A ruff, is a historical garment worn in Europe during the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a distinctive part of fashion from that era.
The ruff is an ideal item for Cosplay, LARP events and Comicon. It is very clever designed and looks luxurious! It is also a beloved item for portrait photography.
What about the historical ruff?
The ruff is an extremely wide, standing collar made of lace or linen. It takes the form of a circle that protrudes around the neck and shoulders of the wearer, sometimes even framing the face. The Dutch name "molensteenkraag" is derived from the resemblance of the collar's shape to that of a millstone.
These collars were predominantly worn by both men and women from the upper social classes. They were symbols of fashion and wealth, as wearing such an elaborate collar required a considerable amount of fabric and craftsmanship. Ruffs were often worn at formal occasions and served as status symbols in the society of that time.
Although ruffs are no longer worn in modern times, they are associated with historical costumes and can be seen in plays, movies, and other artworks set in the Renaissance or Baroque period.
The historical ruffs or simply ruffs, served several purposes during the time they were in fashion, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries:
Fashion and Status:
Ruffs were a prominent fashion statement and status symbol, particularly among the upper classes and nobility. They were made from expensive materials like lace and fine linen, requiring skilled craftsmanship to create intricate designs. Wearing a large and elaborately styled ruff demonstrated one's wealth and social standing.
Modesty and Decency:
Ruffs were often worn as part of formal attire, providing a modest and elegant way to cover the neck and upper chest. In a society with strict moral and social codes, they helped conceal the décolletage of women and offered a sense of decorum.
Customization and Personalization:
The size and style of ruffs varied, and wearers had the opportunity to personalize their ruffs according to their preferences and social positions. Certain professions, religious orders, or aristocratic families had distinctive styles of ruffs, allowing individuals to identify with their groups.
Social and Ceremonial Events:
Ruffs were commonly worn at court ceremonies, religious services, and other formal events. The extravagance of the ruff could further underscore the importance of the occasion and the wearer's role in society.
Although primarily a fashion accessory, ruffs may have offered some practical protection to the neck and upper body against the elements, especially during colder seasons.
As fashion evolved and societal norms changed, ruffs gradually fell out of favor by the late 17th century. However, their legacy remains as a recognizable and iconic element of historical costume and has left a lasting impact on fashion history.
How to sew a historical ruff:
Sewing a ruff can be a bit more complex than basic sewing projects, but with patience and some sewing skills, you can create a beautiful ruff. Here's a simplified guide to sewing a ruff:
Materials you'll need:
As shown on the pictures: 1. and 2. failed.
Picture 4 is the ruff which is a nice result!