The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Historical Sew Monthly: A Cap with a Pleated Ruffle

_Plucking the Turkey_ by Henry Walton,
1776, Tate Gallery.
I won't be able to keep up with all the challenges this year, and will probably be finishing up the blog post and putting it online after the deadline on whichever challenges I can complete, but hopefully people will enjoy seeing the results anyway!  Here is the challenge for February, in which I make a simple 18th century cap with a pleated ruffle.  Although I'm posting this in March, the sewing actually happened at the beginning of February ... 

Challenge #2: Tucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration.
Material: ¼ yard of cotton-linen blend fabric  
Pattern: self-drafted from Sue Felshin's instructions online
Year: 1775-ish
Notions: white thread, 20 inches of cotton cord (kitchen twine) and 26 inches of 1-inch wide ribbon 
How historically accurate is it? 75%, producing an accurate-looking, entirely hand-sewn cap, from a modern blend of linen and cotton. 
Hours to complete: 6 hours (by hand; would have been less if done by machine) 
First worn: for photos only, in mid-February.
Total cost: all from the stash, but it would have been less than $10 total if I'd bought everything new.

_The Butter Churner_, by Henry Robert Morland,
before 1797, Bonhams Auction House.
As many costumers have discovered, once your family knows that you make costumes, they turn to you when they want to borrow an outfit for whatever costume-friendly events come up in their life ... often not giving you much advance notice for pulling something together!  As if you have a whole costume shop inventory – in their size – at your disposal ... Anyway, as long as they don't expect me to let them do whatever they want to the costume or give them the aforesaid costume to keep, at no charge, I'm usually happy to put together an outfit for them, if I have the time.  This time around, it was my cousin's daughter, who is in 5th grade, and who had a special social studies theme day at school at the beginning of this month.  The theme was the English colonial period of America's history, and all the students (and teachers) in the 5th grades were expected to dress up and bring a period-inspired lunch for the day.  The teachers had gone to Party City and bought a bunch of cheap "Colonial" costumes for the kids to wear if they didn't come up with their own costume, but I had seen those before, and they were hideous, as those things typically are. 

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)