To Net or Not to Net

This article is published in the December 2005 – January 2006 edition of the Citizen’s Companion.

I took down the PDF version of this article because the file size was clogging things up on the site. This is the plain text from the article. Pictures can be viewed here and here

As I looked into the ‘net’ of the mid-nineteenth century I found the net is not as simple as the little three letter word would suggest. I analyzed Carte-de-visite images, fashion articles, newspaper articles and journal accounts. The carte-de-vista and daguerreotype images include private and public online collections and personal collections. The online collections are cited below. Of the roughly three hundred images studied, one-sixth (40) pictured women or children who wore a type of net. Fashion articles analyzed are from Godey’s Lady’s Book 1859 to 1865, Peterson’s Magazine 1859 to 1864, and Harper’s Monthly 1860 thru 1865 .There were 57 mentions of a net or descriptions of a net type accessory in all. There were also 35 accompanying images in the fashion articles. All electronic newspaper articles come from Vicki Bett’s site and thus disproportionately represent Southern tendencies. Currently the only northern newspaper is Harpers Weekly years 1860 thru 1861.

In many fashion descriptions of coiffures descriptions and illustrations of nets appear. Coiffure is a word of French origin meaning the dressing of a woman’s hair while coiffeur is the hairdresser herself (The Compact Oxford English Dictionary.) A net appeared 13 times as part of the coiffure. This suggests the net is part of the hairdressing in at least these cases and not just a hair covering.

“The Clarissa coiffure. The hair is, rolled off the face in front, and the ends braided. The back hair is arranged in a large bow, very low on the neck, and covered with a net. The ornaments are peacock feathers.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, March, 1864)

Hair accessories in the form of a net are referred to in fashion articles as nets, caps and cowls. The word net seems to refer to either netted or woven hair coverings both functional and decorative. The term net appeared approximately 82 times in fashion articles and 15 times in newspaper articles. Harpers frequently called nets caps in its illustration descriptions. The following quote describes the cowl as a net made with bead-work. “The pretty fashion of inclosing the back hair in crocheted or square stitch nets is at its height, and every variety may be found. We give a new design: the cowl of close bead work, the border beads and long meshes of silk.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, September, 1859). According to the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, cowl is a Middle English word referring to a hood. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary details the word’s long history as being the outer garment of a monk for 10 centuries.

Fashion references to nets included their wear for day and evening-wear. In fashion descriptions and accompanying images nets were most frequently shown worn with day dress and street-dress followed by those worn with evening wear. The first tending to be simple silk or ribbon nets minimally embellished. The latter tending to be part of full headdresses as later described in “embellishments.” Nets were also described for wear with morning dressing robes including one “Bordered net for sleeping in” in Godey’s January, 1860. In CDV images, nets were worn with day dress primarily as most images were in such day dress. The most visible, easy to identify nets were ribbon nets. Fine silk nets were identifiable but I am sure I missed some. The nets in CDV images and in fashion images are worn behind the ear line over dressed hair that is braided, twisted, fastened, etc under the net. I have not seen an image of distinctively loose hair under the net. [see appendix regarding literature versus images and fashion.]

Types of Hair-nets

Nets can be divided into two basic forms – netted and woven. Netted nets were most frequently of fine netted silk thread in a color similar to one’s hair or in real hair. A wonderful example of a netted net worn by a girl seven or eight years old can be found at the George Eastman site. The c.1852 daguerreotype of Alice Mary Howes can be found at http://www.geh.org/taschen/htmlsrc1/m197401930823_ful.html#topofimage. Some of these fine nets were attached to a decorative ribbon that were positioned at the top of the woman’s head. Netting is a method of knotting the thread with the aid of netting needles and netting shuttles to produce square or diamond shapes either in rows or in the round (circular.) Netting a hair net is similar to the process of netting a hammock. Making a fine net is described:

“Cerise-colored floss and twisted silk, and satin ribbon of the same color. IT consists of a net made of two kinds of cerise-colored silk, the twisted, or the floss, or tapestry silk. If this last-mentioned silk cannot be procured of a sufficient degree of coarseness, it may be used double or even triple. Each row of the netting is to be worked alternately with the different silks— that is to say, one row with twisted, and the other with floss silk, and the rows are to be worked on meshes of different breadths. In working the net, it is best to use two netting-needles, to save the trouble of putting the silk on and off for the purpose of working the different rows. First throw on one hundred and eight stitches with twisted silk, and work alternately with the two different silks twenty-five rows. In working the twenty-sixth row, pass the needle through two meshes of the row above, and draw them together. By this means the number of meshes will be diminished by one-half. The next row (the twenty-seventh) is worked with floss silk, and without taking up two meshes. In the twenty-eighth row, like the twenty-sixth, two meshes are taken on the needle. In this alternate way two additional rows are to be worked. At the side at which the netting is east on, and also at both ends, work two additional rows, one with floss silk on the broad mesh. The netting being finished, the narrow side, viz., that contracted by taking up the double meshes, is drawn together anti fastened by a bow of cerise-colored satin ribbon, as shown in the back view of the Resilla. A few rows of the front edge of the netting are drawn down over the forehead in the style of a veil, and a band of cerise-colored satin ribbon is passed across the upper part of the head. This ribbon is drawn together in the middle and at each end by a loop, and the ends are left to flow as strings.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, September, 1860).

Netted nets of chenille were occasionally described in fashion articles. It is my understanding that chenille is a tufted silk cord considered expensive in the nineteenth century. Chenille appears to be used for needlework when perusing antiques listings. Godey’s included several sets of directions for chenille nets.

The second type of net was the woven net. In Fashion descriptions, woven nets were made of ribbon, velvet ribbon, braid or chenille. The descriptions range from very simple nets to elaborately decorated ones. Some of the woven nets appear loosely woven while others are fairly tight, concealing he hair beneath. Weaving strips of a single or multiple materials into a circle created woven nets. Using ribbon as an example, this can be done with either a single strip of ribbon or multiple cut pieces of ribbon. The weaving process created loops around the perimeter of the circle. These loops were caught up with a cord, ribbon or elastic that held the net around the dressed hair. Ribbon widths can be consistent or alternating. Woven nets were also attached to ribbons or a base worn at the top of the head. In this case, the ribbon, cord or elastic could gather just the sides and back while the top was secured to the coronet or base. In many cases these coronet bases seem to be quite large in comparison to the nets. Seeing this, I conjecture, while a simple net can be worn with a hat or bonnet, I do not see how the highly decorated nets could be worn comfortably with bonnets or hats. Such an example can be seen to the side. The large roses and ribbon would make wearing such a headdress with a bonnet or hat rather difficult. This adds to the questions of how, where and when to properly wear a net. I will attempt to find these answers later.

Materials and Colors

The most frequently mentioned materials for hair-nets included silk thread, chenille, silk ribbon, and velvet ribbon. In surveying the written descriptions in newspapers and fashion articles, the most popular color mentioned was black. Black nets were mentioned 10 times both as netted nets and woven nets. The next most popular colors were gold (7) and blue (6). Blue was described more frequently towards the end of the war. Other colors included straw, violet, brown, green, invisible, white, cerise and two just as “colored”. Looking at CDVs, most nets appear dark suggesting that the nets are in the black and golden shades. (remember the CDVs are based on blue light.) The few that appear lighter gray may be in the blue and blue green spectrums considering the fashion articles promoting the blue, green and violet colors.

Silk thread, along with hair were the most frequently used for the fine netted nets. Hair was more difficult to net then silk thread and had to be acquired. The most common colors for silk thread would have been the colors most closely matching the hair such as black, browns and creams. There were 19 instances in fashion articles where color was not mentioned. These instances most frequently referred to the fine silk netted nets. There were several references to gold nets that make me wonder if the net was made with gold thread.

Chenille was suggested for both netted and woven nets. Chenille was also a material used in needlework. Miss Lambert describes chenille as a costly material in her book Decorative Needlework: “With the exception of the precious metals, chenille is the most costly material used in needlework…. Chenille is more commonly made of silk; it has, however, been manufactured of wool, but as the process is equally expensive, there is very trifling difference in cost.” The high cost of chenille would effect the number of nets made and worn in the material. I suspect the number of fashion references to chenille over represents the actual number of chenille nets that were worn. [[[I am revisiting chenille hairnets after a recent online conversation regarding the use of chenille and reading a few passages in novels about chenille nets. I will be updating when I make further discoveries.]]]

For woven nets, ribbon in either silk or silk velvet were most popular. “a net for the hair, of double silk, with a braid of velvet ribbon around it, and large flat loops and ends to the right; a gold cord is looped with the velvet ribbon, and gold fringe, finishes the ornament.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, September, 1860.) Ribbon for woven nets were most frequently shown as blues, violets, blacks and greens in color fashion images. Woven ribbon nets appeared in CDVs as darker and lighter shades of the blue spectrum.

Embellishments

The embellishments of a net turn a simple net into dramatic headdresses at times. Embellishments included gold beads, silver beads, jet beads, pearls, ribbon, cord, tassels, fringe, flower blossoms, rosettes, lace and bows. Even this headdress described as simple seems ornate “An unusually simple and tasteful headdress for the evening; velvet ribbon, arranged as a net, covers the twist, and has two flowing ends with tassels to the right; to the left is placed a full blown rose, with foliage and drooping buds; a cordon of buds and foliage on a velvet bandeau, crosses the hair.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, September 1860.) This is a description of a woven net made with black velvet, jet beads and black ribbon. “Net formed of narrow black velvet, fastened with jet beads, and trimmed with loops of black ribbon worked with jet beads; a velvet bow with jet buckle finishes this wreath of loops in the centre. “(Godey’s Lady’s Book, April, 1861). Harpers even illustrates three caps/nets that appear to be primarily made of strung beads. The most unusual fashion suggestion I found was a “Chenille net for the hair, with a bunch of aquatic grasses, and thin blossoms in gold.” )Godey’s Lady’s Book, January, 1861). As you can see, the fashion suggestions were vast. But when looking at CDV images, the nets appear much simpler or in combination with a hat. Beads were frequently suggested for the mid-points where strips cross as well as on loops around the outside or hanging.

Who May Have Worn a Net

Fashion prescribes nets for day, evening and home wear fairly evenly but doesn’t provide us a complete picture of who actually wore nets with what dress. Carte-de-vista and daguerreotype images give us an idea of who wore nets and with what dress. In determining who wore nets, I considered the age, type of dress and possible social standing of the wearer. I should say I attempted to consider these factors. Age is a difficult factor to accurately determine.

While I have found no image of a woman in her home-dress, there were several descriptions of nets for home and morning wear. From the Southern Illustrated News:

“For Morning Wear, The nets which are generally worn are all trimmed with a bow at the top of the head.  This is said to be an improvement upon the elastic, which, when visible, was not a pretty object to contemplate; the informal bow now completely conceals the elastic.  The loops should run along the top and the ribbon should be the same color as the net, and not wide.” (November 21, 1863.)

Some fashion articles suggest nets be worn solely for home. This New York correspondent for the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph says “…Nets for the hair are now confined to home wear…” (December 20, 1860.) This correspondent conflicts the many other correspondents that describe the wearing of nets with day and evening dress. This suggests to me that certain types of nets were considered appropriate each type of dress.

The most common carte-de-vista and daguerreotype images are of women in day dress, thus most women wearing nets are in day dress. The woman on the right and the woman at the beginning of this article are both in day dress. Both appear to be wearing a ribbon, woven hair net. The lady on the right is likely in her late teens to early twenties in a fashionable outfit. Her image comes from rural Wyoming County in New York State. Her net is worn over neatly parted hair with minimal volume. The net has minimal height at top. I do not see a cornet that the net would be mounted to. The lower back sides of the net are embellished with either a wide ribbon or wide curtain. Additional back embellishments appear on her back right side. The woman at the beginning is likely between 20 and 35. I would suspect she is middle to upper middle class. Her image also comes from rural Wyoming County in New York State. We can not see her entire dress, but what we can see tells us she is in day dress with an outer garment. Her dress has a pearl neckline and scalloped white collar held with an asymmetrical broach. Her ears do not appear to be pierced. She wearing a hairnet made of woven ribbon. The ribbons are evident on her left side covering her hair. They lay flat without showing much of the hair through. An additional ribbon is seen at the top of her head. This ribbon may be decorative or functional. If this ribbon is decorative, the net is attached to the ribbon as though it was a false cornet. If this ribbon is functional, the ribbon is strung through the circumference of the net, tightened around the hair and tied at the top of the head. The dark shade in the image suggests the net is either in the black or could be in the orange family.

Evening Dress:
I did not find any carte-de-vista or daguerreotype images of ladies in evening dress wearing hair nets. That is not to say there aren’t any. Many of the fashion descriptions and images present nets appropriate for wear with evening or ball dress.

“An unusually simple and tasteful headdress for the evening; velvet ribbon, arranged as a net, covers the twist, and has two flowing ends with tassels to the right; to the left is placed a full blown rose, with foliage and drooping buds; a cordon of buds and foliage on a velvet bandeau, crosses the hair.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, September, 1860)

“The Clarissa coiffure. The hair is, rolled off the face in front, and the ends braided. The back hair is arranged in a large bow, very low on the neck, and covered with a net. The ornaments are peacock feathers.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, March, 1864)

“Rich coiffure, made of a gold net, with a torsade of black velvet, and trimmed with bunches of gold leaves.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, April, 1863)

” The Coralio Headdress.— This headdress is formed of a torsade of cerise velvet and a point lace barbe, with a large bow on the forehead, and white plumes on the right side.

“….The Eulalio.— Net composed of gold card caught with black velvet and gold buttons. Three white plumes are on the left side. Over the head is a roll of black velvet, which is finished on the right side by a large bow with ends trimmed with gold and lace.” (Godey’s Lady’s Book, January, 1863)

Age, Young and Old:
Images show both children and mature women wearing nets. A mature woman wearing a hairnet can be found at http://www.geocities.com/homespunlhg/woman_5b.html. This lady’s net appears to be of wide woven ribbon. The ribbon is between 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide woven as to not leave space between the ribbon. The net is held on by either a ribbon, cord or elastic inside the ribbon. The ribbon at the nape of the neck could be decorative or functional. I lean towards decorative because the width of the ribbon would add bulk to the perimeter of the net, thus it would be seen at the crown of the head.

The Eastman House image, mentioned above, shows a girl wearing a fine netted net. Accessible Archives has at least two fashion illustrations of children wearing nets. This correspondent from the Charleston Mercury describes a net for teen girls:

“The nets for the hair, with the little tassels at the side, are very graceful and becoming for the same class of girls.  To those just coming out, and indeed to all who have a youthful look, they add a charm of lightness and airiness such as we have seldom seen given by any head dress.  Grace, with the hat and feather and net, may be the rule and not the exception.” ( July 28, 1860, p. 4, c. 4)

The Cost Factor:
Nets could have been purchased or the materials to make a net could have been purchased. The cost of the finished net or the materials effected who could have worn a net. TC Redding advertises “hair nets–commencing at 25 cents” in the January 3, 1861 NATCHEZ DAILY COURIER.  This is roughly the same price for a pound of sugar or a yard of calico pre-war.

Miss Lambert describes chenille, the material suggested for several fashionable nets, as costly. “Chenille. With the exception of the precious metals, chenille is the most costly material used in needlework. It derives its name from the close resemblance it bears to some species of the catepillar…. Chenille is more commonly made of silk; it has, however, been manufactured of wool, but as the process is equally expensive, there is very trifling difference in cost.” (Decorative Needlework 1846) 

Appendix

Fashion Text Excerpts From Godey’s Ladies’ Book

Via Accessible Archives

(you need to subscribe to Accessible Archives to view images)

October, 1865
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXXI Page 368
The hair is dressed with a coronet plait in front, and the back hair is caught into a net formed of bands of blue velvet. (with image)
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000081/00008150.htm

October, 1865
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXXI Page 369
The net is of blue chenille. (Child) (with image)
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000081/00008151.htm

June, 1865
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXX Page 563
The coiffure consists of a black silk net, ornamented with large rose-colored beads and a coronet formed of rose-colored velvet.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000078/00007877.htm

April, 1865
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXX Page 383
The hair is rolled from the face and caught in a net formed of heavy green chenille.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000077/00007742.htm

February, 1865
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXX Page 197
Fig. .2.— Morning coiffure, consisting of net with silk diadem. The quilling which forms the diadem and the point at the back are of blue silk, and the net is made of very fine braid of the same color. About three-quarters of a yard of blue silk are required, and two pieces of blue silk braid, for this headdress. The netting is done on a mesh one inch wide. Cast on 16 stitches, work 17 rows backwards and forwards, then work 7 or 8 rows round this square piece. Run a piece of silk elastic, 6 inches long, into rather more than half the net, and fasten each end with a few stitches; the remainder of the stitches should be gathered in and sewn on to a strip of stiff black net, doubled, 10 inches long and three-quarters of an inch wide. Do not forget, in sewing on the netting, to arrange the rows in a slanting direction. The handkerchief corner-shaped piece of blue silk, which should be trimmed with a light blue fringe, should be sewn on to the strip of net, and the net finished with three quillings of blue ribbon, the centre one being placed at the top only, and the others round the strip of black net.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000076/00007610.htm

November, 1864
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXIX Page 451
The hair is waved in front, and arranged in a net at the back. Black felt hat, trimmed with green velvet ribbon, and a bouquet placed directly in front.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000074/00007424.htm

March, 1864
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXVIII Page 288
Fig. 5.— The Clarissa coiffure. The hair is, rolled off the face in front, and the ends braided. The back hair is arranged in a large bow, very low on the neck, and covered with a net. The ornaments are peacock feathers.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000068/00006853.htm

April, 1863
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXVI Page 384
Fig. 4.- Rich coiffure, made of a gold net, with a torsade of black velvet, and trimmed with bunches of gold leaves.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000060/00006054.htm

April, 1863
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXVI Page 407
Fig. 1.— Breakfast-cap made of French muslin, and trimmed with violet ribbons.
Fig. 2.— This cap is arranged in the form of a net, trimmed all round with a double row of blonde, and two ribbon streamers behind. Three roses make a pretty bandeau to the front of the cap. Black or white net may be used for the purpose, and whatever colored ribbon best suits the complexion of the wearer.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000060/00006092.htm

March, 1863
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXVI Page 289
Fig. 2.- Coiffure composed of a gold net and a roll of lobella blue velvet, twined with a gold cord and tassel.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000059/00005990.htm

January, 1863
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXVI Page 104
Fig. 1. The Coralio Headdress.— This headdress is formed of a torsade of cerise velvet and a point lace barbe, with a large bow on the forehead, and white plumes on the right side.
Fig. 2. The Eulalio.— Net composed of gold card caught with black velvet and gold buttons. Three white plumes are on the left side. Over the head is a roll of black velvet, which is finished on the right side by a large bow with ends trimmed with gold and lace.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000058/00005885.htm

October, 1862
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXV Page 389
BLACK VELVET NET,
ORNAMENTED WITH ROSETTES AND PEARL BEADS.
THE materials required for one net are: two pieces of very narrow black velvet, two rows of small-sized imitation pearl beads, seven pearl stars (or ornamental buttons might be used). Seven rosettes with pearl centres ornament the front, which should be mounted on a piece of pointed wire, the net being fastened to this wire. A small piece of elastic should be run in behind, fastened on each side to the end of the wire. Should our readers not care about purchasing the ready-made stars, by exercising a little ingenuity they may easily arrange a few beads in the form of a star for the centre of the rosettes.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000056/00005612.htm

November, 1862
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXV Page 487
Figs. 8 and 9.— Blue velvet net with coronet, showing the back and front. Materials required for one net are: One piece of narrow blue velvet, one bunch of gold beads, No. 9; blue velvet coronet and plait, gold cord and tassels. Although we have called this headdress a net, it is not netted, but consists merely of rows of velvet crossed to form squares, fastened together with four gold beads. Any lady may, with very little trouble, arrange one of these stylish headdresses, which, when purchased ready made, are rather expensive. A piece of paper must, first of all, be cut the size the net is required to be, and the velvet laid over it in rows, securing to the paper every row of velvet at each end; these rows of velvet are again crossed with more velvet, which should be fastened to the paper in tile same manner. The velvet should not be cut at the end of every row, but should be left in loops for the elastic. It will now be very easy to catch the velvet together where it crosses, at the same time putting on four gold beads. The net is mounted on a velvet coronet, ornamented with a scroll of gold cord, a plait of blue velvet, and cords and tassels; and to make it fit comfortably to the head, a piece of elastic should be run in behind from the extremity of the coronet on each side. Fig. 4.— Headdress, formed of a gold net and scarlet and gold rosettes, with scarlet velvet bow and ends.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000056/00005691.htm

June, 1862
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXIV Page 594
HEADDRESSES.
Fig. 1. Crochet Headdress.— This pretty little coiffure is suitable for morning wear, and is extremely easy to make. It is composed of purse silk, and trimmed with a coronet of bows and ends of black velvet. The back is made in the following manner:—
Make a chain of 60 stitches, and work a square of treble crochet, putting 2 chain between each treble. Then, for the top of the headdress, crochet on two sides of the square, 7 chain, and loop into every other treble. Repeat this for five rows, and mount this portion of the net on a pointed, wire. Ornament it with bows and ends of velvet, tastefully arranged, and finish off the back by lengths of silk looped in to form a fringe. About eight lengths of silk are required for one loop of fringe. This might be converted into an evening headdress by making the foundation in some bright-colored silk, or gold twist, and ornamenting the front with small white ostrich feathers.
Fig. 2.— The Valois Headdress.— This consists of thick black velvet plaits, which are fastened at the back of the head, and the coronet is formed of standing loops of cherry velvet and black lace.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000053/00005322.htm

March, 1862
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXIV Page 311
The cap is a cawl, or net, formed of good lace, with knots of mauve ribbon.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000051/00005134.htm

June, 1861
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXII Page 484
Blue chenille net, trimmed with ribbon.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000044/00004412.htm

April, 1861
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXII Page 383
HEADDRESSES. (See engravings, page 293.)
Fig. 1.— Coiffure of pieces of black velvet, trimmed with either black or white lace, and formed into a wreath, caught in front and at the back by pendants of black and gold bugles.
Fig. 2.— Net formed of narrow black velvet, fastened with jet beads, and trimmed with loops of black ribbon worked with jet beads; a velvet bow with jet buckle finishes this wreath of loops in the centre.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000043/00004321.htm

March, 1861
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXII Page 286
The headdress is a net of Marguerite chenille, with two large tassels at the side.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000042/00004236.htm

February, 1861
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXII Page 191
Hair dressed low, with a black and gold net.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000041/00004156.htm

January, 1861
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXII Page 62
Fig. 5.— Cordon and flat bows for the hair, of black velvet and gold-colored ribbon. It is a good and becoming headdress. [possibly a net]
Figs. 7 and 8.— Black velvet net for the hair, with four heavy tassels in gold.
Fig. 9.— Chenille net for the hair, with a bunch of aquatic grasses, and thin blossoms in gold.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000040/00004041.htm

September, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXI Page 253
Fig. 4 is a net for the hair, of double silk, with a braid of velvet ribbon around it, and large flat loops and ends to the right; a gold cord is looped with the velvet ribbon, and gold fringe, finishes the ornament.
Fig. 5.— An unusually simple and tasteful headdress for the evening; velvet ribbon, arranged as a net, covers the twist, and has two flowing ends with tassels to the right; to the left is placed a full blown rose, with foliage and drooping buds; a cordon of buds and foliage on a velvet bandeau, crosses the hair.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000037/00003744.htm

September, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXI Page 255
THE RESILLA.
Materials.— Cerise-colored floss and twisted silk, and satin ribbon of the same color.
IT consists of a net made of two kinds of cerise-colored silk, the twisted, or the floss, or tapestry silk. If this last-mentioned silk cannot be procured of a sufficient degree of coarseness, it may be used double or even triple. Each row of the netting is to be worked alternately with the different silks— that is to say, one row with twisted, and the other with floss silk, and the rows are to be worked on meshes of different breadths. In working the net, it is best to use two netting-needles, to save the trouble of putting the silk on and off for the purpose of working the different rows. First throw on one hundred and eight stitches with twisted silk, and work alternately with the two different silks twenty-five rows. In working the twenty-sixth row, pass the needle through two meshes of the row above, and draw them together. By this means the number of meshes will be diminished by one-half. The next row (the twenty-seventh) is worked with floss silk, and without taking up two meshes. In the twenty-eighth row, like the twenty-sixth, two meshes are taken on the needle. In this alternate way two additional rows are to be worked. At the side at which the netting is east on, and also at both ends, work two additional rows, one with floss silk on the broad mesh.
The netting being finished, the narrow side, viz., that contracted by taking up the double meshes, is drawn together anti fastened by a bow of cerise-colored satin ribbon, as shown in the back view of the Resilla. A few rows of the front edge of the netting are drawn down over the forehead in the style of a veil, and a band of cerise-colored satin ribbon is passed across the upper part of the head. This ribbon is drawn together in the middle and at each end by a loop, and the ends are left to flow as strings.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000037/00003746.htm

September, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LXI Page 287
The headdress is a violet chenille net, finished with a thick plait of black velvet, which comes quite far over the head.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000037/00003799.htm

April, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LX Page 383
Net for the hair, tied to the right with a knot of black velvet ribbon.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000034/00003421.htm

March, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LX Page 287
A net of chenille confines the hair, drawn to the head by a large silk cord running through the meshes, finished by tassels which are tied over the right ear.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000033/00003337.htm

April, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LX Page 355
A CHENILLE NET FOR THE HAIR.
Materials.— One skein of colored or brown silk chenille, such as is sold for making hair nets; a flat mesh, one inch in width; and a small wooden, or large steel, netting-needle.
NET six loops on a foundation; then net twelve rows; these will count six diamonds. Cut the netting from the foundation, but not cut off the chenille. Tie a loop of cotton into the centre of the square of chenille; then net round the square six rows, or three diamonds, or more, if required.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000033/00003374.htm

March, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LX Page 262
FANCY HEADDRESS.
THIS net is made of chenille, silk, or braid. A plait of velvet is placed round it, and at the side is a velvet bow.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000032/00003299.htm

January, 1860
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LX Page 71
A BORDERED NET FOR SLEEPING IN.
Materials.— Nos. 16 and 20 cotton; two meshes— one flat that will measure in width three-eighths of an inch, and a round mesh that will measure the same in a piece of string put round it.
LARGEST mesh, 16 cotton; net on a foundation of 16 stitches, 32 rows or 16 diamonds counted perpendicularly; cut the foundation away, do not cut off the end of cotton; tie a piece of string in the centre of this square of netting; now net all round the square, being careful not to net two stitches into any corner loop; net twelve rounds or 6 diamonds; do not fasten off.
FOR THE BORDER.— With 20 cotton and large mesh, net three loops in every stitch.
Small mesh, 3 rows.
Small mesh, 6 stitches in each alternate loop.
Small mesh, 2 rows.
Small mesh, net 5 stitches, miss the connecting loop between the two groups of stitches, net 5, miss the loop again; repeat.
Next row.— Net 4. stitches, miss the loop over the same loop as in last row, and repeat.
Next row.— Net 3, miss the loop as before.
Last row.— Net 2, miss the loop as before; there will now be one diamond over each group of
stitches. http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000031/00003139.htm

November, 1859
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LIX Page 451
SILK NET FOR THE HAIR.
Materials.— Chenille, silk braid, and plain twist are all used for this purpose. Beads can be added if desired; but the net looks in better taste without. The net from which the engraving is taken is made of chenille. A flat mesh, half an inch in width; a steel netting needle, a quarter of a yard in length; or, if a finer diamond is wished, take a mesh a full quarter of an Inch In width, and begin on a foundation of sixteen stitches.
NET eight loops on a foundation; then net sixteen rows. These will count perpendicularly eight diamonds. Cut the netting from the foundation, but not cut off the cotton; pick out the knots; tie a loop of cotton into the centre of the square, by which to pin it to the table; now net round this square eight rows or four diamonds, counted perpendicularly; the net is then complete, unless it is desired to be larger. Now run in and tie the elastic; then slightly damp it, place it over a pie plate, draw the elastic tight, and hold it before the fire to raise the pile of the chenille; when made with plain twist or braid, it is not needed to hold it before the fire.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000030/00003004.htm

December, 1859
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LIX Page 547
HAIR-NET IN CENILLE AND BEADS. THESE hair-nets are made in many varieties of materials: beads, gold and silver thread, coarse netting-silk, and many in a chenille, manufactured for ornamental purposes, which has a slight wire inserted in its centre, which enables it to retain any form required. We have given in our illustration a centre formed of chenille and beads. Our space not permitting us to give it the full size, it is merely necessary to enlarge it by repeating the outer rows until it is sufficiently expanded. The beads used must be large enough to allow the chenille to pass through them. It is formed by linking the chenille through and through, leaving the loops of the length required to form the pattern given. The ornamental centre is formed separately, the outer part being worked round it until it is the right size. When completed, an elastic is threaded through the last row of loops which confines it round the head, and incloses the back hair when dressed low down at the back of the neck.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000030/00003073.htm

September, 1859
Godey’s Lady’s Book
Vol LIX Page 287
BEAD NET FOR THE HAIR.
(See engraving, page 204.)
THE pretty fashion of inclosing the back hair in crocheted or square stitch nets is at its height, and every variety may be found. We give a new design: the cowl of close bead work, the border beads and long meshes of silk.
http://www.accessible.com/accessible/text/godeysiii/00000029/00002910.htm

Bibliography

American Heritage Dictionary of English Language. New York: Houghton Mifflin 2004.

Bellville Countryman [Texas], August 16, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/bellville.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Charleston Mercury, July 10, 1960. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt1.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Charleston Mercury, July 28, 1860. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt1.htm (accessed December, 2004).

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Charleston Mercury, March 9, 1861. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt1.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Charleston Mercury, October 4, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865.http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt2.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Charleston Mercury, October 20, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt2.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Charleston Mercury, December 14, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/charleston_mercury_pt2.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Chaucy, Jeanie. Sense and Sensibility [Carte-de-visite collection} http://www.sensibility.com

Chicago Times, August 18, 1862. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/chicago_times.htm (accessed December, 2004).

A Confederate Lady’s Den. [Carte-de-visite collection]. http://webpages.charter.net/squirldog/CDVpage1.htm

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1991.

Daily Picayune [New Orleans], February 26, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/new_orleans_picayune_64-65.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Daily Picayune [New Orleans], March 27, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/new_orleans_picayune_64-65.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Daily Picayune [New Orleans], April 17, 1864. Newspaper Research, 1860-1865. http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/new_orleans_picayune_64-65.htm (accessed December, 2004).

Gernsheim, Alison. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey. New York: Dover, 1981.

Godey’s Lady’s Book. Volume __ Issue __ to Volume __Issue __ Courtesy of Accessible Archives, http://www.accessible.com

“Fashions For …” Harper’s Monthly. Volume __ Issue__ to Volume __ Issue __. December 1850 to December 1865. Courtesy of Cornell University Library, Making of America Digital Collection,

Harper’s Weekly. January 1860 to December 1861. Personal collection.

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The Jones Victorian Photograph Album. The Collections of Roger Vaughan. [Carte-de-visite collection]. http://www.users.waitrose.com/~victorian/jones/album2.htm

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Published on May 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] it to Elizabeth Clark. She addressed something I’ve avoided like the plague ever since the “To Net, or Not to Net” article…. the word “snood” actually existing in the 19th century. Check out her […]

  2. […] have become one of the popular spring time discussions (they usually are), I would like to bring up To Net or Not To Net from the depths of the blog. This was my first indepth research topic from 2005/6. The article […]

  3. […] hairnet if desired.  Dissertations could be (and have been) written on 1860s hair nets.  Here’s the brief summary of the relevant facts for day wear […]

  4. […] be sure to take the time to read To Net or Not to Net and to look at original hairnets before proceeding. This will give you a […]


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