Wednesday, 20 December 2017

17th Century cuffs and ruff

Pattern: improvised
Fabric: a 4.5 m long strip of fine cotton, and small pieces of fine cotton
Haberdasheries: six metal hooks


For the event ‘Battle for Grol’ that my husband and I attended this October, I added some new cuffs and a ruff to his wardrobe. He already had a flat, mid-17th century style collar, but since the siege at Grol took place in 1627, a ‘millstone’ ruff (translated from the Dutch ‘molensteen’) seemed more appropriate to us, and also, not many re-enactors wear these, even though they were very typical for the period (certainly in the Netherlands) and can be seen in many paintings.

I used fine cotton, rather than linen, for both the cuffs and ruff, both because the quality of linen that was used for these accessories at the time is unavailable nowadays, and because I know from my experience with my nurse uniforms that this cotton starches well.

For the cuffs, I cut rectangular pieces of fabric measuring 15 by 34 cm, and 8 by 23.5 cm for the wristbands. I sewed nine pleats into each cuff to give them the right shape, then attached the wristbands, and sewed on hooks and worked eyelets in such a way that the wristbands can be closed on the inside of the cuffs, and are not visible when worn.



For the ruff, I hand hemmed a 4.5 m long strip of fabric, then divided the strip into 8-shapes, hand sewed the 8-shapes together (in the 17th century, droplets of wax would have been used for this), and attached them to a neckband. I added metal hooks and worked eyelets for closing the neckband, as well.

I forgot to take photos of the cuffs before the event, so on these photos they’re wrinkled from laundering. I did actually iron them, though you wouldn’t say…


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