Saint Birgitta’s cap

St. Birgitta’s cap - worn well too far back on my head.

St. Birgitta’s cap

This post is incredibly long in the making – I started working on a St. Birgitta’s cap several years ago, when one of the people in the SCA (Coryn of the Wode) taught a class on how to make the cap.

Unfortunately, the cap wasn’t finished in class… so I took it in parts home, and then promptly forgot all about it. Then, for the February edition of the Historical Sew Monthly, the topic is “linen”, and while there are more elaborate linen items on my to-do list, this seemed like an accomplishable project given how few projects I was able to accomplish in 2018.

Cap hand-sewed together, with the opening hand-hemmed, after pressing.

Cap hand-sewed together, with the opening hand-hemmed, after pressing.

In class, we copied the pattern, cut out our linen, hemmed the opening, and sewed the top seam closed, finishing the edges. (I did a French seam here, though there are far prettier versions I’ve seen online with open work between the pieces.

The cap sat in my to-do bag for a while… before I picked it up again.

Later, I ended up pressing the cap, and making the binding for the band, and stitching it to the edge… but since there had been time passed between the class and then, I totally forgot to gather the back – which meant the cap didn’t work at all.

Finally, I was heading up to Edmonton for a week of work training, and knew I’d have a few free evenings (less than I thought, since I was able to visit with a few friends!) so plucked it out of the bag to continue working on. I often put off hand-work, but with no machine, it would be a good time.

Gathering up the edge of the linen St. Birgitta’s cap to re-attach the band

Gathering up the edge of the linen St. Birgitta’s cap to re-attach the band

I unpicked the part of the band that should have been gathered, gathered up the cap, and re-stitched the band. I opted not to stitch the band in a loop, and will likely tie it or pin it instead when (if?) I wear it.

  • Katafalk has a great blog post about making a cap pretty much exactly like this one. (Including a pattern.) She shows it worn so that the hair is not seen at all, with her wimple and veil.
  • On the Medieval Silkwork website on the other hand, it’s shown in period images worn alone as well, and further back on the head so that the front hair does show.
St. Birgitta’s cap

St. Birgitta’s cap

Historical Sew Monthly – February 2019

St. Birgitta’s cap

St. Birgitta’s cap

The Challenge: Linen/linens: make something out of linen, or that falls under the older definition of linens: ie: underclothes (lingerie literally means linen)

Material: 2.8oz white linen from https://fabrics-store.com/

Pattern: Self-drafted based on Coryn of the Wode’s instructions

Year: 13-15th centuries

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? I honestly didn’t research it much before I started, and just followed Coryn’s instructions. However, based on period artwork and an extant cap show on the Medieval Silkwork website, it appears that the shape is accurate.

Hours to complete: No idea. Probably 1 hour in the class (including pattern making and much conversation, and another hour afterwards in total.

First worn: Only for photos so far.

Total cost: Perhaps $5.00 Cdn in linen, not including shipping – though If I remember correctly the main body was cut from leftovers from a semi-circular veil, so were essentially scrap.

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Read more about my St. Birgitta’s cap on Dawn's Dress DiaryIf you want to see more of my work-in-progress photos, come follow me on Instagram! If you want to see more finished projects, please either subscribe to my blog, or follow me on my Dawn’s Dress Diary Facebook page, where each of my blog posts gets published so you can see when new posts come out.

One comment on “Saint Birgitta’s cap

  1. Oo, I think I need something like this for everyday wear when it’s hot. Thanks for providing the helpful links!

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