12th century nailbinded cap,  12th century projects,  Books,  Projects,  Projects - Nailbinding,  Tassels

Revisited – 12th century nailbinded cap in purple with tassel

Revisited - 12th century nailbinded cap in purple with tassel :DI recently got to know that the purple 12th century nailbinded cap which I made in december 2013 finally arrived safe in the hands of my beautiful sister Bella in the states.

Actually it was meant to be a christmas present. But due to all the mundane stress I had during the turn of the year, I unfortunately forgot to send it till spring. …and then – *panic* – it seemed that the cap got lost in the mail….

Racaire_Nailbinding_12th-century-cap_1I was really frightened that the cap might got lost in the mail until I got the releasing message from my sister. Therefore I decided to celebrate the arrival and to revisit my posting about this project for you.

…and well, this is also a small kick into my own butt to finish my pink 12th century cap which is already waiting for its last finishing work and tassel for some months now… *lol*

…and now to the revisited and updated posting about my first 12th century nailbinding project:

Bellas new 12th century nailbinded cap
in purple with tassel 😀


I am sorry, but the following in-depth details are restricted to Advanced and Premium members of my blog. 

This 12th century nailbinding project is inspired by an italian 12th century fresco showing foolish virgins. You can find a picture of this fresco here: The Bliaut throughout 12th Century Europe. This page gives following information concerning the source: “A frecso dipicting the story of “the foolish virgins” from Castel d’Appiano in Trentino Alto Adige, Italy”.

When I noticed that the caps of the foolish virgins had one very special detail – a small “tail” – I decided that I absolutely wanted one. At this point I would like to thank my sister Bella who pointed this detail out to me. She has really a much better eye for 12th century clothing details than I have…

For the lords and ladies among you who recreate 12th century – this detail is rather rare as far as I can tell concerning the pictures I have seen of extant paintings/illuminations/frescos till now. After long discussions with a friend of mine from France, who is an art historian, I still think that this might have been a cap that was actually worn in the 12th century.
But there is also the possibility that this cap has just an allegorical meaning (concerning the 12th century).

Based on this long discussions I put together a list of…

…my thoughts about the shape of this cap:

I think that the shape of the cap is very simple. For me this fact raises the possibility that this might have been actually worn during the 12th century. Actually, when one fails to make a really round cap, as worn by some ladies on extant pictures, one can easily end up with a point or a small “tail”. I also know of at least one period example of a nailbinded cap which is not perfectly round at the top from this time frame. Therefore I think there is a chance that it actually happened from time to time that a cap did get such a nice “tail”…

Furthermore, according to what I got to know till now about pictures with “foolish virgins”, they always show “very fashionable” and therefore “foolish” dressed ladies. Foolish for the 12th century as well as the other medieval centuries means that though they surely can still move in their dresses, this ladies can hardly work in them. *lol*

When you follow the link and look at the picture, this ladies are wearing closely fitted dresses with overly full and long fashionable sleeves, beautiful cloaks with fur collar,… Therefore I don’t really think that they would wear something “outdated” and just allegorical on their hats, wile they are otherwise wearing “modern” and “fashionable” clothing.

…and well, taking a look at the fashionable youth and the fashion industry nowadays and some off the odd things that were already fashionable during our rather young (modern) century, I don’t doubt anymore that a cap like this could have been easily considered fashionable during one or more time periods in the past… *giggle*

I, personally, think that there is a good chance that caps like this existed and were worn during the 12th century. This cute caps with their small “tail” show in my opinion a similar fullness like the dresses as well as another similarity. Like the body of the dresses is tightly fitted, the main part of the cap on the forehead is also very close fitting and the small “tail” shows a similar extravagance like the overly full and long sleeves…

Racaire_Meridies_MGT_2012Unfortunately not many things from the 12th century survived the last centuries (wars, fires, were thrown away,…) besides some really important or precious pieces. Therefore my personal intend has always been to recreate what I can see and also can afford and even more important: what I like.

My 12th century recreations are normally based on extant pieces and on extant examples of romanesque art (11th – 13th century) – things which I l
ike and see. I have the “step out of the picture” approach – to look like I just stepped out of a 12th century picture. Yes, if you put it the other way round, I try to become a piece of artwork – a 12th century lady that just stepped out of a 12th century fresco/painting/illumination/…

Long time ago I decided that the approach of many reenactment groups – just to recreate what can be 100% documented with 3 or more sources,… – is just not enough for me. I wanted more projects, more possibilities and actually – more fun and creativity. Please keep that in mind when you are looking at my projects. I don’t focus on copying extant pieces – I am focussing on partly recreating “old” existing objets as well as creating “new” objects based on extant objects, techniques, styles… and my personal preferences.

…and now to the details concerning the nailbinded cap:

Well, I guess your first question might be: Why nailbinding? Because nailbinding is a great technique – it is very suitable for making a cap and furthermore it is a period technique. …and because I found some nice extant nailbinded pieces from the 12th century like:

  • Pontifikalstrümpfe” – Delémont, Swiss
  • Mütze (pileus) des Hlg. Bernhard” – Niederwerth, Deutschland,…

Both extant nailbinded pieces can be found in the following booklet at page 52 among other period examples of nailbinding:

Nadelbinden – Was ist denn das?:
Geschichte und Technik einer fast vergessenen Handarbeit

Nailbinding_12th-century-cap_2013-12_1The nailbinding notation for this project:
UUOO/UUOO O F2 (according to the booklet this is a “Finnischer Stich”)

The wool thread:
Malabrigo – Baby Silkpaca lace (70% baby alpaca and 30% silk)

The tassel:
…absolutely my own imagination/style and my personal addition – I just love tassels! Btw. you can find a tutorial for my “fast and easy tassels” <here> 😀

…and now more progress pictures for you:


…more progress – well, knitting might be much faster and the wool/silk thread is rather fine which doesn’t make it faster too… but it is definitely worth the work… 😉


…and underneath a first picture of the cap being worn before washing it & adding the tassel:


After the washing the tail got a little bit shorter… While still wet, I carefully pulled the cap into shape before drying it slowly in a towel… Underneath you can see a picture of the washed and finished cap (with tassel):


This 12th century nailbinded cap with tassel is so cute, isn’t it… 😉

Best regards Racaire