Workwoman’s Guide – Fig. 28 Cap: Part One

fig 28 capIt’s been a busy month of sewing for my brother’s wedding but now the veils, alterations, and piles of bridesmaids dresses are behind me… it’s finally time for some sewing just for me! The first project I jumped on? An 1838 cap from The Workwoman’s Guide that was reprinted by Old Sturbridge Village many moons ago. The Fig.28 cap from Plate 9 looked like it would be easy to pattern and cut out so that was the basis for my choice!

A quick rummaging through my fabric stash led me to a length of white cotton organdy that I had picked up at Osgood Textile eons ago. The instructions were pretty straight forward and once translated from nails to inches, the dimensions were as follows:

Length of cap down selvage = 12.375″
Width of ditto, or 3 in breadth = 18″
Depth from F to A: 3.375″
Space from A to B, to be cut = 2.25″
Length to be cut from B to C = 4.5″
then slope gradually, in a circular direction from E to C.

Easy enough, right? The illustration above gives you the basic idea and the right hand edge (marked D) is placed on a fold. No seam allowances were added. For the ruffle, I cut two lengths of organdy 1.5″ wide for a total of 72″. I pieced the ruffle together, felled the seams and then added an 1/8″ whip-stitched hem. That was by far the most tedious part!

Here are the sewing instructions from the book:

Sew neatly from A to B, and then full in the part from E to C, evenly to the part between C and B. A hem in the front and at the back, is next made for a ribbon or tape, and a small bow may be put at B.

IMG_7026For reference – point B ends up being the crown of the cap at center front, just behind the flat section of band. This can be seen better in the in-progress cap!

I mostly followed the instructions as printed, but instead of hemming front and back, I attached the gathered ruffle. Or at least I started to attach it… What is seen in the photo is about 3/8 of the ruffle attached before I got too tired to sew any further. Midnight sewing does start to wear on one!

I figure it was about 4 hours of sewing to get to this point, and it probably only needs an hour or so to be completed. When done, it will be either be added to my 1820s ensemble or it will become part of the reproduction costume collection at the Andover Historical Society for their Andover at Work in the 1820s school program. Either way, it’s been fun to work on and a nice change of pace from wedding sewing!


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