Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Foundling Cap (baby or small child bonnet)

I also tried this Foundling Cap found on page 18 of The Workwoman's Guide which corresponds with Plate 2 images 1-4. Once I figured out how to cut it out, it was quite snazzy.

The directions did not say what fabric to use specifically for this cap, but general cap fabric includes "soft calico, or checked muslin, with muslin frills, for the poor, and of fine lawn or cambric, with cambric frills or lace borders for the higher classes."

These instructions list three sizes, 1st size, child of 2 years, and child of 4 years, so there's some versatility in usage.

Start with a rectangle, along the grain, 9" x 13.5"(first size).
Fold down a long edge 2.25" and press.
Fold the whole thing in half width-wise, with flap on the inside (see picture).

Fold under the raw edge and hem down the flap you ironed over.

The directions say to form a runner (narrow casing through which a thin woven linen tape or string is threaded to draw up a portion of a garment to fit) here. Now I'm not sure if that is supposed to be next to the hem, or within the hem. I added it next to the hem, but the original image doesn't appear to be that way. And I thought those little lines were just decorative!

Next, round off the corners (by where the ears will be).

The pattern says to now create another runner all the way around the edge. I didn't do that in this step, I did it after I stitched my back seam.

To create the back of the bonnet, measure up and in 2.25" from the bottom and side. Cut in that 2.25". Then "slope off the crown in a semicircular form" (see image above).

Then, stitch, right sides together, the back, bottom part that looks like the trunk of 1/2 of a Christmas tree (see what I mean?). The directions then say to neatly fell this seam. I had no idea what "felling" was, so I asked Liz: "one edge is tucked under, covering all the raw edges, and it's hemmed down flat" like ". . . the inner seam of modern jeans. . . ."

Run gathering stitches along the curve and gather down to fit the straight part.

Stitch gathered part to the straight part, right sides together and fell. The directions suggest adding a backstay which is described as "a strip of calico . . . neatly sewn on the inside, over the gathers, to make them set softer to the child's head. . . ."

The backstay should be 5 5/8" long and 1/2" - 5/8" wide, cut the direction of the grain.

I didn't leave enough fabric to fell, so I just made my backstay a little wider and stitched it over the lumps.

Then, I created the runner along the bottom, and yes, I succumbed to hand stitching! The rounded corners were just too lumpy to do it with the machine.

You can see a string hanging out of my runner along the bottom of the cap. I don't know if this is how it was really done (another thing to learn), but it did tighten up the floppy back-bottom of the cap very nicely. (Actually, I had to remove the string to sew on the ruffle, then I fed the string back in after.) To put the string through my runner, I threaded it on a long needle, knotted one end and fed the needle through the runner. I scrunched up my fabric along the string and tied another knot at the other end.

I made the chin-stay, cut along the grain, 6 3/4" x 1 1/8". These "are generally sewn on at the left corner of the cap, and the button on the right. Some persons prefer having two buttons sewn on the cap, one at each ear, and the stay made with two button-holes, so as easily to be changed and washed, without changing the cap also, as babies are apt to wet them. . ." (!!).

You can also see the fabric for the ruffle in the above picture. I made one big loop, twice the circumference of the entire bonnet (the pattern says about 1 2/3 yards). I didn't take pictures of attaching it, though, because I'm still not satisfied with my method.

I covered a plastic button, and I think it looks quite pretty. I had difficulty putting a button hole in my tiny, little strap, so I just formed a loop at the end of the strap with a string to fit around the button. This makes the strap a little loose, so I could shorten it.

Other sizes:
Child of 2 years
Cap: 10 1/8" x 15 3/4" (cut along grain)
Distance from bottom to the slit: 2 7/8"
Depth of slit into cap: 2.25"
Depth in front to be turned back: 2.25"
Depth of frill: 1 1/8"
Length of frill: 2 yards (cut along the width of the fabric)

Child of 4 years
Cap: 11.25" x 18" (cut along grain)
Distance from bottom to the slit: 3 3/8"
Depth of slit into cap: 2.25"
Depth in front to be turned back: 2.25"
Depth of frill: 1 5/8"
Length of frill: 2 1/2 yards (cut along the width of the fabric)

These little caps are just so pretty and delicate. I love them!


Hailey said...

That is pretty, I really like how the gathers look in the back. You are tenacious to decipher those old patterns- I have a hard time with the modern ones!

3rdtimeMom said...

Would gingham be close enough to checked muslin? I know I have some modern muslin somewhere, but I'll have to look. This is a darling pattern, thanks so so much for the tutorial!

Emily said...

You know, honestly, I don't really know exactly what checked muslin is. By the name, though, I would think a gingham would be a fine substitute. But I've been wrong before!

Liz C said...

Unfortunately, no, gingham isn't at all like a checked muslin. Muslin in the mid-19th century is a very fine, sheer fabric with a nice amount of body, far closer in nature to a modern fine batiste in sheerness, but with a tad more body (as if the batiste were very, very lightly starched is the best way I can explain it.)

Checked muslin is white on white, with the "whiter" checks being made of more densely woven threads.

Modern "barred dimity" can be a great stand-in, though, or plain fine batiste (from heirloom shops), or even a very fine, softer cotton organdy (not the scratchy stuff.)

Finding the fabrics is usually the hardest part of repro caps... we just don't have the variety and quality they had, and when we do have it, it's comparably far more expensive! However, caps don't use much fabric at all, so it's a nice spot to splurge a tad. :)

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

I'm having fun looking through your tutorials and have to say that is an adorable baby modeling this cap! :-) I mentioned your site on my doll making blog a couple of weeks ago - - and sent people here with links. Thanks for doing your tutorials.


Emily said...

Thanks, Dixie! I hope it's somewhat helpful! :)


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