Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Vintage and antique caps

This is a very relevant topic at the moment. My interpretation of a design from The Workwoman's Guide has been accepted as the kit design for the Transported Women project, now I just have to complete the pattern and instruction sheet. There was also a question on one of my Y. groups about a "duster cap" suitable for embroidery. My research has been quite extensive, but I've not heard this expression before. I can only imagine that it would be a late Edwardian term since the term was used by a members' great-aunt. I'm assuming this cap was worn by servants, or by the lady of the house while she did house cleaning, bearing in mind that this was probably pre-vacuum cleaner days and dusting was done via a feather duster and cloth. I wouldn't want to get dust and cobwebs in MY hair, so we can imagine a simple cap being developed to wear over the hairdo. We can only guess at the style of this, since most of the photos which have survived only show "Sunday best" clothing at the least, I certainly wouldn't want my own house dresses preserved for posterity in photos.!

I found the first cap on my Y. group where enthusiasts of Victorian ladies clothing show their collections. This looks like a lady's house cap to me, not really covering the back of the neck as is usually the case with this type of headwear, but would definately protect the hairstyle from dust and cobwebs. The second two caps are 1830's to 1850's are the type of cap worn for everyday wear at that time. Perhaps one of these might be adapated for embroidery.

Here are some places to look for suggestions:
"The Workwoman's Guide" by A Lady , 1838, 1840 Look at Google books, then scroll down to page 142-144 on the page counter on the top left side, and then through to plate 15 for full patterns. By the way, the measurements referred to are not inches but nails, which is equivalent to 2 1/4 inches. I made a little "ruler" in nails to make the patternmaking easier.

The Costumers Manifesto
" a mega site, look in "Costume by history period" then click on period you are interested in to get lots of useful links.

Hope you have as much fun as I do with your research !

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