Making the Worlds Simplest SCA Legal Fencing Coif
Originally published in Punta Dritta Februaly AS XXXV (2001)
If you know how to sew, there are any number of coifs you can make. I don't know how to sew. But I figured, "Hay, how hard can it be?". The answer is, not very... if you can get the machine to work. So I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to get a machine to run a seam, and then designed a coif that used as few seams as possible. There are actually only 2 required.
The sewing part is quick enough that you could probably get someone to do that for you fairly easily. It should only take them about 4 min. Learning to thread the bobbin took me about an hour......... The choice is yours.
Most coifs are designed to go under the fencing mask where it is pressed to your head. There is no possibility of any air movement. It gets hot where I am, so I designed a coif to go outside of the mask and to block ventilation as little as possible. This is an original design. You may feel free to make as many for personal or club use as you like (if you want to go into the business, we can talk). All I ask in return for my investment in time to design this, is that you make one from scrap or cheep material first so you know how it is done and don't waste your chosen material. You can always donate the test piece to your Golden Key for cold weather, non fighting gear. You will end up with a good bit of odd shaped left over fabric. But as the total cost for this should be about $10, I was not too worried about thrift.
- 2 and 1/3 yards 60" wide Trigger cloth in your choice of color
- 1 package extra wide double fold bias tape in matching or contrasting color
- 1 spool of matching thread.
You are supposed to wash your cloth first. That way it will not shrink smaller than you want it to be. So cut your cloth into two pieces at least 40" long by 60" (the width of the cloth) and wash and dry it.
Take one piece and lay it out so the 38" is left to right and the 60" is top to
bottom. Fold it once bottom over top. Fold it again left over right. Now
you have 4 layers of cloth. Take a piece of string or even a piece of thread,
and tie it around a pencil. Measure the string to be 19" long. Hold one end
of the string in the lower left corner of the cloth and draw an arc 19" in ra-
dius as shown. Cut off out side the line.
If you were to unfold the fabric you will have a circle with a 19" radius (but don't unfold it)
Now, on the left side of the material, draw a vertical line 4" from the left. Draw another line across 5" up from the bottom. Freehand, draw a connecting ark between the lines.
Cutting through all 4 layers of cloth, cut out the cloth shown shaded in the picture. Save these pieces. You can sew it into a nice belt pouch when you are done. You get two pouches as a bonus from this project. *S*
Repeat theses steps again so you have two identical pieces that look like......
Lay one on top of the other. Fold bottom over top, and left over right so it looks like.....
You will note that what will be the bottom is already a finished edge (as it is folded), and the chin is done as it is not cut. At this point you can take it to someone who can sew to run a seam over the back of the head (upper right of cloth). Now turn it inside out (which will make it right side out) and check the fit to your mask (if you did your own sewing, you may need to trim the fabric closer to the seam to avoid a wad of fabric...). Insert your mask into the hood and check for fit. The "chin" of the coif should fit over the bib of the mask, under the mask. The wire mesh of the mask should extend through the opening, but be fairly tight. You may have to enlarge the face opening a bit. Once that is right, sew on (or have sewn) the bias tape to finish the face opening. That's all there is to it. If you are doing your own sewing, give this one to your local practice for loaner gear, and make yourself another one, you know, with out that mistake you made in the first one *grin*
Oh, and if your kingdom requires a separate strap to hold the bottom of the mask to your head, take a luggage strap, small belt, or some of that left over bias tape, and sew it to the inside of the chin of the coif. As this will go over the bib of your mask, when you fasten or tie it around behind your head, your mask is secured as per the rules.