Given my new eyeball gets tired pretty easily, between healing up from getting its new lens and all those muscles having to fiddle with finding the new focal point(s), it seemed only reasonable to start my serious Regency fling with some hand work. Not that there’s much else to do when sewing Regency garments, you understand. I’m just saying that my timing, as usual, is lacking.
So, while my eye is re-learning the basics like Sit, Stay and Where’s Waldo, I’m starting on my cap. Being a woman of a certain age means that my hair shall be covered. Don’t want these lustrous waves causing a riot amongst the eligible peerage, you understand. At least, not unless they’re widowers with grown children.
I’m starting out with the “Lucy” cap from the Country Wives series of British Regency caps (1780-1820). The concept of “keep it simple” is finally taking hold in my brain: one headband, one circular cap, two ruffles. Big enough to fit my 23 1/4″ noggin. And will look simply charming under my transitional-years-appropriate straw bonnet.
Finding good fabric has been surprisingly difficult. Most of the whites are either too stiff or too limp.
Finally I came across a woven white Swiss-dot that is just right; enough body to hold its shape without sticking out all over the place.
While I was standing in line for the cutting table, great debate ensued over whether or not the dots were actually woven. It was really hard to tell. And that was enough to convince me that if it was that hard to know if the dots were woven, then it was good enough for me at this point in my Regency costuming career.
As it turned out, under magnification (and a lot of image manipulation) you can tell that they are not woven. but they don’t have that “flocked” look either – no big fuzzy lumpy-bumpy going on. So I’m going with it. And keeping my bonnet on.
Which brings me to the next bump in the road.
The more I research the more I find things to question and these caps are no exception. Everything I read concurs on one aspect of making caps: they must be white, white only, all white, don’t even think of using anything else or you’ll be laughed out of the assembly rooms, you horrid creature. Or words to that effect.
OK. I can oblige to follow historic precedent and instructions. However, the historical record leaves me to believe that colored ribbons were acceptable. I see examples of plain muslin, embroidery, net, lace…
…the choices are mind-boggling.
I the darkest reaches of my heart this is one that I really want. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to make it.
But it will be a cake walk compared to the bonnet I’m dying to make.
More on those follies later.