Dawn's Costume Guide

Hair Snood

A hair what? Also known as a "caul" this is a little cap or bag for a lady to wear her hair in. Sounds strange until you've seen one, I know. Until this century a married and respectable woman always wore her hair covered by a cap of some sort when she was seen in public, or outside of her dressing room for that matter. Looking like you just woke up might be trendy today, but if you're dressing up for a Renaissance Fair or an SCA party, you can add a lot to your costume with this simple piece.

If you have short hair you can hide the length in the snood and nobody will know it isn't long and just pinned up.

This is not a difficult project, but does take a day's worth of hand sewing.

What you need:

1/2 yard of metallic gold or silver net

1/2 yard of dark lightweight lining

fake pearls, rhinestones, or gold beads

1 pk 1/2" double fold bias tape (either black or to match your lining)

thread to match your lining

embroidery hoop (the bigger the better, 16" works well for this)

Use a tape measure to find out how big your head is from the nape of your neck around the top of your head. You should get a number between 22 and 25 inches. Write this number down for later.

Iron your lining if you need to. Cut an 18" square of lining.

Lay out the netting so it is flat and straight. This stuff tends to curl at the edges and shift out of place easily. Work with it a bit to get it even. It makes a difference in the end.

Cut an 18" square of netting.

Fold the lining and the netting into quarters or eigths and trim it into a circle. You do not have to fold them together. You can fold each piece separately. It might help to keep them flat.

When you have two circles lay the net on top of the lining and place the layers in your embroidery hoop.

You can now sew on the pearls or rhinestones, catching the net to the lining with each pearl. I suggest sewing a pearl every 1-2 inches in an even pattern. You can alternate pearls and rhinestones for a more decorative effect if you like.

Sew pearls all over the top of the net except for a 1" margin all around the edge. You may have to move or remove the hoop to get to all the places you want to sew on.

When you're satisfied with the decoration, take the fabric out of the hoop.

Now, remember that number you wrote down in step 1? Get some thread and gather your beaded circle until you have it at the same measurement your head is. You should have something that looks like a shallow, wide-mouthed pouch.

Using lots of pins attach the bias tape over the raw edges of the gathered circle. When you get to the end where the tape overlaps, fold the end of the tape down so the raw edge is tucked under.

Sew it down. The neatest way to do this is to put the right side of the tape on the right side of the snood, pin it all around and sew it down with a very narrow seam, then fold the tape under to the inside and hand stitch down.

The fast way to do it is to pin the tape over the edge of the circle and sew all three layers down at once. Sometimes you miss the seam on the underside, though. Not a great tragedy, but it won't win you points from the Costume Police.

To wear this put your hair up in a bun or a ponytail. Put the snood bag over the back of your head, catching the pinned up hair in it. Pin the snood to your hair with hairpins or clips. You can also sew a comb to the inside of the snood to help hold it in place. If your hair is really fine like mine is, try wearing a headband, and pinning the top of the snood to the headband.

For variation you can make these plain, without beading and the gold net, or out of a nice rich fabric like velvet. Be careful of brocade fabrics which can be too stiff to gather into a headband.

All text and artwork copyright 1990 - 2001 D. Duperault. NOTHING on this site may be reproduced or distributed by any means without my written permission. This information offered in good faith, and worth only what you paid for it.
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