18th Century · Mrs. Ann Bamford

A Poufy Piece of Cake!

I love it when one thing can do many jobs. Not just garments, I can spend hours in Ikea, marveling at how they’ve used one piece of furniture in a number of different ways, or watch video upon video of beds turning into tables or sofas turning into bookshelves at the flick of a switch or the push of a button.

Now, the incredible inventory of the fashionista Mrs. Bamford includes “Brussels Lace Lappets a pair”, and I happen to know that “lappets” are that kind of multi-use piece of clothing for the 18th century lady. Lappets were long, narrow pieces of fabric (usually lace, as far as I can tell) that were attached to your cap and allowed to fall down the back of your shoulders. Dainty!

To really test if the lappets can be worn with more than one cap, I decided to make two very different kinds of caps; one fairly simple cap from ethereally translucent silk organza, and with a pleated lace frill, and one structural, triangular silk cap with lots and lots of trim on.

Starting with the latter, and basing this heavily on the American Duchess’ Guide to 18th Century Beauty, where they call it a proto-pouf, I assembled what I would need from my stash and my cabbage patch (my left-over fabric).

A triangular base, cut from white silk taffeta, two lengths of white silk organza, some copper wire for hobby use, some small pieces of ribbon, some left-over embroidered lace, and my silk veil from the Rowena costume! I loved the look of it, but I will probably never wear it as a veil again, it was way too heavy and slippery. This way, I can give it new life, and still enjoy the meters upon meters of gold stitches I made in it!

I started by folding all the edges of the silk triangle in, and basting them down. I then folded the edges over the copper wire, and stitched them down. This was fiddly, but I was happy with the result, the wire gave the base a lot of stability and sturdiness.

I then spent waaaay too much time basting and hemming the organza strips. Not because the result wasn’t good, but because I discovered (after having removed the basting stitches and made some gathering stitches at the center of each strip, of course) that the organza looked very funny gathered from the center. I could have saved myself a lot of time and thread by just using the basting stitches along one of the edges as my gathering thread. Oh well. This is a learning experience.

I pinned and stitched the organza to the base, along the two long edges. I also stitched the two organza strips together at the front, in a nice peak shape.

So far, I was really happy with this! I could have worn it like this, but it was no way near enough stuff for an 18th Century Lady!

Next up, I rolled my silk veil up into a small sausage, and made some gatherings along it, to pouf it up a bit. I then placed it on the base, fiddling with it until I was happy with the look, pinned it down and stitched it in place. I tried to stitch where there was already some gathering stitches.

I then wove my left-over lace over and under the silk veil, and stitched the pieces of ribbon to the corners.

I might still add a few decorations to this (some flowers, a small bird, an elephant, a ship, an entire castle… depending on my imagination and what I can find), but for now, I’m happy with this little proto-pouf!

Cost: None!
Time: 12 hours

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