I have made three versions of headwear to go with three of the ballgowns I have made. The designs were based on the beautiful drawings in Cunnington’s book English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century. The first one I have already worn to a ball, and it certainly made the solution to the ‘hair’ problem very simple!
The first was to go with the royal blue and white gown. I used the pattern for the crown from the ladies Regency day cap, with a narrow white headband and made a padded twisted band from both fabrics, trimmed with the rose ribbon which decorates the dress. I didn’t have a large enough piece of blue, or of white, so made a patchwork crown. A drawstring travels in the headband to make adjustable fit, and the rosette that I wore formerly in my hair decorates the bow of white fabric which finishes the twisted band. Four ringlet locks of hair from a wig are attached at the back for a hint of authenticity.
Second was the turban to match the purple tartan gown. I chose to use a piece of tan/gold silk which matched the beige in the tartan, as it falls more elegantly than the stiffer taffeta would. It is lined with cotton which is smaller than the silk, so that the silk can stand up above the cotton. Again I made a padded twisted band from the taffeta, decorated this time with purple piping as on the dress. At the back is a matching silk bow tied with a gold cord and tassels and a small white ostrich feather.
The most recent one is to go with the ivory silk gown. I made a cap, using again the crown of the Regency day cap, added a band, and lined the crown with cotton. The silk seemed a bit full, and so I put gathering across the crown in several places, decorated with strands of tiny pearl-coloured beads. I had seen a cap gathered in a similar fashion in Cunnington. The headband was decorated with twisted gold and white cords twisted with a strand of pearl-like beads. At one side of the cap is a rosette of silk above a silk tie with a few matching feathers as a cockade.
These caps are delightfully light to wear, and will be fine for dancing!