Friday 8 March 2013

Folk Costume Head Kerchief

For the fifth Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge, Peasants and Pioneers, I went for something exceedingly simple: hemming my folk costume kerchief. It needed doing, I just never got round to it before. It’s hand woven, and has two selvedges, which, when you look at originals, are often left as they are. I did the same, and had therefore only two sides to hem. It went quick.

 From the left: finished hem, the less neat of the selvedges, 
the zig zag it had when delivered to me.
I posted a picture recently of my full costume. That time I was lacy and wore my hair in a bun. For these pictures I wore my ribbon bound hair coiled round my head, as it should be. 

Mark the difference the hairstyle gives the kerchief! It stays put better too. Hair is, as always, important in period costume. I much prefer this look. 

The Challenge: # 5 Peasants and Pioneers
Fabric: Hand woven cotton
Most of the 19th century
Blue linen thread, bees wax.
How historically accurate is it?
It’s woven after extant ones, and hand stitched with period stitches, so quite accurate.
Hours to complete:
Maybe 2
First worn:
For the pictures.
Total cost: Well, I’ve had it for a few years, so nothing at this time. Originally it cost me 600 SEK, which would be $94, £62 or €72. Folk costume fabrics are expensive, at least to my slim budget. Had it been today I’d never bought it, but I was single at the time and had no child to care for, and large expenses did not affect anyone but me.

Since this project was such and quick and easy one I’ve been able to start a couple of other fun projects, and even finished one of them. More on that later.


  1. It's really cool how your hairstyle helps form the finished shape of the head-dress! I really like both the hairstyle and the kerchief. How do you tie it?

  2. Thank you! I've started to wear my hair like that now and then, it's so easy to do and rather becoming. The hairstyle is (well, were) typical in traditional dress in many places in Sweden.

    Here's a link on how to do the hairstyle (I usually use just the one ribbon):

    As for the kerchief, you fold it diagonally (but a little "off", so the under half won't be seen in the back - tidy is the norm), and then fold back the fold again, two inches. This will be seen, and gives the kerchief a more even look round the face. Tie at the nape of the nack, and arrange it to look pretty before pulling it tight.


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