Friday, February 16, 2018

Red Velveteen Caul with Gold Trim

I was so pleased with the grey velveteen caul that I decided to do another one.

This one is made of a remnant of red cotton velveteen. I cut the basic circle pattern out last year when I cut out all those sleeve pieces. I tend to zig zag the edges of my patttern pieces for stability and protection, especially since it so often takes me a long time to finish these projects.

You may remember that my pattern is traced around the top edge of a bucket to get a nice circle. Another option is to use an oval shape to get more of a German-style caul with a bit more body at the back of the head towards the nape of the neck.
This embroidered caul that I finished in 2017 has an oval shaped bag pattern and is wider at the back of the head

On my circle bag/piece I marked out a grid pattern but only sewed down my ribbon where it intersected. I hoped that this would create a nice visual effect as the ribbon puffed up a bit.

At the intersections of the ribbon I added a glass bead.

I didn't think there was a need to line this caul; I tend to get overheated rather than cold and the velveteen is quite bulky.

I put gathering stitches around the edge of the circle/bag piece. I used to do one unbroken line of gathering stitches, but I now do two lines that each go roughly half way around the circle/bag piece. This allows me to better control the gathers and even up any areas where the gathers look a little bulky.

For the last few cauls I have been leaving an ungathered section across the top of my head. I think it is more flattering and looks more like the portraits from the time.

Once the gathering stitches are in the circle/bag part, I prepare the band. It is a rectangular piece the length around my head plus seam allowance on both ends. I join the short ends so that I have a continuous band. (I also usually stab stitch the seam allowance down flat to reduce bulk, especially when using thick fabrics like velveteen.) I then fold the band in half and iron a crease into it. Then I fold the two outside edges into the centre crease and tack them into place. This gives a narrow band with the raw edges fully enclosed inside the band.

Slide the edge of the circle/bag piece inside the band so that the edge of the circle bag piece butts up against the crease. I usually start by matching the centre top of the circle/bag piece and the centre top of the band and pinning it into place. Do the same at the bottom centre - it will help you to keep the gathers even.

Then start drawing up your gathering threads. I adjust my gathers by eye, and pin them into place as I go. I double check again before stitching to make sure that they look even. 
The next step is to start hand stitching the band into place. Stitch around the band on the outside (the part you will see); I use a small whip stitch.

Now turn the hat inside out and pin the gathers down on the inside of the band and stitch around again, securing the inside of the gathers as you go. Use very small stitches as you don't want any to show on the outside of the hat if you stitch beyond the band.

Your hat is done! At this stage  I add a metal comb in the centre front and a wig clip in the area of the band that sits behind my ear. This is not authentic and simply helps to keep the caul on my head and stop wispy bits of hair escaping as the day wears on.

On the red velveteen caul, I decided to add some commercial trim around the band at the last minute because it looked a bit bare. It is hand-stitched down. You could also add beads or embroider a design onto the band before sewing it to the circle/bag pattern piece.

The inspiration portrait-

Image result for judgment of paris by attributed to antonio da vendri
The Judgement of Paris (detail), Attributed to Antonio da Vendri
Image from

This project has inspired more ideas, including a caul with different coloured panels like the one above, and one decorated with little tufts of thread (inspired by the inside of this caul)-

I'll keep you posted on the results!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Felling Seams

Well, it took quite a while but I think I have found the issue with the photos that were not showing up on the blog, and fixed it. It took me on quite a trip down memory lane; reviewing past projects and remembering other things that were going on in my life at the same time. It reminded me also that I do achieve quite a lot despite my health challenges, and that I should probably stop criticising myself quite so much and stop comparing my efforts to what all the able bodied energetic people are doing. Hmmm...... easier said than done.

This week I have spent my sewing time hand felling hems for a friend who has an event coming up and needs some hot weather garb. It's not exciting stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a good opportunity to practice my hand stitching. And it is lovely to work with pure linen, which is usually our of my price range.