Over the next few weeks, I’ll walk you through how to make an embroidered nightcap, like those featured in our post two weeks ago.
The first step is choosing materials. The vast majority of nightcaps were linen, but some were also made of silk or velvet. Some extant nightcaps are lined, generally in silk, and at least one cap has a different lining inside the brim than inside the upper crown. Most caps are embroidered in silk and/or gilt thread, but wool is also a possibility. In addition to embroidery, many caps have a band of lace around the edge of the brim, and paillettes or spangles can be used throughout the embroidery and/or lace.
For the cap in this example, I need one that will provide maximum warmth in below-freezing weather, so I am substituting modern materials. I pulled a piece of embroidered cotton from my stash to simulate the embroidered portion of the brim and crown. Like period examples, I will not waste the embroidered fabric on the portion behind the brim which will not show, so cotton broadcloth is being used for this section. The interior lining will be white fleece. At some point I may make a more period embroidered cap, but these materials better meet the purpose of this cap.
Next, we’ll talk about patterns.