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Opinions on ruffs?

Started by MistressCrowfeather, May 11, 2008, 10:31:50 PM

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I'm making a golden doublet gown in a more spanish/italian style, and I am unsure of how big of a ruff to make.  I don't even know if I want a full blown ruff.  Do you think I could get away with a standing lace collar?  The gown is based on this picture.  Any thoughts would be great.


My personal opinion would be to go with the full ruff.  With the doublet style, that will havee a great look.  I would, however, take in consideration the faire/weather your faire is in and how well you hold up in the heat.  That ruff will help trap in the heat where a full collar will allow more heat out.  If you plan to wear the doublet style in a hot faire, and you don't do well in heat, go collar.


I dunno, I like some ruffs but I don't really care for the one illustrated in that portrait, I would go with one that's wider at the bottom rather than coming up like a turtle neck like that, i have a dislike for turtlenecks though... I would go with a ruff of somesort though it would look awesome.
"A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every woman ought to know."


The Italians tended toward an open collar which, in my opinion, would be more comfortable to wear at fair.

Cindy/Ciana Leonardi di Firenze/Captain Cin

Baroness Doune

Mistress Crowfeather,
The portrait you have linked to is most definitely Spanish and the most commonly seen Spanish gowns in portraits of this period were the high neck doublet bodice with a closed ruff.

Another image from the same period.

Anne of Austria, Queen of Spain (Stepmother to the lady in the portrait you have posted.)

The closed ruff is approximately 2-3 inches wide (neck to edge) including the lace edging.

Tammie Dupuis of The Renaissance Tailor makes beautiful ruffs that are easier to care for than the typical ruff.  (No starching and setting is needed which is a laborious process for the typical ruff.)  Since I am lazy, I will probably buy a suite of ruffs from her for my Anne of Austria gown.  I also want to see the ruffs she makes up close and personal so I can better make them myself.  Her technique for ruff making is mentioned on her website.

Ruffs need to be pointed to the back neckline of the doublet or they will twist around.  If you pinned opening edges of the ruff to the opening edges of the doublet collar and wore a high neck smock neck smock underneath (you should anyway to keep the ruff and doublet collar cleaner), you could also wear the neckline of the smock, ruff and doublet open for a different, more casual look.

*edit to add*
The Italian styles which are depicted on this thread all have ruffles attached to the collar of the chemise.  The maximum width that can be achieved is about 2 inches and there tends to be drooping at that width without starching or additional stiffening in the chemise collar as well as the collar ruffle.

Lady Kathleen of Olmsted

Here is a Ruff for a shirt I did using eyelet lace. Otherwise, I use the actual shirt fabric, one layer, serged with a delicate lace along the bottom.

1)What I do is take the measurement of the neck and multiply it by 6, plus 3". It takes 3 yards for a nice ruff for the neck. The Ruff strip is 2" wide, with added lace on the edges if the strip is the fabric.

2)I measure 1/2" from the edge with a light mark of the pencil and an inch after that until I come to the end of the strip.

3) Carefully folding over to make a stacked Box Pleat, I pin each of the pleats down until I come to the end. All is evened and should be consistant.

4) I run 2 lies of  basting stitch with the machine to carefully get all the pleats to lay down nicely then pull to fit onto the neck band. The stacked Box Pleating allows for the figure 8's to form.

I use the same procedure for the qwrist ruffs for Men's Shirts and Women's Chemises. I am saving up for the Rolls Royce of Embroidery machines to be able to download Blackwork designs then do them on the actual fabrics. What I do now suffices nicely to add a classier touch to Shirts and Chmises.

"As with Art as in Life, nothing succeeds like excess.".....Oscar Wilde


Thank you all for your opinions.  I have a smock with a standing lace collar that I usually wear open (Italian style), but I think I'm going to make a little bit more elaborate one.  I have some old pillow cases with handmade lace on the edges that I think would be lovely.  I don't know if there's enough, but we'll see.  I would love the full ruff, but when I went to ren-faire last year, it was 100+ degrees out.