wrong to criticize people for being ignorant of things they can't be expected to know anything about? I think in this case they were completely ignoring common sense. Can you imagine a more awkward weapon than a wool whip attached to the back of your head?
What's the dumbest comment you've ever received on a costume?


  1. This is the coolest thing ever. I've never seen this kind of garment before.

    In regards to your question: "Did you make that?" (which really isn't that dumb of a question, but it happened to come right after I had just spent a few minutes explaining exactly how I'd made it)

    1. Thank you!
      That is a pretty dumb thing to ask under the circumstances. It's so irritating when you try to explain things to people and they don't pay any attention.

  2. I remember these hoods from old movies and the TV series about Robin Hood (the legend of whom dates from the 13th and 14th centuries). And probably other movies set in that period, the names of which I can no longer recall. I confess that I didn't know what it was called, but I surely had seen them. And I would have bet money that nobody at your school would have known the correct name either. Not even the fashion people. It's an obscure article of clothing by anyone's standards.

    1. I don't recall ever having seen one in a movie, but I haven't seen many Medieval era movies.
      None of the people in the fashion studio recognized it, which is quite sad. Liripipes deserve wider recognition.

  3. This is just plain cool. I totally want one now - do you think it would be weird to wear it to, like, Starbucks or the grocery store? ...because I totally want to....BRING BACK THE LIRIPIPE!!!

    1. That is EXACTLY what I thought the first time I heard of liripipe hoods. "What? These things went out of fashion 600 years ago and haven't made a comeback?"
      I don't think it would be weird to wear one at all. I wore mine to school and to an art gallery and nobody seemed to think it was weird.
      It would be awesome if you made one! The world needs more liripipes. I'm actually planning on making another one, black with inward curves instead of scallops, which would be more my style and would get worn more often.
      Thankfully, they are super quick and easy to make.

  4. This is awesome! I have a cloak that I wear around campus in lieu of a jacket, but the hood is much too wide (basically a wind-sock for my head) and it won't stay on. I've decided a closer-fitting liripipe hood should be my next project (the liripipe just for fun). You've pretty much spelled out everything I need to get it going, so thanks! Looking forward to joining the new... er, revival.

    1. Yay! I'm glad this was helpful. Good luck with your liripipe hood!

  5. Oh my god, too damn awesome! :D
    Thanks so much for showing us your awesome creation, a job well done!

    It's truly inspirational to see such fine craftsmanship.
    How much time did you spend making it?

    I'm dreaming of making a couple of these MAXIMUM SWAG liripipe hoods one day :)
    Greetings from the north, aka Norway :-)
    Alexander Sørnes

    1. Thank you!
      I have no idea how much time I spent making it. This was long before I started keeping time sheets on anything.
      Good luck with your own liripipe projects!

  6. was looking for inspiration and found this. there is a practicle side to the liripipe only just being rediscivered: it keep your open hood from blowing away in the wind. just loop it once through the back of your belt and even if the hood blows off you're having chase it being blown away. nothing more undignified than a lady chasing her hood through a muddy field in an epic game of keep-away with the wind.