Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Dormeuse Cap, Part 3: Finished Cap, without Ribbon Bow or in Costume

About an hour ago, I finished the cap. Then I tried it on, without being in costume and with hair put up in the quickest manner. You know, the cap functions pretty well. Perhaps the back is a little high, and needs to come lower down towards the neck, but otherwise the sizing is right, and the cap sits up and away from the brow as it was so often worn. It weighs nothing and therefore would be appropriate for summer wear.

It's just as airy and transparent as I had hoped, too, and with a ribbon set with a shaped bow to the front, should be pretty to look at. It's apparent why women made gauze caps: they hide, and they don't, simultaneously.
Our back yard, seen through the gauze of the cap. It should be clear (urp) how transparent
the silk gauze can be.
My goodness, what a process. Will I ever use lapped seams again to attach the wings to the rest of the cap? Never, never, never. What a royal pain, plus nearly impossible to keep the individual stroked gathers in place. If I ever make another cap, it will be with rolled and whipped seams, without a iota's doubt.

The cap closes in back with narrow cotton tape from William Booth, Draper. 
Quick edit, on Tuesday: Oh, for Pete's sake. Look at that back, will you? In the grand hurry to be finished, I forgot to create the ties in back as originally planned: there should be an eyelet in the middle of the caul's tape channel. The two ends of the tapes should be sewn to the far ends of the caul, the other ends pulled through the eyelet, then pulled to tighten the caul, and tied together. So I am not really done. Bother.

Next time, about the construction experiments with attaching the wings, and what I learned, potentially, about 18th century sewing efficiencies in that area, and why so many extant caps are made with rolled and whipped seams and hems.


AuntieNan said...

This is so beautiful! I am in awe of your hand sewing skills. The last time I hand rolled a hem in silk I wanted to poke my eye out with the needle before I was done!!!!!
Can't wait for your tutorial!
Nancy N

Isis said...

It turned out very pretty!

Kleidung um 1800 said...

It's beautiful!!!
It's sheer, delicate and perfectly sewn...pretty pretty white cap with such amazing seams!
And it truly suits you very well - I can't wait to see it with proper clothes and hair :)


Aubry said...

Your finished cap is so lovely! I look forward to hearing more about how you constructed it.

Anonymous said...

Quite pretty! I'm looking forward to your insights. :)


Natalie Ferguson said...

Thank you all very kindly! Am looking forward to having an outfit to wear with it, because right now, I have a pair of panniers and that is it. Um, not very well dressed yet, hey?

Auntie Nan, some folks take to handsewing, and some would rather have a tooth pulled. I love handsewing but to be honest, it's only pretty frequent practice that keeps me in hand. If I quit a few months, the next project is apt to start with sloppy, honking big stitches, until the muscles remember their duty :}

Very best to all,


Laura Morrigan said...

It looks fantastic! Great work!

Natalie Ferguson said...

Thank you, Laura!

Very best,


Caitlin Schott said...

I would love to know what kind of fabric you used and where you purchased it. I would like to make some of the things I see but lack the confidence in selecting fabrics.

I am an intermediate sewer but a beginner at costuming. I have sewn the S&S Regency gown once it came out ok and yesterday I ordered the S&S underpinnings pattern.
~ Carol
(though my google account says Caitlin because it's my daughters and I cannot remember how to change the log in. LOL )

Natalie Ferguson said...

Dear Carol (Caitlin),

Sure thing! I used silk gauze from Dharma Trading at I buy a good deal of fabric from them. It's good quality, has no extra treatments added, and is a good price. If you use silk gauze, you will need to starch it heavily with good quality starch. I use Niagara (Hancock Fabrics has it).

Or you could use silk organdy, same source. It's already treated.

For thread, I use Gutermann all-cotton thread, although silk sewing thread would be better, as it would blend better. Dharma has silk sewing thread, as does Hedehog Handworks.

Very best and welcome to costuming! I love S&S patterns.


Caitlin Schott said...

Thank you I really appreciate your kindness in taking the time to answer my question and all the information you gave me!! :) It is very helpful.

I think I have seen Gutermann silk thread at Joann's Fabrics (only fabric store in my area) . Do you know if it is the same thing?

I think I have seen Niagra before. Thank you so much for including the brand names of your favorite products that is very helpful.

I have purchased silk from Dharma many years ago to make a silk/flannel blanket for my kids when they were little. Having never seen any historical clothing or good costumes in person it is hard for me to guess what kind of fabric to buy.

Thank you so much!

Natalie Ferguson said...

Dear Carol,
Glad to offer some useful help! Others did for me years ago, so happy to pass on the blessing.

Gutermann does sell silk thread as well as cotton thread and synthetic thread. They're a major brand and among the better ones out there. The main thing is to purchase durable thread that sews easily. Over time many costumers and quilters have found that discount threads and those from old brands that were bought out, such as Coats and Clark, are too fuzzy and tend to break. That's why so many go for brands like Gutermann, Mettler, Isofil, and so on.

If you get deep into making historic costumes, who knows, you might end up using linen thread, even handspun threads -- yes, you can get them, and quite reasonably, actually.

You'll find many costumers who keep blogs will explain where they found their fabrics and supplies, which is such a help.

The silk and flannel blanket sounds yummy. I made my twin boys each a lightly quilted one, but they're too small for their twin beds now. Sigh.

Very best,


Time Traveling in Costume said...

I love handsewing too and this little cap turned out to be a work of art.
Don't you just love when you take photos, suddenly you see some oops?

Natalie Ferguson said...

Thank you, Val!

If there's one thing that's a constant in my costuming efforts, it's that I have oopses all the time :}
It feels good to know others do, too!

Very best,


ZipZip said...

A follow-up note until I have time to write a post. Have learned a great deal about cap sewing since the last writing. The Sign of the Golden Scissors has several cap patterns and they are deeply, deeply researched. Their method, well documented from extant articles, features a very different, much easier to create seam. Nothing lapped, nothing rolled. I've made a "Phyllis Wheatley" cap, and am so happy with it. Someday hope to have time to show it!
Very best,
Natalie (Zip Zip)