Elena de la Palma explores all things Spanish clothing, 1480 – 1600

Finished! – Cofia y Tranzado – Part 3 of 3

And we’re done with the cofia y tranzado! See part 1, part 2, and my class for prior steps and background.

I’m thrilled with how this turned out. It sits beautifully on my head, wears comfortably all day, and attains the look of period images.

The insertion of the gold trim worked nicely. It is a stiffer material, almost mimicking a period drawn metal gold thread. Insertions of pre-made handworks is a known period technique in Spain – it’s how a lot of the lacework is done on the extant partlet shown in the La Moda Espanola En El Siglo De Oro museum exhibit at the Museo de Toledo (image courtesy of Fiberferret on Flickr)

The dark gold lace is sewn in, rather than being part of the piece itself.

To attach my trim, I used a modified hem stitch to secure it, passing my thread beneath the already-attached bias binding on both sides:

The needle should enter directly underneath the last stitch and as close to the gold trim as possible. It should then pass between the two layers of bias binding, meaning that the stitch is entirely hidden within the bias fabric. In period they likely would have just whip-stitched something like this in place, but I wanted to avoid visible stitchwork on my piece while also giving it more durability.
The stitch emerges up from within the bias binding to pierce the edge of the gold trim. I opted to hide the wide edges of the gold trim behind the black bias binding since I liked the look. If I wanted the wider edges showing instead, I could have simply caught my thread further toward the edge.
The finished product – no visible stitching on the right side. Don’t mind the ominous keyboard backlighting.

Once I finished the insertion, I finished bias binding the edges. The black bias tape creates a really nice look against the white and the gold.

It also wears nicely. The stiffness of the inserted trim helps keep it on my head without being heavy enough to pull it down. I wore it several times at Pennsic and it stayed quite well.

We may never know exactly how a cofia y tranzado was crafted. They do not appear in any known tailor’s manual or pattern book, nor are there any known extants. But based on this experiment, and other known extants and portraiture, I believe this bias-bound version with a piece of inserted handwork is plausible.

Sources used for this project, in addition to the images already cited above:

  • Los Inventarios de Carlos V y la Familia Imperial, Volumen II. Compiled by Fernando Checa Cremades. (Madrid, Fernando Villaverde Ediciones with the assistance of the Getty Foundation; 2010).
  • Carmen Bernis, Indumentaria Espanola en Tiempos de Carlos V. (Madrid, Instituto Diego Velazquez,1962)
  • Juan de Alcega, Tailor’s Pattern Book 1589. Trans. Jean Pain & Cecelia Bainton with original text included, (New York: Costume and Fashion Press; 1999)
  • Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion 3, (Hollywood, Quite Specific Media Group; 1985)
  • Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion 4, (London, Pan Macmillan; 2008)
  • Ruth Matilda Anderson, Hispanic Costume 1480-1530, (New York, Hispanic Society of America; 1979)
  • La Moda Espanola En El Siglo De Oro. N.d. Museum exhibit at the Museo de Toledo. Spain, Toledo. Accessed via the highly detailed online gallery provided by FiberFerret on Flickr: