August 31, 2016

A Beribboned Cap

"A hat is a shameless flatterer, calling attention to an escaping curl, a tawny braid, a sprinkling of freckles over a pert nose, directing the eye to what is most unique about a face.  Its curves emphasize a shining pair of eyes, a lofty forehead; its deep brim accentuates the pale tint of a cheek, creates an aura of prettiness, suggests a mystery that awakens curiosity in the onlooker." 
- Jeanine Larmoth

Today's post is all about caps and offers a look into the construction of my most recent late-1820s to early-30s beribboned cap!  If you've been following my blog, you probably know by now that I love to roll hems and whip gathers...this project is no exception.  Featuring double ruffles (as well as a short back ruffle) and striped silk taffeta ties, there was plenty to hem and gather!  (See the beribboned cap in action here: The Flower - 1820s Photo Shoot)  

Historical Inspiration:  As always, before I begin a project, I look to historical examples - be it a painting, fashion plate or extant garment - for guidance and direction.  This particular project was part inspired by the following (as well as several other, similar Pinterest finds), and just the need to balance out the blossoming gigot sleeves of the era!

Portrait of a Lady by A. F. Lagrenee, c.1820s
Look at those FRILLS!
(Image via: Public Domain)

Cap c.1830
Accession Number:11.60.255
(Image via: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Cap c.1815-1820
Inspiration for wide striped ribbon...
(Image via: Pinterest

Completed Project Shots:  Per usual, the cap from every angle possible!

Front and center.

The front from more of a bird's-eye-view.

When I first completed the cap, I tried it on and instantly disliked it.  (My co-workers at the museum bore witness to my disappointment.)  It literally looked like the ruffles were consuming my head!  However, the addition of the side ribbons helped band down the ruffles just enough to still be fluffy, but not over-powering.  Long story short, I like it much better with the striped silk streamers!

Following historical examples, I ended up whipping a ruffle to the back too.

Construction Notes:  Entirely hand stitched using the period correct techniques of 1/16" rolled hems and rolled whipped gathers.  The cap is constructed in a single layer, featuring a double frills along the face edge and a single frill along the back casing.  Made from cotton lawn with 1/4" cotton twill tape utility ties and striped silk taffeta streamers. 

From the outside...

All laid out...ruffles! 

Side displayed flat.

On the inside...

Close up of the rolled whipped gathers.
Notice that the ruffle along the casing is separate from the ruffle along the band.
Also, here you can see how the silk streamers and utility ties were attached.  

Rows of ruffles...

Top view of double ruffles.

The second row of ruffles were whipped as the first, slightly offset.

Finishing ties...

Each of the silk ties were rolled with a 1/16" rolled hem to prevent fraying.
Note: silk taffeta is much harder to roll than cotton lawn!

Looking back, this might have been the most time consuming cap that I've tackled yet...but it was worth it!  Thank you for reading!


  1. Ruffles R us! You know I love them! :-)

    1. Ruffles R us?! I love it!! Looking at all of those beribboned caps with you last year must have inspired me!