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(cross posted in [ profile] dressdiaries)

The new Janet Arnold has a few details of embroidered night caps from the late 16th century, including a quote from a contemporary observer that the gentlemen of the court have taken to wearing them during the day on the pretext of some imaginary infirmity. I had picked up this pre-embroidered fabric quite a while ago because it looks pseudo-blackworked and I thought it might be useful for something. This seemed like a good project to try with it.

Process and pictures :
The pattern is a fairly simple matter of four panels that are joined at the bottom - I already had a wool hat like this, so first I cut out pieces based on the existing hat and stitched them together. Since this fabric is much lighter, the starting pattern was too big, so I did some pinning and adjusting until the pieces fit better in the lighter fabric. This led to four separate panels, rather than four pieces joined at the bottom.

Since I wasn't going to be lining the hat, I sewed the pieces together with french seams to make sure that there wouldn't be any scratchy pieces or sequins (spangles) right against my head:

Emobethan Hat #1

Unfortunately, the top points of the four pieces did not quite close when sewn together, leaving an open spot at the top of the hat:

Emobethan Cap - French Seams

Since I was sewing by hand, and on a tight time frame, I did not want to rip out all of the seams to curve them in more at the top, so I left them in and sewed a regular seam with the proper curve:

Emobethan Cap - French Seams (fixed)

The brim is a straight strip of fabric. I sewed it on by french seam so that when the brim was turned up, as shown in the pictures in Janet Arnold, the seam wouldn't show. When I tried it on it showed signs of not staying turned up in quite the intended manner, so I understitched the french seam to the part of the cap hidden by the brim I turned under the outer edge of the brim and whip stitched it to finish the edge, then added some braid I have had kicking around for a while:

Emobethan Cap - Brim Detail

The finished hat with brim turned up:

Emobethan Cap - finished

I model the cap:

Elizabethan Night Cap
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May 2011

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