This is the webpage of a group whose aim is to improve the kit and clothes of a UK seventeenth century Civil War reenactment group, using the most up to date references and research. Feel free to comment on any of the subjects raised here and return often as I want to keep the discussion lively and ongoing.

Please look at the extra tabs on the right hand side. The newbie section is the place for basic kit if you're just beginning to reenact the 1640s. Haberdashery has lots of detail about colours, buttons, tapes etc.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Soldier's Costume Guide

Part two of my basic guide for those of us new to 1640s clothes, this time, the soldiers, from inside out:

Part Two: Men*

The basic undergarment for all men is the SHIRT. It is a T-shaped, knee length garment made of unbleached linen, with a lot of fabric in the body and sleeves, gathered into cuffs for the sleeves and into a neckband for the body. Square pieces of fabric are folded into triangles and inserted under the sleeves to form gussets. White cloth was the prerogative of richer men and dyed fabric far too expensive to waste on shirts. A soldier’s shirt can be of a coarser weave than an officer’s, but they are all basically the same shape.  A shirt is cut high to the neck with an upstanding neckband about 2-3cm high. The neck opening should be long enough for the shirt to go over your head and is tied at the top with a single tie or bandstring.

A COLLAR or FALLING BAND is worn with shirts, not part of the shirt, but a separate item.  In this period it is a rectangle of linen, long enough to go around the neck of the wearer and varies from a hands width to about 20cm deep. The top long edge is gathered into sewn darts, matching the length to your neck measurement and shaping the band. A second rectangle forms the neckband.  One edge is turned over and sewn to the underside of the collar’s top edge. Bandstrings are sewn to the ends. The collar’s band sits inside the shirt’s neckband; the collar itself lies outside any jacket. Both shirt and collar are fastened with ties or laces. For common soldiers a tied length of linen tucked into the coat’s standing collar can also be worn

Over the shirt a DOUBLET, or SOLDIER’S COAT is worn. The coats were made for regiments to common patterns in quantity, so their fit was not exact. As far as is known, they were made of wool. The simplest style is a loose-fitting garment with body and tabs cut in one piece and with seams sewn only from neck to lower rib-height. Overall length of doublets is to the hip, not the thighs like jackets worn today. The upper body section may end above the modern waistline.

Soldier’s coats were lined or unlined, depending on how much money a Colonel was prepared to spend, but doublets were generally higher quality items and would be lined and tailored to fit and time was taken to finish them properly. Sleeves are close fitting, sometimes with turned-back cuffs and wings over the sleeve tops. Collars are high, stiffened with layers of canvas or pasteboard. For high-waisted styles, you need matching breeches that are longer in the crotch. Coats are fastened down the front with several closely spaced buttons, a dozen at least on a soldier’s coat, more for a doublet. They should be shaped like a ball and shanked but can be made of cloth, pewter or wooden beads wrapped with thread. Cloth buttons are more comfortable on a soldier’s coat if you are going to wear armour over the top.

 BREECHES are made from wool cloth, using a limited colour range; what were known as sadd colours: brown, grey, dull green etc., unless you are in a regiment where the colonel paid for breeches in his chosen colour. Style depended on class and geography, unless issued by the regiment. Soldiers from country areas far from the cities, London or Oxford perhaps, wore an old-fashioned shape, full and baggy, button flies and fastened below the knee with ties, or buttons. This earlier style of breeches was often held up by hooks on the waistband that located in eyes on the matching doublet’s inner lining. In fact it can be argued that one of the main reasons for wearing a doublet was to keep your breeches up, although during the war many of these kinds of nicety were quickly forgotten.
A more modern style, worn by townsmen and possibly copied for regimentally supplied breeches, has narrower legs, but is still quite saggy. The legs can be buttoned or left unfastened (unconfined) and possibly tapered in below the knee. Both styles may have pockets in the side seams at the hip. Surviving pockets from the period are simple leather bags, though linen works just as well.

HOSE are worn to just around the knee. A contemporary pattern describes a knee high stocking, turned down over a tied garter. You can buy or (get someone to) knit your own woollen hose. A good modern substitute is plain woollen tights or unribbed knitted stockings in any of the drab colours mentioned in the introduction. Shaped linen or cloth hose are also worn. Hose should be held up by GARTERS, either strips of cloth, or knitted.

Low-heeled LATCHET SHOES were worn by most common people and issued to soldiers in the wars, although mounted officers and cavalry troopers wear boots. A closed shoe or ankle-boot referred to as a STARTUP can also be worn as a more protective alternative. No clear evidence has been shown for their issue by armies in Britain during this period, though they were common for rural folk so they can’t be ruled out for soldiers.

Men of all ages kept their heads covered almost all the time. HATS or CAPS were doffed when you met anyone of higher social status or rank or were being polite. For the battlefield, headgear is determined by your fighting role. Pikemen wear morion helmets and musketeers a hat, cap or bonnet. The simplest is the MONMOUTH CAP, a style of knitted woollen cap, heavily felted. It may have been a fairly high conical shape with or without a brim round the edge. 

Knitted and felted BLUE BONNETS are similarly made, but are mainly a Scottish item and should only be worn by Scots units and some northern regiments. 

A MONTERO is a round peaked cap made of segments of woollen cloth with a skirt running around the edge that can either fold down for protection in bad weather or up for a stylish peak. 

Broad-brimmed HATS are also worn, either made from blocked and felted wool/fur or leather.

To summarise, a soldier’s basic costume, regardless of the fighting arm chosen or the Army that you join, consists of a SHIRT, a pair of BREECHES, a COAT (or DOUBLET), HOSE, SHOES and a HAT. The coat or jacket will be of a colour and cut chosen by the colonel who raised the original Civil War regiment. Sometimes, this applies also to breeches and, occasionally hats. Your regiment will provide relevant details. Shoes, hose and hats can be bought from traders. Some soldiers carry sausage shaped SNAPSACKS, worn across the back from shoulder to hip with a strap diagonally across the chest. CLOAKS or a length of ragged wool or leather for use as a CAPE in the rain may be worn. 

*Men can be taken to mean men or women dressed as men. This is an equal opportunities blog!

Photos courtesy of John Beardsworth, Rusty Aldwinckle and Alan Mackinnon

Friday, 9 December 2011

Early Doublet in The Museum of London

Recently I've been visiting the costume department in the Museum of London and have been lucky enough to look closely at a doublet in their collection. It's a bit earlier than our period, but most of the construction techniques in the garment were still being used in the 1640s. Also, because the doublet is in such bad repair, a lot of the internal "workings" are visible which make this such an interesting study. I'm afraid some of this is a bit dry, but I'm reproducing my full report here with a lot of close up shots that you may find interesting.

Thanks to Hilary Davidson at the Museum for help, advice and permission to use the photos.

Anyway, here's the report:

Catalogue entry:

A7577. 1601-1626; Silk; L  515mm; W (shoulders) 510mm; L (sleeve at
back) 660mm. Doublet, black silk cut velvet, time of Shakespeare, worn
by a member of the Isham family (and father of wearer of A7576).
Hooks on the inside waistband date it to the early C17 as before then
eyelets were used to attach points of the hose.
[see also 33.182]


The doublet was worn by a member of the Isham (pron. eye-sham) family, a prominent Northamptonshire family. John Isham (1582-1651) was made 1st Baronet Lamport in 1627 and was succeeded by his son Justinian (1610-1675). Either could have been the wearer of this doublet, which is well made of expensive materials, at least those on show on the outside of the garment and of the fashion current for 1625-30. The style is very similar (although without the braid) to that worn by William Herbert 3rd Earl of Pembroke in an undated portrait by Daniel Mytens (Herbert died 1630) and quite similar to the doublet worn by King Charles in his Mytens portrait of 1629. Although Charles’ doublet has slashed sleeves and 2 visible front slashes on the body, which this garment doesn’t have, the waist is of a similar position to this doublet and the tabs of a comparable size. After this time, the waist moved up the body and the tabs became larger. Charles’ also has ribbon bows and points around the waist in the position indicated by the eyelet holes on the front tabs of this doublet.
Stylistically the doublet is also closely related to the Cotton Doublet in the V&A which is dated c1618, although the V&A example has no metal eyelets, these could have been added to the doublet at a later date. I feel that this garment in style and construction is probably most likely to have been made at the latter end of the date given in the catalogue entry.


The doublet is much degraded but as such shows a wealth of constructional detail that would otherwise be hidden in a finished garment. The body seems to be made of a black silk outer layer, covering a darkish brown melton wool twill fabric (1:1 or 2:1 weave). 
 Much of the black silk has now gone, the remainder is held in several places by some crude over-sewing (couching) in a brown thread. Where the silk is best preserved, on the lower back for instance and the sleeve, a fine pattern of leaves and scrolls is visible.
 This is over a coarse linen interlining which is tacked to the wool using large running stitches in undyed linen thread. Inside the interlining is a layer of possibly wool shoddy/carded wool fleece padding which is covered and quilted by what was originally pink silk taffeta. Some of the pink thread used in the quilting is visible through the threadbare patches and where the collar is detatched from the body.

The collar appears to be made of four layers of thick canvas, one piece folded and sandwiched between two others (as 2 edges and a fold are visible), basted together with undyed linen thread, covered with the same black silk as the body and lined with crimson silk. The lining is still present, though the black silk has almost completely disappeared from the top layer of the collar. There would appear to have been no wool beneath the silk on the collar. There are 3 buttons (see below) on the left hand side of the collar. These would have located into 3 thread worked loops on the right.
The front of the doublet is closed with buttons and buttonholes. 34 worked buttonholes run down the left side to match the buttons on the right. The buttonholes are worked in black thread on the edge of the doublet with a bar on the inner edge and appear to be on a flap formed above the quilted inner. This makes it easier to do up the buttons whilst ensuring the quilting meets in the middle and easier to work the holes with thread. The buttons appear to be thread wrapped with black thread and then partially covered with silver gilt thread in a basket weave pattern.

 Some of the buttons appear to be later reproductions. The sequence of buttons is as follows, from the top down, O represents originals, R replacements and G stands for a gap:

Two small flaps, possibly in linen lining canvas, covered with the pink silk are attached inside the lining, low down, level with the highest point of the waistband. They each have a single worked eyelet hole and if tied with a lace before buttoning, would take the tension caused by a larger waistline, which might cause the lower buttons to pop open.

The top of the armhole sleeves are capped with wings, though they are slashed in several places, or maybe made from several smaller finished tabs, edged with silver gilt braid, the lines of braid running away from the seam. The sleeves are of a 2-piece construction and are open at the lower seam to a length of six inches, fastened with 9 buttons and buttonholes. The internal workings of the sleeve buttonholes are not as neat as the visible stitches.

At the lower edge of the garment are a number of square, or nearly square (10-11?) tabs. These run all the way around the waist and are constructed of a different kind of brown wool cloth to the body of the doublet. This is a thick felted fabric with no discernable weave and at least two slightly different browns can be seen on separate tabs, suggesting that this fabric was not selected for the doublet but taken from off cuts (cabbage) of previous tailoring jobs, possibly common coats for lower class customers. The tabs were wrapped in the covering silk, although only on the front, as an edge of about 1cm is visible on the reverse side, tacked down with large running stitches. 

There are scraps of what appear to be a similar silk to that of the lining which indicate that the tabs were originally faced on the inside with silk and beneath that a strip of linen, presumably from the interlining protrudes down about an inch from the waistline. Through the first 2 tabs from the front at least there are worked eyelet holes, 3 on the first tab and beginning from the second tab on each side a strip of silk taffeta, covering a stiffer material, perhaps the same canvas as the collar, with metal eyelets attached runs around the inside of the waistline.This is to attach the doublet to matching hooks on the waist of a pair of breeches. These eyelets where visible are spaced every 2 or 3 inches. The waistline has no loops for a belt which was often the case if a sword was worn with a doublet.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

What To Wear in The English Civil Wars (Part One)

My first attempt at a basic guide for new members. Let me know what you think. Part two is written, but I need pictures. Watch this space....


This pictorial guide is intended to show you the easiest way to look good in basic seventeenth century kit. It’s not a comprehensive description of all the clothes worn in 1640s. It can’t be. There is no such thing. There are so few remaining examples of clothes from this period and so little pictorial evidence to show what was worn by the soldiers and those women who chose to follow an army in the England of the 1640s that most conclusions can only be best guesses. However if you use these guidelines you will end up with a basic set of kit that is as far as we can tell accurate in the fashion of the times, method of construction and use of fabric. It will help you to look more like someone who has just stepped out of the past than a person in fancy dress.

In the 1640s, the two fabrics mostly used for common clothes were woven wool, which was felted with a fuzzy nap on the surface and unbleached, natural coloured linen. Both fabrics are, at the time of writing available from suppliers so there should be no excuse for making or buying garments made from anything else. These natural fabrics are practical and hardwearing and will give you clothes that will last for years if you look after them. There were no detergents to wash clothes, and woollen garments were generally not washed at all but brushed occasionally to remove surface dirt. Most clothes would end up with a patina of ingrained dirt from campaigning, though it’s reasonable to assume that linens would be washed on a regular basis. Just make sure you don’t end up with the modern “whiter than white, neatly pressed” look.

The range of colours available was quite broad, but the less well off (actually the best part of a seventeenth century army was less than affluent) made use of very few of them.  Their clothes were also often so old and reused that they had faded to dull grey or brown or had been re-dyed several times.  For the armies, the regimental colonels chose their soldiers’ coat colours, based on personal preference and whatever was available locally. You can find out from your commander or regimental goodwife which colour is correct for your coat and breeches. The following colours are suitable for general purpose: grey, brown terracotta/brick/russet reds, grey-blue or dark dull blues, dull shades of green, mustard yellow/ochre, heathery shades of purple, cream/undyed (remember it will get dirty and never come fully clean).
Bright colours, plus black and white, are generally excluded for the lower classes as clear dye-shades cost more. Home-dyed cloth was muddier in tone and less colourfast than bought fabric.  The most expensive colours were purple, royal blue, scarlet and black. Almost-black cloth was cheaper, but turned brownish in sunlight. It is better to avoid black altogether. Modern white cloth is too bright, due to the chemical bleaches used, so cream looks closer to 17th Century bleached wool and linen.

Details and accessories are also important to create the overall look. Make sure any buttons conform to the 1640s style, small, round ball shaped buttons with a single shank or stalk to attach to the garment were worn, either metal, cloth or wooden beads wrapped with thread. Don’t choose wide belts with massive buckles. Seventeenth century belts were no wider than 3cm perhaps and the buckles were of a matching size. Belts were worn over the coat/doublet to hold a bag, not to keep your breeches up.
Try and feel comfortable in your chosen clothes and act like a seventeenth century person would, always wear your hat, keep the top buttons fastened, don’t go out in your shift. Wearing just a shirt was just acceptable for a labourer working in the sun, but probably little else! Be proud of your clothes, they will provide you with protection and warmth. Don’t leave them to go ragged, patch them up when they tear, keep the linen clean and the wool brushed when it gets muddy.
If in doubt on any of these points, ask your commanding officer or goodwife for advice. It’s better to ask than buy the wrong kit and waste your money on something that is wrong.

Part One: Women

The universal undergarment is the SHIFT or SMOCK, a long-sleeved T-shaped garment of unbleached linen reaching to mid-calf.  It is either cut loosely or has triangles known as gores added at the sides. Contemporary Dutch pictures show poorer women with high necklines, sometimes left unfastened whilst working. We can probably assume this fashion was popular here too.  Tapes, attached to the neckband, were used to fasten the neckline whilst tapes, small buttons or thread toggles can be used to fasten cuffs. There is no evidence for drawstrings around the neck in this period. Any gathering would have been permanent and sewn to a neckband. Smocks were also used as nightgowns. This one made by Peggy's Necessities. Other traders are available.
Over the smock you wear a SKIRT or PETTICOAT, made of wool or linen. If your cloth is thick, full and heavy enough, you can wear a single petticoat, though often more than one was worn, especially in winter. The length should be about a hand’s breadth above your ankle.  Most women wore relatively short ones to keep hemlines well out of the muck.
The fabric of the petticoat should be gathered with cartridge pleats into a waistband. This will provide more than enough fullness for a seventeenth century shape as long as the wool used is thick enough. The petticoat can be fastened either by a plain round metal or cloth shanked button, a large hook-and-eye or laces (through lace-holes or fixed at either end of the waistband).  The bottom edge should really be hemmed for most roles ragged edges indicate abject poverty. Lots of images show lines of ribbon or braid decoration around the edges as a protection against wear. The choice is yours.
A second petticoat (if you want one) is made identically to the first, though make sure that the top one is of reasonably thick or coarse wool or linen. If you want to lift or tuck this up, you must wear another petticoat underneath to avoid displaying your smock (that would be like going out with your skirt tucked into your knickers).

Over the shift you wear STAYS, sometimes called a A PAIR OF BODIES, what we now know as a CORSET Your costume will not fit properly without them, unless your bodice is fully boned. Contemporary Dutch pictures show women doing strenuous manual work in stays, having discarded their bodice. The outer fabric can be plain/dyed linen or wool. A layer of stiff canvas as an inner lining with boning all round provides stiffening. Patterns are quite simple and can be obtained from various sources.
Back-laced styles can be tricky to lace up by your self. Front-laced styles are easier to manage. Shoulder straps can be either integral to the stays or separate pieces/tapes laced in when worn.  Stays are not meant to be uncomfortable they should just provide the outline, not constrict your breathing. Tabs at the back and side are tucked under skirt to take weight off your lower back and spread it through the boning.

Over stays, a BODICE is worn. If you prefer, you can wear a boned bodice instead of separate stays. Both are made of wool, or linen and lined. A simple bodice may have a high or medium neckline, with full or close-fitting sleeves and tabs below the waistline. It can be fastened with buttons, tapes or laces. Some styles show the stays underneath or are laced over a STOMACHER, a flat boned panel that covers the stomach, made of the same or contrasting colour. If you wear a bodice over stays, you only need to bone the front edges to prevent puckering when you lace it up. Otherwise full boning needs to be sewn into the lining of the bodice.
JACKETS are more old-fashioned, but common in contemporary paintings of lower class women from the 1640s. They are tied up the front by buttons, ribbons or hooks-and-eyes. Sleeves can be full or close fitting as for bodices. Jackets may have been collarless, they also generally accommodate the fullness of the hips by adding triangular gores, rather than the separate tabs used in bodices. The front edges can be boned or stiffened with a double thickness of heavy canvas strips sewn into the lining.
You cannot go into or through public areas or the battlefield with only a smock covering your upper body (this is the 17th Century equivalent of going out wearing only your bra), so you must wear at least a bodice or jacket.

The most important accessory is the COIF or CAP. This is made of unbleached linen and can be worn on its own or under a wide brimmed HAT. There are several styles shown in contemporary pictures, but the most common, certainly the best represented in museum collections comes in two parts. The CROSSCLOTH was tied on first, to a bun of hair gathered behind and the COIF was then pinned onto the cloth. Hair is hidden almost completely, although with coifs, part of the hair can sometimes be seen, combed back off the forehead. Serving women are shown, in contemporary pictures, apparently wearing a length of cloth wrapped turban-style around their heads, instead of a bonnet. Hats were often of felt or leather, sometimes fashionably high-crowned or else fairly shapeless.

A KERCHIEF is worn around neck and shoulders. In its simplest form, it is a square of unbleached linen or hemp folded diagonally, with the underside slightly longer and fastened with brass pins at the front. The ends are shown sometimes tucked into bodice fronts in paintings. It protects the back of your neck from sunburn and, on cold days, keeps your chest warm.

An APRON should be worn for general work. This consists of a simple rectangle tied around the waist. Posh ones can be decorated with braid or ribbon, but for the majority of living history tasks, plain linen or wool is fine.

WOOLLEN SHAWLS or CLOAKS can be worn in cold or wet weather. Cloaks are probably less common than shawls among the poorest people, and some travellers may have worn leather ones. The simplest cloak is a semicircle of woollen cloth, worn around the shoulders with no fixing.

17th Century SHOES are commonly known as latchet shoes. Reproductions are available from several traders Try and buy the best you can afford. You won’t regret it. They will be more comfortable and last for years. Many regiments will keep a small stock for new members, so you may have time to save up for your own. Low-heeled men’s styles are suitable for the poorest women, though even poor women’s shoes were a different shape to the men’s styles. For a lady’s shoe, with higher heels and narrower foot, prices are higher and they are usually made-to-measure.

The remaining bits of the costume are more or less out of sight. You can buy or knit your own woollen HOSE. An acceptable modern substitute is plain woollen tights or unribbed knitted stockings in any of the colours mentioned earlier. Shaped linen or cloth hose are also worn. Hose should be held up by cloth GARTERS or strips of cloth.

To summarise, you need a SHIFT, one or two PETTICOATS, STAYS, BODICE or JACKET, COIF, KERCHIEF, HOSE and SHOES for your basic costume. If you must carry things make a leather bag can be hung from a belt around your waist or you may carry a basket. Pockets for women at this time are still ‘little bags’ and (we think) carried under a petticoat on a linen tape around the waist.
Information from “The Textile Group”. Thanks for all the help guys. Images courtesy of Rusty Aldwinckle and John Beardsworth. Women's shoes made by Sarah Juniper

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Collars and Falling Bands

Evidence is thin for any clothes in the 1640s but in particular for accessories. Generally though it seems for most that some kind of linen was worn around the neck between the standing collar of the doublet or coat and the bare skin. The complicated ruff of the Elizabethan age had all but gone, only worn by a few older gentlemen and had been replaced by the falling band, generally separate to the shirt but often it seems temporarily attached by pins, ties or maybe even tacked stitches. Experiment shows that a completely unattached collar will eventually pull free or twist round. Sir John Suckling the Cavalier poet wears a rather fine band here.
Bands were made of a rectangle of linen, the smaller ones just that, and the bigger more ornate examples shaped so that they would lie nice and flat around the back of the neck with darts. The band would be sewn to a strip of linen that fitted the neck and ties attached to close up the band when worn. This example, made by Mark Hargreaves of The Household includes bobbin lace from The Tudor Tailor. Ties could be plain strips or woven strings, often finished off with ornate tassels. Band strings can be made by twisting two or more threads together. To make as sting you need to begin with approximately three times the length of string you want to finish up with.

High quality falling bands were decorated with bobbin lace, sometimes having so much lace that the plain linen became almost invisible. This one is in the V&A Museum of London, image courtesy of the V&A Image search also shows nicely how darts are used to shape a rectangle to fit around the neck.

Large laced bands seem to have been tied up for ease in battle, several portraits show ribbons being used to gather the ends in although most woodcuts from the period show plain bands being worn, even by some quite high ranking officers and army commanders. This officer painted by Dobson has just knotted the ends of his collar together.

William Fairfax in contrast has a rather austere, plain linen band.

In general however, it is unlikely that any shirts made on contract for armies would have had even a simple collar attached. The jury is out over tied neckcloths being worn by soldiers in the wars of the 1640s, but common sense would seem to dictate that a simple knotted strip of linen is a practical solution for someone on campaign. It would prevent rubbing and would protect the shirt underneath from dirt. This picture, Soldiers in a Guard House by the Dutch artist Jacob Duck shows neckcloths being worn during the Thirty Years War on the Continent. Several paintings show something like this being worn in Holland well before 1660 which is when it is generally accepted that the cravat was introduced as a fashion item to England, via the court of Charles II. 

This woodcut of sailors being slaughtered in the South China Seas shows the corpses wearing what are plainly knotted cloths around their necks. Whether this is because they are sailors or if it was also a standard item for soldiers is not obvious though.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Silky Scarves (AKA Sashes)

The sash, or scarf as it was more commonly knows in the wars of the 1640s was a badge of rank, an identifier when uniforms weren’t generally worn and presumably, looking at some contemporary portraits, a fashion accessory, this portrait of William Fairfax, brother of the more famous general shows an ridiculously large example.

As far as it’s possible to tell, the scarves of this period were all made of silk, which in the 1640s was a quality fabric prized for its drape and lustre. More than any other cloth available it dyed to lasting bright colours and as such was perfect for scarves that marked rank and regimental allegiance. Until the late seventeenth century there was no large scale production of silk in England so most of the raw material would generally be imported from France, the Low countries or even in some cases China via the old silk road and the middle east. The majority of scarves were probably silk twill, a basic woven silk that has changed little in its basic appearance since medieval times, though some, like William Faifax's were made of silk satin, a much more expensive and luxurious weave.

This example, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London gives an idea of the dimensions of scarves worn in the Civil War. By tradition this was worn by King Charles at the battle of Edgehill and is 2.66m long and 68cm wide. It is heavily embroidered with floral motifs and edged down one side and at the ends with metal lace. 

This seems to have been fairly typical in size and fringing, though embroidery doesn’t feature heavily in the scarves seen in portraits. The metal threads make it look rich rather than bright and sparkly. Certainly silver metal wound around embroidery thread would tarnish quickly and become darker in tone. Images courtesy of the V&A Images Collection.

Henry Rich, Earl of Warwick painted in the school of Mytens wears a similar scarf around his waist in this portrait. It seems also to be heavily embroidered, though the ends are concealed in the pose chosen by the artist

Other methods of finishing the ends could be bobbin lace or fringing made of the same material as the body of the scarf. Scarves could be big enough to serve as a winding sheet in a pinch should the wearer have been unlucky enough to need a battlefield burial.

Portraits indicate that the scarf could be worn either over the shoulder or around the waist, though the second option seems to have been the less common method, as the fashionable waistline still dipped in the centre and would be hidden by the scarf. More often than not, a horizontal sash is worn over a back and breastplate or leather buffcoat in which the waist is cut as a straight line and an over the shoulder if the wearer is in doublet only. John, 1st Baron Byron wears his over back & breast in this famous portrait by Dobson, shortly after his facial wound was received from a parliamentarian's halberd at Burford in 1643. Note the long fringes and the extravagant knot his servant has presumably tied for him behind his back.

Captain Abraham Stanyan of the Red Regiment, London Trayned Bands (parliamentarian regiment) in this portrait by an unknown artist in 1644 wears his crimson scarf over the shoulder with a nice knot, fastened at the shoulder, a rather splendid feathered hat and some unconventional weaponry to complete the "ensemble".

The wearing of a scarf is usually taken to mean that the individual in question is an officer, the denomination of which could reach as far down as a sergeant in the Civil War. Sergeants would qualify as regimental officers, though the less well off would presumably have a poorer quality item on show. Here’s Sergeant Nehemiah Warton on campaign, writing home in 1642 with a report:

"I received your letter with my mistress' scarf and Mr. Molloyne's hatband, both which came very seasonably, for I had gathered a little money together, and had this day made me a soldier's suit for winter, edged with gold and silver lace. These gifts I am unworthy of. I have nothing to tender you for them but humble and hearty thanks. I will wear them for your sakes, and I hope I shall never stain them but in the blood of a cavalier."

As for the colour of the scarf worn, popular opinion has it that red was worn by Royalists whilst orange was the choice of Parliament soldiers. However, looking at portraits it is obvious that other colours were also chosen and could have had more relevance to the family colours of your commander. Some royalists wore blue scarves. Oliver Cromwell in this portrait by Robert Walker, is wearing the silver grey scarf he adopted when he became Lord Generall. Some Yorkshire officers wore yellow, and Colonel Eden was shot at Pontefract castle wearing a black scarf, whether that was a family colour or he was in mourning we just don't know. 
 Other scarf colours can be guessed at, there are references in various works on the civil war, but we can be pretty sure of the following:
King Charles- Red
Earl of Essex - orange/"old gold"
Early New Model Army  (ie Fairfax) - Blue
London regiments - possibly white
Eastern Association (Manchester)- possibly Green
Later New Model Army - Preston/Dunbar/Worcester- probably red- (ie Cromwell)
Here is an account of the siege of Basing written by Colonel Gage and quoted in Clarendon’s The Great Rebellion:

"After some hours of refreshment in the morning, and sending his express to Winchester, the troops marched through by-lanes to Aldermarston, a village out of any great road; where they intended to take more rest that night. They had marched, from the time they left Oxford, with orange-tawny scarf's and ribbons; that they might be taken for the parliament soldiers; and hoped, by that artifice, to have passed undiscovered even to the approach upon the besiegers. But the party of horse which was sent before Aldermarston, found there some of the parliament horse, and, forgetting their orange-tawny scarf's, fell upon them; and killed some, and took six or seven prisoners; whereby the secret was discovered, and notice quickly sent to Basing of the approaching danger; which accident made their stay shorter at that village than was intended, and than the weariness of the soldiers required. About eleven of the clock, they began their march again; which they continued all that night; the horseman often alighting, that the foot might ride; and others taking many of them behind them; however they could not but be extremely weary and surbated."

Portrait above, Colonel Richard Neville 1644 by Dobson.

Captain Smart here wears a rather fine orange/yellow sash again tied at the shoulder in this 1639 portrait, courtesy of the V&A Collections Search

Here’s John Vernon writing in The Young Horseman or the Honest Plain Dealing Cavalier, published in 1644. Note that he prescribed scarves not only for visibility in battle, but also to keep unruly soldiers in check as it marks them out for easy identification!

He must be careful to keep his horse well and his arms fixd upon, which many times dependeth the safety of his life, every horseman must wear a scarfe of his Generalls Colours and not leave it off neither in his quarters nor out of his quarters, it being an ornament unto him: besides it will cause him to forbeare many unfitting actions, as being thereby distinguished from the vulgar or common souldiour, it is likewise a good and visible mark in time of battle to know one another

Photo by courtesy of John Beardsworth