July 25, 2016

Stop, Drop and Roll Hems!

Alright, true confession time: I may be addicted to rolling hems...whipping gathers...and, most of all, the pursuit of all things ruffly!  If you've been following my blog or facebook posts on the past 1812 weekend, you may have noticed my new Regency wardrobe additions - a new cap & chemisette.  One can never have too many accessories, or ruffles for that matter.  

Tonight, I finally uploaded about a month's worth of pictures; so, in addition to asking you to stay tuned for posts to come, let's take a look at some clothing construction! 

First up, the new cap:  Made from a single layer of a fine cotton lawn, this round-eared cap of my own pattern is entirely hand stitched using the period correct techniques of tiny rolled hems and rolled whipped gathers.  I am very pleased with the shape, despite its fragile nature.  I've only worn it a handful of times, but already it is shredding at the pin holes.  (If anyone has a better way of keeping fly-away caps in place without using a bunch of hair pins, I am all ears!)

PSA for historical cap construction methods:  Please note that this cap has never been starched.  Even with the unbearable heat & humidity that it has been subject to, the ruffle still stays pretty well...ruffly and stands up as it should all thanks to the rolled whipped gathers!  While the technique does take longer (as in waaay more hours of hand work) than quick gathered stitched on a machine, the result is well worth it!  Not only does it look better, but you can get away with crumpling up and forgetting it in a pocket, then pulling it out and still have springy ruffles, no starch required.  Plus, it's so light and airy that you'll forget you're even wearing a cap - true story! 

Here's a look at those rolled whipped gathers and 1/16th inch rolled hems from the inside:

Feel free to click on images to make them larger...

Close up of the rolled whipped stitches whipped to rolled hems of the cap's band.

The finished cap! 

Next, the chemisette, which may be my favorite accessory yet!  It's such a handy piece to have, easily transitioning any low neckline into day appropriate wear and adding that extra frill! to any look.  Mine was made from the same sheer cotton lawn as the cap.  It features double ruffles (made and attached with 1/16th inch rolled hems and rolled whipped gathers), french seams at the shoulders, and hand made cording to tie at the neckline.  Entirely hand stitched.  Aside from the fact that the fit is a little short and the neckline too wide, I really like it.  It was tempting to add more ruffles or lace edging.

The children at work call it the "clowny-thing," haha!

Interior details:

Close up of both ruffles attached (separately)
at the neckline, which was hemmed to 1/8".

My hand stitching has improved!
All of the stitches are about an even 14-16 per inch.

French seams join the shoulders.

The finished chemisette!

And here they are in action!  Now onto some more Regency attire to pair them with...Tall Ships, anyone? :)

Before the ball, 1812 weekend.
(Photograph courtesy of Rhonda B.)

Day #1 of Fashion Fun Camp!

Day #5 of Fashion Fun Camp.
Please ignore the tired face...
and the fact that some of those ruffles look as wilted as I felt...


  1. Absolutely magnificent!! I am on utter AWE of your incredible hand stitching... Which is why I stay in the Victorian-1920s eras!! I don't like hand stitching and I wish I could make lovely rolled hems like you! But my fingertips are too fat... You are so great!! Can't wait you see more of your pictures!

    1. WOW! Where do I even begin to reply to your lovely comment? Gina, you always have the nicest things to say!! I'm a little giddy at hearing that I've actually impressed one of my greatest sewing role models. Hand sewing can be relaxing, but it sure does take time...maybe I'll need to join you in the Victorian era. Machine stitching sounds like a nice change of pace haha! Thank you!

  2. Such beautiful work, Anneliese! I am in awe of your beautiful hand work...
    I try and do this on smaller things, for my dolls... one day I hope to make my own ruffled cap.
    Your work is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thank you so much, Christine!! You're too kind :)

      I so admire people with the patients and skills to do doll scaled work. It's hard enough for me to do people sized garments, I can't imagine the tiny scale you work with! When you make your ruffled cap (which you should!), I sure hope that there will be pictures to ooh and aah over! Thanks again, Anneliese


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