Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ancestors weren't dumb instance #347...

I haven't really been keeping track, but it's fun to randomly number things...

So I taught my class on basic braided styles for SCA periods, and I mentioned that hairpins aren't period, the proper method would be to sew the hair, either to tie off the braid or to arrange it in the various styles.  This was suggested to me through a Youtube video by Janet Stephens for a specific Roman Hairstyle, which then suggested for further reading an article of hers called "On (hair)Pins and Needles," which gave further information about Roman hairstyling.  This idea should be obvious, but requires a little mental rebooting to wrap your mind around it.  Hair taping is something I've done before, completely without pins, but sewing with a thread that matches the hair hadn't occurred to me as an alternative to pins.  Last weekend I got to try sewing hair for several styles, and of course I didn't get any pictures, but I can at least describe the styles and why the sewing worked so well.

Bust of Marie de France (1327–41)

First style I sewed that day was a 14th century Templers style, also known as the puppy dog ears.  It's the one that has the two braids on either side of the face,  that are folded up once they get to chin length.  Idonia was the recipient of this style, and her hair is no longer than waist length.  I believe that this is long enough if you can get the braids started in the correct place on the head.  If the hair was longer, thigh or longer, the braids could be crossed behind and then brought up to the temples.  As it was I eventually got the braids started in the right place, braided down as far as I could and ended up with tails about 5-6" long.  I folded the braid about in half, which made it fall from temple to chin.  I took the sewing thread and sewed the braid in half, tucking the tails against the face, which I believe to be an appropriate recreation of this image. The original bust most likely had an elaborate crown that would attach to it.  The tails ended up tickling her and getting in the way, so Idonia tucked them back, and the sewn braids stayed put longer than she really wanted, so she had to have a friend pick out the threads.  The braids ended up being piled on her head, but the style lasted for at least a day.

The second head I sewed last weekend was for Aoife.  Her hair is much shorter, just past shoulder, and a bit finer.  She only wanted the front part pulled back in regular braids, not french, and then pinned in a bun.  The pins just weren't working, partially from the short hair, and partially from the style of braid.  I got fed up with the pins not cooperating and sewed her bun in place.  It stayed through Saturday, and she had me take it down on Sunday.

The last, and most squee worthy, was Isadora.  She doesn't play very often, but she's working on a Greek persona.  I'm going to try to get her to come over to the Roman side.  Since I had a braiding booth set up for merchanting on Saturday, and no one was coming by, she decided to try to drum me up a little business.  And for that kindness, she got a gorgeous Roman style based on these images.  Her hair was shortish for these styles, past the shoulder but not past the shoulder blade.  She got cornrows, though fewer than these images.  She had six across the front of her head, and six across the bottom.  The dozen little braids were then sewn together however I could get them arranged neatly with the tails tucked in to create the open centered, voluminous buns like the Roman busts.  I couldn't get all the braids to twist the same directions, but they all curled nicely in the end.  I last saw her on Monday, and the style was still secure, if a bit fuzzy.  I'm looking forward to the day I convert more people to Roman garb, and can do these styles on more people, though they do take a good long amount of time to arrange.

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