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'Plain sewn' 18th Century Quaker cap & history

'Plain sewn' 18th Century Quaker cap & history

Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic, but I am fascinated by the 18th & 19th Century Quakers. Not that I know much about their beliefs, but from the days when I first read about Elizabeth Fry, and her devotion to improving the conditions for women in prison, I have an image in my mind that they were all generally so 'good'! I am sure they were humans just like the rest of us in reality!

I have managed to purchase Quaker textiles before, but not for a few years. So I was thrilled to purchase a group of indoor caps from a known Quaker family whose names are identified. I will email the provenance to anyone who buys one of them.

This first cap is the best, in my opinion, and the earliest. I am quite sure it is late 18th Century and it is a wonder to all of us who love 'plain sewing'. The stitching is remarkable.

Made of fine linen in the body and the finest muslin for the flounces, it has a complete back panel which is finely gathered at the crown to a side band that goes all around the front of the head.

Attached to this front band are double flounces, which curve around at the sides of the chin. Here we find simple, original linen ties, and the lower flounce continues round the back of the head as a single layer.

Look inside and there are also inner ties which will tighten the back width [not tested but appearing sound].

This 18th Century piece is in wonderful condition with very minor flaws. Plain sewing at it's best. 

Measurements: Centre back to edge of linen at the flont 7.5". Add 2" for the face flounces. Linen band around front of head is 14".

Do ask if you would like to read about the family provenance.


    Almost faultless, there are a couple of tiny holes and the lightest bit of age discolouration. Will rinse well in COLD water, but it is wonderful just as it is.

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