This post was written by Agnes from Wienische Hantwërcliute 1350. I did the best to translate it myself, but since it uses a lot of technical terms specific to textile, I may have gotten something wrong. If you have any suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

This year I wanted to come closer to the look of a Macedonian woman, which is why I did a few new projects for my impression. The hairband I used to wear is very much out of style in the 4th century BC. On paintings from this time you rather see a cloth or sack covering the whole of a woman's hair.

A friend of mine, who is doing a late Roman impression, introduced me to sprang hairnets, and I recommend to look at this great online presentation of the technique. The presentation is in German, but the pictures speak for themselves:

The author Dagmar Dinkler describes various pieces of evidence showing Greek women using sprang, and also tight-fitting clothes on statues (especially from the exhibition "Bunte Götter"). The patterns and forms of the shown clothes imply that they were indeed made using the sprang technique.

A sprang hairnet depicted on a vase
Here you can see the typical sprang headband

On many paintings, I recognized a broad band wrapped around the head, which I assumed to be a woven braid on which the sprang hairnet is fitted.

While researching later finds (e.g. from the Metropolitan Museum  herehere, or here), I discovered selvedges on the sprang nets. In her book "Prähistorische Textilkunst" Karina Grömer describes the use of tablet-woven selvedges on weaving looms as early as the bronze age. Not only does this look nice, it also makes for a stable point to start the net, and gives an estimate of the needed amount of threads - as they are limited by the length of the edge. It also introduces another nice design opportunity.

This selvedge was actually pretty easy to fabricate. I just used a normal weaving comb and instead of using the filling thread as usual I just layd large loops around a stick on one side. These loops are then wrapped around a stick and thus create the bottom side of the sprang piece. The threads are then fitted together with a simple Interlinking-Technique. Afterwards, a band is stuck through the bottom loops and they are tied together. Then the sides are sewn together so that we get a nice sack.

The finished hairnet.The finished hairnet.The finished hairnet.

Unfortunately I overestimated the required length and the hairnet turned out slightly too large. However, it is indeed very flexible and I am able to style it in almost any desirable form.

The finished hairnet.The finished hairnet.

The material I used is wool dyed with cochenille. Silk would propably be easier to handle and would make for a totally different look, which is why I want to try that out some time in the future.

Here are a few pictures of my sources: