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Falling band

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1620-1630 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen; hand-woven, hand-sewn, hand-embroidered

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Cutwork decorates the edges of this falling linen band (collar) of the 1630s. The technique involved cutting holes in the linen to make a design and then finishing the raw edges with buttonhole stitch. Using white embroidery thread on a white fabric is a type of needlework known as whitework.

The band appeared as a new style of neckwear in the 1590s. It was worn informally in place of the ruff, because it used less fabric and was therefore less expensive. A band was also much easier to care for and soon replaced the ruff for all but the most formal occasions. A band was considered to be ‘standing’ or ‘falling’ depending on how it was arranged in relation to the doublet or bodice. A standing band was heavily starched and held perfectly flat by a wire, bone or card support underneath. For more informal occasions, a falling band was worn, lightly starched and allowed to drape over the collar of the garment underneath.

Physical description

Man’s falling band of linen. It is made of a rectangle of linen, darted at the neck edge and sewn to a 1¼-inch (3mm) neck band, with a worked eyelet at each end for fastening. The outer edge of the band is scalloped and embroidered with white linen and cutwork with simple bobbin lace insertions.

Place of Origin

England (probably, made)


1620-1630 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen; hand-woven, hand-sewn, hand-embroidered


Depth: 25.0 cm neckband to scallop approx, Width: 71.0 cm overall approx

Descriptive line

Man's linen falling band, 1625-50, English; embroidered with cutwork, floral, whitework

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, London: V&A, 1998, p. 196


Linen (material); Linen thread


Hand embroidery; Cutwork (embroidery); Hand weaving; Hand sewing

Subjects depicted



Europeana Fashion Project; Accessories; Men's clothes


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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