Roundlets

Summary
  • Outer Decoration
  • Tartan with Clan Plants
  • How To Do It Yourself
  • Ready-made Sources
Roundlets are a Medieval headdress that carried forward through fashion eras.

This first illustration is a 1468 illustration from The Book of Costume. Since first seeing this drawing, I’ve been intrigued by the possibilities as worn by these young men, but in tartan.



Outer Decoration

In this illustration they appear to be of one color underneath, with a second fabric wrapped over the first, then gathered together in groups of two, and held in place by stitching, a decorative braid, or jewels.

The feather could be added or ignored, depending on your individual taste. A veil could be added, being any length from shoulder length to as long as a full train.

This portrait with the ladies wearing houppelande garments is seen at many locations. The furry roundlet is often described as a turban, but I think it’s a roundlet. Furthermore the basic design, done in recycled mink, would make a really great roundlet for a Scottish theme wedding.



As described on the Scottish Wedding Dreams Medieval Gowns page, executed in tartan, then adding a mink roundlet and a veil at least to shoulder length, or even as long as the train, would soften the impact of the tartan.

Burda pattern # 2509 is a gown, constructed in individual pieces, including a roundlet and veil. This is a very plain roundlet ~ simply of velvet with a gold decorative trim over-wrapping the base color.



Tartan with Clan Plants

Sometimes the roundlets were covered with one silk fabric, sewn with jewels and beads, then sparingly wrapped with a second silk in a different color. The second ribbon could be your family tartan. Your clan badge or plant could be attached around the back, gracefully draped around the roundlet from ear to ear, resting on the nape of your neck, with your veil extending from underneath.

How To Do It Yourself

I’ve found a few construction methods for roundlets. One was of white nylon clothes dryer vent hose, taped into a circle with duct tape, lightly covered with foam padding, then covered with fabric.This would give you a very large diameter roundlet.

A more traditional method that will give you a smaller diameter roundlet, is use willow, grape vine or honeysuckle vine. After drying, then soaking in water, you would braid the vines, then twist into a circle and secure the ends together by weaving them back in. For added security I would also whip-stitch the ends, which also gives a more consistent circle.

This has to dry completely before you add fabric.

The form can be padded with a strip of foam, wrapped around the form for diameter and comfort, until you achieve the diameter you’re wanting.

Fabric cut on the bias lies the easiest for a tight, smooth wrapping. If you want more of a scrunchy effect, sew a tube longer than your form, turn it right side out, slip it over the form and sew the ends together. Evenly adjust the gathering around the form.

Some roundlets had a form-fitting cap inside, while others were left open to reveal the hair underneath. If you decide to leave it open, a decorative braiding technique on the crown of your head would be a small, intriguing touch. The Hairbraiding page has some Celtic ideas.

Ready-Made Source

For those who’d rather not do it themselves, Tall Toad has a variety of historical era head-dress available, including the roundlet.

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