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Spring 2012

cat_cetera in dressdiaries

Elizabethan Night Cap

(cross posted in cat_cetera)

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


"the gentlemen of the court have taken to wearing them during the day on the pretext of some imaginary infirmity"

Ah, the 16th century emo crowd :)

Nice cap!
Bwahahaha! Win:)
Cat_cetera calls this style "Emo-bethian", she damn near killed me with giggles when she called it her "Emo-bethian hat"
Ha! I love it.
Or to hide a bald spot? I know a man who always wore a cap whenever possible to hide same. Later on, he bought a toupee, and absentmindedly took it off at a baseball game, much to his neighbors' amusement.
As I understand it, there were quite a few fashionable hat styles that were worn indoors, outdoors, and traveling.


So one did not need to wear a night cap in order to cover the head.
I like the cap! Very nice.
Thanks very much! It has now seen service at a couple of events, including a very rainy event, and has worked out quite well.
Oh oh oh! Is this the patterns of fashion 4?!
I just ordered that and it should be in on wednesday, sadly I have never once been able to flip through the pages of ANY of the POF series,,, is this as amazing and necessary as claimed for all the SCA freaks out there such as I?
I sure hope I wont be dissapointed because I've hemmed and hawed about buying one of these books for several years now (but it kills me to spend more than 10 dollars on paper glued together),

Any how, very nice indeed!
They may be soft-cover, but I've got one of the original printing from 1977 that has been used and abused extensively and it has never shown signs of major wear. A few corner bumps on the covers, but that's it. They are amazing books and I wouldn't be without them. Number 4 is especially useful.
I bought POF 1 in 1974, and it was spiral bound, not glued. I got POF 2 a year or so later, and it was glued (and it says I paid $9.25 for it!!) and to be honest, 2 has held up better than 1. They're both still in great shape despite 35 years of active wear and tear, but there's more creasing on 1 than 2. So don't worry about the fact that it's soft cover and glued - they're made to last!
But you aren't paying for paper glued together. If it were just that, you could do it yourself for seventy-five cents. What you're buying is years worth of research, access into museum archives that you'll never have personally, and the experience required to interperet the research and artefacts usefully into patterns.
AHA! THIS is what I was looking for! I know a books a book, and I have a friend in book binding that could fix a broken spice no problem, but knowing from first hand users that it is an INVALUABLE resource for those who get all hot and nerdy over accuratley reconstructed garmets like I do is what I really wanted to know.
Thanks all!
But, it sure is a plus to know that it will stand the test of time!
Yes, it's in POF4. And it is so very very very worth it (as are the others, although they are not in color). They hold up pretty well for paperbacks, too.
There is no actual pattern for this in POF 4, just a couple of pictures of extant hats that got embroidered but not sewn together. Two of the four POF books are really quite useful for late period SCA costuming, while the others are OOP completely but very good resources for non-SCA costuming. I hope you will enjoy and get as much use out of your POF books as I have!
When JA POF 4 came out at Christmas, we stopped carroling at an event to ohh and aww over it. It is well worth it for the research and guidelines on constructing all the garments researched but especially for the colour photos! *drool*
I really like the cap. How did you do the embroidery?
Thanks very much! I didn't do my own embroidery on this piece - the fabric came pre-embellished with a design that I thought was adequately period for lazy costuming. The extant caps of this variety have either the monochrome embroidery that would have probably been done with Holbein stitch/double running stitch, or polychrome embroidery which was done using a number of different techniques.