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How to make colonial girl hats

Updated October 31, 2018

A popular hat for women and girls during the Colonial period was the mob cap. Mob caps can be made from a circle of fabric which has been gathered along a smaller circle with a basting stitch or by sewing an elastic band along the smaller inner circle. The result is a puffy, rounded cap just large enough to cover a mop of the starch-stiffened sausage curls that were so popular in the 1700s. Colonial girls' hats were intended to keep the hair covered for modesty's sake, as well as to keep dust and dirt out of their hair as they went about cleaning, milking or baking. Since bathing and washing hair was infrequent, this was a very important function.

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  1. Measure the circumference of your head and add 1 inch. Cut a piece of elastic that length. Lay aside.

  2. Make a circle with a 24-inch diameter on a piece of muslin fabric, using a compass and charcoal stick. Cut along the charcoal line, and lay the circle of fabric flat, charcoal side up.

  3. Secure your 24-inch-circumference fabric circle to a macrame board with T-pins. Mark 3 inches in from the outer edge of the fabric circle, every 2 to 3 inches.

  4. Use a running or basting stitch to pull the circle small enough to make your cap the circumference of your head. Stitch one end of the elastic you cut down on top of the basted stitch. Pulling the elastic tight and pinning it in place with t-pins, run the elastic all the way around the basted line. Stitch into place, being careful not to stitch over the basting. Pull the basted stitches out once the elastic has been sewn into place.

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Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • 1/4-inch-wide elastic
  • Measuring tape
  • Muslin fabric
  • Compass with charcoal stick
  • Scissors
  • T-pins
  • Macrame board

About the Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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