My new hat is done!
This hat is in the Coppergate or Dublin cap family - simple rectangles. It's silk like Coppergate, but pointy-headed like Dublin. It's "inspired by" rather than a direct reconstruction.
The fabric is an old silk shirt. The decorative braids are silk. The ties are linen whipcords. Stitching was done with silk thread.
I left in the existing flat felled seam that was used to construct the shirt - it runs up the back of the hat. I also left the original hem around the bottom, but turned it up, tacked it down and covered the edge with one of the blue silk braids. I did this because the fabric of the original hem was fraying in places at the edge.
The hat got made twice. The first time, it was too large. I repinned it and resewed it, and now it may be a touch too short. The front edges were originally rolled, but had to be double-folded to take in more fabric and even things out. The top seam is a modern French seam. Sewing was all done by hand.
I whipcorded four lengths of thick linen thread together to make the ties. I used Shaker pegs for the bobbins - they are shown below, used for braiding. I was able to suspend them from a short rod held under my arm and manipulate them with two hands to do the whipcording. They are sewn on with red silk thread, and the ends that are attached to the hat have a sort of aglet made from buttonhole stitches. The free ends are knotted.
I used a closed cell foam pillow, two pins, and six Shaker pegs to do the braiding:
The silk is secured with a half-hitch at the top of each bobbin to keep them from unraveling. I found that this method kept my fine silk threads well-organized and under more constant tension. The braid came out much better than when I try to free-hand it.
For the first braid (around the bottom of the cap), I stuck a pin through the braid when I had to secure the work. This distorted the braid and left it wiggly. The second braid, used for the two lines around the face opening, was secured just by wrapping the free end around two pins in a figure 8:
You can't see the cross-overs, but those are figure-8s. This was surprisingly secure, even when carried from room to room. I might have been lucky, and if I were taking it in the car, I would have definitely secured it with something stronger than friction.
It is sewn onto the cap with a running stitch (with a backstitch here and there).
This might be my first selfie.
The silk looks much nicer in-person. The shape and fit of the hat are pretty much as-shown.
- Review sources before beginning work, even if not interested in officially authenticating the work.
- Use bobbins for making long braids.
- Careful pinning and ironing makes a nicer finished pieces, yes really!
- Wash face before taking selfies!
(These are some notes I took. I didn't make them into a blog post because omg, Facebook people might come by to read it and this isn't very interesting, is it? I should save it and make a final write up! ...but then I realized that no, I really want to keep all the fiddly details and pondering, even the ones that wouldn't make it into a final report.)
Comparing the various threads and yarns I have, I decided to go with the thicker linen thread. (Is it 20/2? 40/2? It's not labeled, but a similar hank is.) I did a whipcord sampler, then decided I liked how the thread looked when they twisted together. I did that, knotting both ends, and the thing promptly (mostly) untwisted. Rather than go into an extended search to find out why this was, I just went back and whipcorded instead. The ties are going to be mostly behind my head, so how they look isn't really of utmost importance.
To do the whipcording, I used two double-length pieces of string. I folded them in half and used a larks-head knot to secure them to that hand distaff I was wondering what to do with. :) Then each of the (now four) dangling thread ends was tied to a shaker peg, wound onto the peg, and secured with a half-hitch. I rolled the whipcord onto the distaff as it got too long. Worked great! I also found that the whipcording went faster and more cleanly when I leaned forward a bit as I sat.