HSF #7: The Cap à la Russe

At long last, my very first Regency cap is finished. Well, in fact, I completed it last weekend, just in time for the challenge. Now, I finally get to share it with you. As this project was based on my own pattern, you will also get to read a little about how I put it all together. To learn about my very first, somewhat funky, self-made pattern, check out the pattern-making post over here. :)
But first, here are all the details:

The Challenge: #7 “Tops & Toes”.
Fabric: Cotton lawn for the cap body; Muslin for the brim and bag lining.
Pattern: My own, inspired by a fashion plate from Ackermann’s Repository.
Year: 1813.
Notions: Punched lace, 1.5 yards of linen tape, three 8-yard skeins of white cotton embroidery twist.
How historically accurate is it? As far as the research goes, pretty accurate. It is entirely hand-sewn, too, and embroidered with an original pattern from 1822.
Hours to complete: 25 hours: 20 for the embroidery and 5 for assembly and sewing.
First worn: For the photos and around the house to try it out.
Total cost: € 4.50 for the embroidery yarn. Everything else was in my stash.

That being said, here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

The shy girl with the cap…


The side-back view. [It looks a bit on the short side, but I do not like caps covering my ears ;).]

The side.


The top.


The inside lining.

Some notes on the make-up:

Here is how I assembled it all into the finished cap: First, I cut out the pattern from the finished toile (see link above). I cut two crown pieces, one from the shell material and one from the lining, as well as two identical brim pieces from the same fabric. I then enlarged a floral border from the period embroidery pattern below, traced it onto the outer crown piece and set about embroidering it. For a detailed primer on the white-work embroidery I used, have a look at this post here.


The embroidery pattern from 1822 (I used the floral border on top, enlarged to double the size).

After the embroidery was finished, I added a small length of leftover punched lace for some extra decoration. Next I sewed up the curved back seams on both crown pieces (shell and lining), pressing them open. Afterwards I turned the lining right side out and slipped it on top of the shell so the right sides of both pieces were facing. I then sewed around the side and back sections of the cap, leaving the straight front edge open for turning.

Assembling the brim was next: For this, I took a strip of punched lace, twice as long as the brim’s outer edge, gathered it and stitched it against one of the brim pieces, wrong sides together, with the “lacy” edge of the lace facing down. After sewing, I folded up the lace, ironing the seam towards the brim’s inner edge. Here is the finished brim and lace:

Punched lace, gathered into one of the brim pieces.

Before the final assembly, I turned the crown right sides out and ironed it a bit. Then I sandwiched it between my two brims so the right sides lay against either side of the main piece with their outer edges pointing down. Now I sewed along the crown’s front edge and along the sides of the brim.

The two brim pieces, pinned to either side of the crown.

Afterwards, the brim was turned inside-out. I folded the raw edge of the  piece without lace to the inside, then closed the front with small, careful stitches. Finally, I attached the linen tape to the cap, a little behind the brim’s top edge. For this, I pinched the tape in the center. As the cap will be laced to one side, I placed that centerfold a little to the left of the cap’s middle line. And done.

Some maneuver critique:
For it being my first Regency-era cap, I pretty happy with the outcome: It fits on my biggish head and the white embroidery really turned out drop-dead pretty. To be fair, I forced myself to work very accurately by doing most of it at a public place, namely the local coffee shop. Weird, I know, but very helpful to keep me going.

On the downside, I get really annoyed when caps and hats cover my ears. Hence I was a little too eager when it came to trimming the sides of the toile. As a result, the cap looks a little too short on the sides, and too oval, compared to the original fashion plate. But, luckily, that is only an optical game…
All in all, the cap has a very comfy fit, accommodating most of my hair as it should. Yet I hope you like it a little, too. As they say, there is always room for improvement the next time around. ;)

Until next time,  Nessa



4 thoughts on “HSF #7: The Cap à la Russe


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