Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mrs. Hancock's Pudding Cap Pattern: Part Two

On the left is the Pudding Cap from the V&A, on the right is the pudding cap I recreated.
I'm proud to say that the pudding cap is done. Here's how it came together...
I sewed the four triangles together using backstitches and lightly stuffed them with lambswool. I then sewed the band together with backstitches. I cut a piece of pasteboard that I slipped into the band and then...
...using a tension rod, I stuffed it with lambswool.
Next I backstitched the four triangles to the band at regular intervals and applied black velvet ribbon (which is 1/2in thick) straight across the bottom and top seams.
A view from the inside.
I added ribbon to the triangles.
I needed some black grosgrain ribbon to attach to the band to tie it closed. I decided I would sacrifice my trimmed hat...
....and borrow ribbon from the tie. To close the band, I pinned the ribbon inside the fabric.
I backstitched it closed and then whip stitched the ribbon to the fabric to help ensure that it won't rip out.

For the silk ribbon ties at the top (which used two pieces of 19in long ribbon that is 2in thick), I sewed them to two of the triangle's points and declared the project done!

To improve this project:
  • The triangles should be more oblong in shape, to better reflect the original.
  • Using a velvet ribbon that is less than 1/2in thick would also better reflect the original. 
  • I found that the band didn't shrink when stuffed and I ended up cutting about 4in was so big it would have fit my head. 
  • I probably didn't need to have a separate seam on the bottom of the band. It's hard to tell if the original has the velvet trim along the bottom...I'm guessing that it might not in which case I should have cut the fabric to be one continuous piece. 
To read about the "proof in the pudding"--the lambswool and the vintage velvet ribbon trim--visit my blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mrs. Hancock's Pudding Cap Pattern

The next project for Miss Hancock is an essential 18th century toddler accessory: the pudding cap.

The authors of write that, "Pudding caps were common for those learning to walk, perhaps for older toddlers as well. They are a band around the head, lined, stuffed, and edged with leather, tape or suchlike, with ties to hold the circle to the correct size, and other ties under the chin. Some had criss-cross tapes across the top, forming the crown, others have 4 triangles, lined and stuffed like the circle, stitched to it and meeting at the top." 

My goal is to recreate this example from the V&A:

 Child's 'pudding' or safety hat of padded cotton made in the UK between 1775 and 1800

The V&A's description says,

Child's 'pudding' (a safety hat for a young child learning to walk, and designed to fasten horizontally around the head above the ears). The 'pudding' consists of a sausage-like horseshoe-shaped roll of glazed pink cotton, which has a padded white linen inner stiffened with wire and card, and a black petersham ribbon tying string at each end. Four lightly padded triangular flaps of self fabric, stiffened with card, are attached to the roll at regular intervals (partly covering the crown of the head), two of them fastening together over the head with tying strings of broad black silk ribbon. The edges of the triangular flaps and the top seam-line of the roll are all edged with narrow black velvet ribbon.

Since the cap's construction is basic--a band and four triangles--I'm drafting my own pattern. Beth Gilgun's Tidings from the 18th Century includes a pattern, which I'm using as a guide.

To start, I measured Miss Hancock's head which was 18.5in. Gilgun advises adding four inches as the width shrinks when stuffed, so I created a band that is 23.5in long.

I'm not the best at creating straight lines, especially long straight lines. To help prevent crafting a crooked cap, I used my picture hanging level to make sure my picture frame was straight, I then aligned the pattern to the frame's lines to make sure it was even.

Gilgun's pattern calls for four little points on the band, but I eliminated that since the original I'm working from does not have that feature.

I then cut out a pattern for the tabs, 5in high at the center and 2.5in long. To make sure the triangle is evenly shaped, I cut it the same way you would cut a heart from construction paper in grade school.

I then crossed my fingers that this would work and cut the pink cotton fabric. The V&A's pudding cap says it is a glazed cotton. Though my cotton isn't glazed, it has that "new fabric" sheen to it so I didn't wash and preshrink it. (I figured that, once completed, I can spot clean it if necessary.)

I cut two strips for the band. (Though the other extant pudding caps I have researched have linen for the lining, it appears that the V&A's pink pudding cap has the same cotton for the lining.)

And I cut four triangle tabs. It's time to start sewing!