I brought my medieval clothing a back to California after my latest trip to Sweden, and needed something nice and cool to cover my head, and therefore decided to make the popular Birgitta (in Englis ‘Bridget’) Cap (Sweden 14th century).
Birgitta (1303-1373) was a the founder of a the Bridgettines nuns and monks, and was canonized 1391.
There is a couple of medieval illustrations of the cap, but most important the very nicely preserved original cap.
After scouting around the Internet, I decided to use Medieval Silkwork and Åsa Vävare as the base of my reconstruction of the cap. My version is though a bit simplified;
I start with two pieces of linen, hemming both if the back seam separately.
I got the basic measurements from a friend back home (thank you Aelwynne!)
Basically just a 25×25 cm square that I rounded of in one corner.
The original has decorative stitches that connect the two pieces …I am in a bit of a hurry to have the cap done, so I basically just pin the sides on a cushion (to keep the distance while stitching) and then used a thicker linen thread to connect them in a simple pattern
According to Åsas research, the back isn’t stitched all the way, which will help keeping it in place, so I leave about 5 cm and finish the stitch simply by wrapping it around it self. The backside is then pleated and stitched.
The band that keep the cap attached to your head looks in the original that it is a folded piece of linen, so I cut out one piece (150×3 cm and fold it to a 2 cm wide band. It’s going to become one big loop, but I don’t know yet exactly how long, so I start attach it in the back, so that the seam isn’t going to end up in the somewhere visible.
all the way around the cap (to give it some extra strength and preventing the cap from slipping, I have also the idea of decorate it later) leaving the rest of the band hanging on the other side until I can fit the correct length
The finished cap (the mannequin has obviously a smaller head then me, and no hair 🙂
Things to improve;
-the band should probably be only 1 cm wide, and I needed an extra 20 cm on the length
– the back opening needed to be 7,5 cm in the end
– I should probably had decorated the band before sewing it on to the cap, but I was a bit to impatient, it seems like it works out well anyway =)