Coifs and bonnets to make yourself.
Text and photo: Laila Durán.
Not long ago it was unthinkable for a decent woman to go outside without covering her hair with a hat or a headscarf. Only a few generations have passed since the time when you could distinguish wives from unmarried women just by looking at their headgear. Shape and material were markers of your position in society and could often tell from which part of the country you origin. Today the folk costumes still have kept the female headdresses, where their ancient shape and construction in some cases show traces back to the middle ages.
In the 18th century you seldom appeared bare headed. Even complicated hairstyles and wigs were often covered with bonnets both in undress as well as for formal wear. Paintings and illustration shows women of all classes wearing bonnets both inside and outside their home. Some coifs could be made in very simple shape from plain cotton or linen. These were often worn beneath hats or silk bonnets. Other were made from exclusive silks or decorated with laces and silk ribbons. In several Swedish regulations of consumption from the 18th century it is stated that also women of lower social position were allowed to wear silk bonnets. In this newsletter we will give you some patterns and instructions on how you easily can make a pretty little bonnet to wear over your coiffure.
Jean Etienne Liotard, the Chocolate maid, 1745. The young maiden is wearing a silk bonnet decorated with lace.
The bonnet of the Chocolate maid made in pink silk and cotton lace.
Michel Pfeiffer, in the film Dangerous liaisons,
is wearing a small lace cap over her hairdo.
For undress wear a simple round cotton bonnet is worn with
a short gown of printed cotton.
A coif in blue silk decorated with fine cotton lace.
In the back of the neck the coif is shaped by small pleats.
This red silk bonnet in peasant or bourgeois style covers both the hair and the ears of the wearer.
The crown of the bonnet is gathered to the forepart and pleated in the back.
Beneath the straw hat a simple coif is worn.
The linen coif has a very simple and ancient shape.