The Italian Renaissance headband


This week at bookbinding class we learned how to do the Italian Renaissance headband (also explained in Jane Greenfields book: headbands, how to work them).


The beginning was pretty complicated, especially with the thick woolly threads supplied by the teacher. But as soon as I got home I made myself a new primary headband on a random old pocketbook and tried again. This time with pretty bright coloured Cordonnet thread.


Later this week I’ll try do make a normal Renaissance headband and maybe a Monastic headband. Pictures will of course follow!


8 thoughts on “The Italian Renaissance headband

  1. Hi there,
    Kudos on that headband! I’ve tried this design 3 times in the past (not on commissions but as practice!) but I always seem to get something wrong and the result is rather disappointing…

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks for the compliment! There is still some room for improvement but that’s for another night..
      What method did you try for yours?


  2. I have Jane Greenfield’s book as well, so I followed the steps she describes…
    I aslo had the same luck with the chevron, which is supposedly simpler and I really like but it comes out a mess, or at least that’s how I feel about it!
    What core did you use?


    1. We did the chevron in class today aswel, and I did feel as if it was a little bit trickier than the Italian Renaissance one. A lot of my classmates were confused on how far to make the cross (or chevron). I’ll make a new one somewhere this week and post pictures. It looked ok on mine. But still a little messy.

      I used a thick piece of string as the core for the primary headband. It should be the same as the string you sew on, but for practice I just used any old thing that I already had covered in glue. What did you use?

      (You can’t imagine how happy you make me. Not only are you my first commenter, I also love talking to someone who understands what a headband is!)


  3. I can relate to the skepticism regarding the chevron’s length, Jane -if memory serves- is a bit vague on this. Too short and it doesn’t look the part, too long and it becomes really tricky.

    I don’t use something specific as a core, in a sense that it’s almost always a white cord/string that I bought some 7 years back. I know it’s good quality and it has thickness that I find convenient but apart from that I don’t know any further details. Oh, and it is natural and not synthetic.

    Are you kidding? Headbands are one of the secret joys of life! 🙂


    1. I just took her book to see how exactly it is explained there. Apparently my teacher taught us in a slightly different and easier way. Because Jane is very very vague. Maybe I’ll compare the two and write a short tutorial on it. The one thing that already makes it easier is to wrap the silk (or whatever you use) for a few millimeters at the end and the beginning. This to prevent showing of the primary headband.

      But how many ‘normal’ people know what they are? And how many of those people understand your enthusiasm when you’re in a museum and suddenly see a beautiful book with handsewn headbands on it? If I could, I’d just make headbands all day long.

      Btw, you have done some amazing work! Especially the tooling is beautiful (wish I could do that).


      1. “But how many ‘normal’ people know what they are? And how many … a beautiful book with handsewn headbands on it?”
        Short answer; None!

        I’m glad you like my work, you’re doing great yourself as well – your bindings look tidy and neat.
        As for the tooling you could certainly do it, it just takes practice!


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