The heart-shaped cap most famously worn by Mary Queen of Scots goes by many names and its construction has been up for debate. The style was not just worn by this queen — it was common among upper-class women of the late 16th century in England and France. While modern costumers may know it as an “attifet,” Elizabethans knew it as simply as a wired cap or wired coif, and this form of headgear is closely related to the common linen coif worn by all classes of women since the Middle Ages. This Elizabethan cap is related to Flemish/Dutch/Netherlands wired caps of the late 16th and early 17th centuries as well.
During the SCA West Kingdom June Arts & Sciences Tourney XLVII on June 15-17 and at Costume College 2012 from August 3-5, I will offer a one to two-hour, hands-on workshop where students will learn to sew an Elizabethan wired cap for themselves. I will provide a pattern, instructions, millinery wire, and starch, plus copious historical documentation and references.
Students must bring:
- 1/2 yard of lightweight white linen (I like the 3.5-oz linen from Fabric-Store.com & the 3.8-oz linen from Dharma Trading Co.), make sure to prewash & iron your fabric!
- 1 & 1/3 yards of white cotton cord or plain white ribbon, no wider than 1/8″ or 4mm
- Scissors for cutting fabric
- Hand-sewing needle
- White thread
- Straight pins
- Optional: 1 yard of white lace trim, this can be added later
Note: At the SCA event, I will provide the fabric & cord/ribbon, since the event is outdoors & we won’t be able to iron/starch.
The cap will be entirely hand-sewn, so students must have at least intermediate sewing skills — hand-sewing a running stitch and a whip stitch will be required. This will be a limited-attendance class with a small fee ($8 at the SCA event, $4 at Costume College).
At the SCA event, students may be able to join the class on the day of the event (more info will be posted online), but for Costume College, advance sign-ups are required and are done through Costume College itself. For membership and more info, please go to the Costume College website.
Take a look at these images of wired caps for ideas of what this workshop can make.