Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Silk Gauze Cap from the Milliner's Shop, c. 1775

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Susan/Isabella reporting:

The staff at the Margaret Hunter shop, Colonial Williamsburg, are old friends of the Nerdy History Girls, and the shop is always one of the first stops I make when I visit. Lately mantua-maker Janea Whitacre and her staff have been studying and recreating fancy caps worn by English ladies c. 1770-1780. These caps were an early example of "fast fashion," extravagant styles that were only worn briefly before the next trendy, must-have cap appeared in the shops. Janea says that existing examples of these caps often have less-than-perfect craftsmanship in keeping with their short fashionable life.

The cap, left, is a recreation of the maidservant's cap worn in the 1770 print Tight Lacing, or Fashion before Ease by John Collet. Made of silk gauze and decorated with silk ribbons, there's no shoddy workmanship here: the stitches on the rolled hems and pinched and puffed trim are exquisitely tiny, making for a charming confection of a cap. (As always, click on the image to enlarge for details.)

But a cap on a painted mannequin head is no substitute for a lady. The photograph, right, comes from the Margaret Hunter shop's Facebook page, and shows the cap charmingly worn by summer intern Samantha.

More from the Colonial Williamsburg mantua-makers to come!


Sharlene said...

Pretty! By the way, I just read When You Wish Upon a Duke. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a pattern for such a confection of a cap for a Regency Dowager. It is charming. There has to be a regency version for a lady of better standing than a servants.

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