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Reader, it is hot where I live. June, July, and August are tiresome months here, humid and warmer than what I became accustomed to in New England. After a year, I realized I’d had enough of trimming my hair myself. I texted a friend with good hair, and found someone to liberate my neck. Excellent, right? Well…it’s all good until you want to dress up.

19th century history hair being somewhat mullet-like, my short in the back bob was not going to get the job done for last weekend’s Jane Austen Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern. What to do? Cap it, of course– there’s no way I could figure out how to tie a turban elegantly and reliably without giving up the hope of finishing some other projects I really want to finish this month. So, a cap/hat/sewn headdress. Aside from the examples seen in film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, what evidence is there for these concoctions?

ladies heads with various wraps and feathers

London Head Dresses, June 1804

woman in a gray tam o-shanter cap

Detail, Plate 11, April 1799 Journal des Luxus und der Moden.

Enough, it would seem, to be getting on with. In addition to the 1804 Ladies’ Head Dresses plate, there are plates in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden showing headdresses and wraps, as well as an image of a pelisse and matching tam-o-shanter-like hat. These are simple enough to make, and I managed one in less than 24 hours.

two couples in historical dress

I had no idea Drunk Tailor and I would color coordinate so well. Also, Dat Hat.

The fabric is left over from a gown I made to wear to a dance in Salem one spring, , but which happily coordinated well enough with the sari gown made for a photoshoot, and also worn to Salem for a dance. Briefly, the cap is made from scraps, ornamented with a two-layered rosette centered with a paste button, with the bulk of the caul gathered up and stitched down to hold the shape and embellished with three coordinating tassels looped onto a gold silk-wrapped cord. In the end, not too resting Bingley face, and a satisfactory cover for what I’ll call my hair a la Titus when I’m not in the current century. Drunk Tailor’s hat covered, somewhat, here.