August 7, 2015

HSM July Challenge: Working Woman's Bits & Bobs

Better late than never, at least that's what they say, right?  So, with that in mind, take a look at my entry for Challenge #7: Accessorize  of the Historical Sew Monthly, hosted by the lovey Dreamstress!

Accessory (noun) - an object or device not essential in itself
but adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else.

Throughout the month of July, I spent my spare time on vacation and during slow periods at the museum, hand-stitching accessories!  I hemmed two, printed cotton neckerchiefs, threw together a linen apron, and stitched a muslin cap directly from the pages of The Workwoman's Guide.  

My handmade neckerchief collection...

Since discovering the "rolled hem" technique, I've become obsessed with stitching smaller and smaller rolled hems!  Neckerscarves provide the perfect opportunities for practice.  Plus, they come in handy at work to enhance the "working" impression, as well as keeping those pesky mosquitoes off the neck.  


The first neckerchief that I tackled is just a large, 40" triangle hemmed on all sides.  Such an easy and relaxing project, which has become my most used accessory at work!

Semi-sheer, block print cotton that I purchased from Regency Revisited.

The second neckerchief is much finer (and took longer to hem!).  It was made from a lighter weight cotton than the blue one, and is a yard by yard, square piece.  It hasn't been worn yet, but it nicely complements the two fabrics that I picked out for 1830s short gowns.

Tiny, even 1/16" rolled hems!

Next, you can never have too many aprons!

Striped linen apron, full front view.

For my newest apron, I chose a light weight, striped linen from Joann's.  Hemmed the sides with a 1/4" seam and the bottom with a nice, deep, 3" hem with running stitches.  The stripes were very useful for measuring and keeping the seams even.

Close up of the gauging and band.

To add some variety, I choose to gauge the top of the apron skirt and whip it to the band, following early 19th century examples.  (Like this beautiful, marigold, silk damask apron, c.1810 featured on VintageTextile).  To keep the raw edge on the inside from unraveling, I made sure to overcast it.

Inside view of the gauging - again, the stripes sure came in handy!

And finally, a plain, 1830s, muslin cap from The Workwoman's Guide

This cap was a fun project!  (In fact, I'm actually working on several more caps for work.)  The plain, utility muslin I used was quite bulky for a cap; however, I am very pleased with the result.  

The diagram in The Workwoman's Guide showed the cap as an easy one piece to cut out.  First, the band was stitched together with a flat felled seam.  Then, the caul portion was gathered with whipped rolled gathers and attached to the band.  Lastly, the entire outer edge was finished with a small 1/8" rolled hem.  

A view of the whipped rolled gathers from the outside.

A view of the whipped rolled gathers from the inside.

I am just tickled pink by whipped rolled gathers!  This was my first attempt at trying the technique, so the cap also fits in nicely with Challenge #6: Out of Your Comfort Zone of the 2015 Historical Sew Monthly.

More views of the finished working woman's cap:

The Challenge:  #7 Accessorize - The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.  (Bonus: the cap also works for #6: Out of Your Comfort Zone)

Fabric:  Block print cottons for the neckerchiefs, striped linen for the apron, and utility muslin for the cap.

Pattern:  None except for the cap, which came from an original plate in The Workwoman's Guide

Year:  None specifically; intended use for 1800s-1830s impressions.

Notions:  Thread

How historically accurate is it?  All four projects are entirely hand-stitched with period techniques.  How about 95% accuracy?  

Hours to complete:  Didn't keep track, but (infrequently) worked on them throughout the entire month of July. 

First worn:  Multiple times at work in the village, often with my 1830s impression.  And, I am looking forward to continued use throughout the rest of the season! 

Total cost:  The blue print for the neckerchief was a second hand craft store find, the lighter block print from Regency Revisited cost around $10 for the yard, the striped linen was a remnant from JoAnns, and the muslin came from the never-ending muslin bolt.  So, let's say $20 or a little more in all.  

Thanks for reading!


  1. These are all great items, but I especially love that cap! It's so darling. Fantastic work!

    1. Thank you so much, Crystal! I'm so happy to hear that you like the cap - it was such a simple & fun project! Anneliese :)

  2. How lovely, where did you get that wonderful fabrics?

    1. Thank you, Lieschen!! The blue print for the first neckerchief came from a second hand craft store, Bits & Pieces. I bought the second block printed cotton at an 1812 reenactment from Regency Revisited's booth. And, the linen for the apron and the muslin for the cap came from our local craft & fabric store, JoAnns. Anneliese :)