Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quilted Smoking Cap

Are any of you all doing the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge? I have been hearing about it on and off the past few weeks but did not really read what it was all about until a week or so ago. I was intrigued. I am already going the monthly Regency Costume Challenge and I have realized just how much that keeps me motivated to keep sewing historical garments. Having a deadline and a category to make something from keeps me inspired. So I decided to try to play along with the Sew Fortnightly challenge as much as I can.

Challenge #0 was under the category Starting Simple.

This was a Christmas gift for David that I feverishly sewed up on Christmas Eve. I didn't have any surprises for him as inevitably we fail when we try to "surprise" each other. He has very specific ideas as to what he wants for gifts and so do I. So we each pick out our own presents. However, I wanted to give him something that he was not expecting and I knew he wanted a smoking cap as he had mentioned it several times recently so that is what I decided to make.

It is not copied from any particular smoking cap; it is just something that fits the general lines of the 1860s era and is sewn with period techniques. I made it very similarly to the brimless cap I made Judah earlier this year. It is mostly sewn on the machine with some hand finishing on the inside. The outer layer is silk and the inner is cotton sateen; the batting is cotton.

I think he likes it. He has used it many times already since receiving it Christmas morning.

The next challenge is due January 14th and must be an item from a year ending in "13". I am already working on a teens-era underbust corset. I've wanted to make one for quite a while and this is the perfect excuse to do so! I have my mock up fitted and am ready to start sewing once I get a few corseting supplies.

I think it will be a fun year for historic sewing!

About My Project:

Just the facts, Ma’am: Quilted silk gentleman's smoking cap, mid-19th century style. 
The Challenge: Starting Simple. This is about as simple as it gets! The only interesting part was the quilting. 
Fabric: Silk taffeta for the outer layer, black cotton sateen for the lining and cotton needlepunched batting for the inside. 
Pattern: My own.
Year: Made to be used for 1850-1860's living history events.
Notions: Thread, pins, needles
How historically accurate is it? As accurate as I could possibly make it. I know the materials and construction is correct but I am unsure of the cut; the cut approximates period looks quite well but it is not copied from any one particular cap. The only thing I am sure is not accurate is the fiber content of the tassel. But I will replace it with a more period correct one as soon as I can find one!
Hours to complete: 3 hours  
First worn: Christmas morning!
Total cost: Scraps from stash - free!


  1. I'm sewing along with the Historical Sew Fortnightly! Alas, time got away from me so I missed the bonus challenge but I'm furiously sewing away at my --13 challenge garment. I'm also working on a teens-era corset which I hope to finish for the undergarment challenge.

  2. Sweet! I think I'm going to try this!!! I could definately use something to keep me going!

  3. It's beautiful! I can't believe it only took you three hours! I don't know about actually participating in this sew fortnightly challenge, but I did get off my rear today and begin to attempt a bustleform, which is a first for me. Still not done. Hoping to finish by this evening so I can begin to attempt bustle garments to wear over it!

    Hope you and your lovely family have a fabulous New Year!!!

  4. Beautiful! Love the color too.

  5. I've joined up as well, but have grave doubts as to my momentum. Watching your progress with the Regency challenge really motivated me to at least try!

    That is one snazzy smoking hat.

  6. Looking good, love the colour and the quilting.

    I only heard about the SFN yeaterday, so I missed the #0 one. We'll see if I manage some of the other challanges, I'm not good at working under pressure...

  7. I heard about The Historical Sew Fortnightly when it first started, but I do not have the sewing experience that would be needed for most of the challenges. I do look forward to seeing what everyone else completes. I do hope maybe next year if she does it again, I will be able to try a few things.

    By the way I like the smoking cap, that is something I could see my own husband wanting to wear.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!