18th Century Infants’ Caps

See also pudding caps.

Additional Resources

CAPS. How cut out, from the section on Child-Bed Linen for the Use of the Poor in Instructions for Cutting out Apparel for the Poor (1789)

How to Make a Cap for Eighteenth Century Re-enactor Infants

Kannik's Korner Infant's Clothing Pattern
  • MFA 35.1148, Flemish, early 18th century
  • MFA 49.367, America; “Infant's linen cap; fullness of crown gathered into neck band.”
  • MFA 49.368, America; “Infant's linen cap; crown cut on the bias; band around face split in center to be folded back in points.”
  • MFA 07.99, America; “Embroidered with satin-stitch, French knots and drawn-work.”
  • MFA 07.98, America; “Strip of Flemish and bobbin lace in the back and front.”
  • MFA 37.458, America; “Fine white linen gathered into short strip of bobbin lace (Mechlin type) at back. Flounce around face made of two pieces joined in middle by narrow band of bobbin lace (Mechlin type) with a rozetted, stripes, and small geometric ornaments on each side worked in satin-stitch, drawn-work,etc. with white linen thread. Small geometric figuresworked on cap. Cap and flounce edged with bobbin lace (Valenciennes type).”
  • MFA 49.371, America; “Infant's linen cap; double flounce around face, upper with insertion of bobbin lace at center and minute embroidered flowering vine; same lace insertion and embroidery down center back of crown; (originally had ruffle or lace on face edges of flounces).”
  • MFA 37.459, America; “Fine white linen, cut in five pieces, joined by narrow bands of bobbin lace. Bordered, in part, by delicate vine pattern worked in chain-stitch with white linen thread.”
  • MFA 37.460, America; “Fine white linen gathered into small circular piece of bobbin lace at back below which is a fan shaped piece of bobbin lace. Flounce around face made of two pieces of linen joined by narrow strip of bobbin lace, and bordered with delicate flowering vine worked with white linen thread.”
  • MFA 41.101, America; “Ground: white linen. Design: curving stems bearing decorative flowers, leaves and berries, worked with white linen thread in stem, knot, satin and a variety of drawnwork stitches. Double ruffle of sheer white linen around face. Drawstring at back of neck.”
  • MFA 49.369, America; “Infant's embroidered linen cap; double flounce around face with delicate embriodered serpentine lines on upper one; narrow ruffle on face edge of each flounce.”
  • MFA 37.457, America; “White cotton, loosely woven, made of two pieces joined in the middle by a narrow band of bobbin lace (mechlin type). On each side a single floral spray worked with white linen thread in coarse satin stitch and a little drawn work. Edged with narrow bobbin lace (mechlin type).”
  • MFA 49.373, America; “Infant's embroidered mull cap; chain stitch minute flowering vines; band of Flemish bobbin lace insertion from center front to center back; drawstrings in crown seams, at face, and in neck.”
  • MFA 49.372, America; “Infant's embroidered mull cap; chain stitch floral sprig; band of Flemish bobbin lace insertion from center front to center back; very narrow bobbin lace ruffles at crown seams; (originally a ruffle of some sort around face); drawstrings in crown seams, around face, and at neck.”
  • MFA 52.1672, Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1728; “Forehead band and band extending down center back of cap crown embroidered with white linen thread in design of flowering stems with ornamental blossoms and leaves, seams hemstitched and trimmed with fine white linen herringbone stitch, fullness gathered at top of cap crown and by drawstring at back of cap crown, edged with bobbin lace.”
  • MFA 53.285, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap of fine white linen, made of one piece of material, cut and seamed, with crown gathered at center of forehead band, forehead band edged with Flemish bobbin lace.
  • MFA 53.286, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap of fine white linen, made of one piece withthe addition of an upper forehead band, center back of crown a roundel of gathered bobbin lace with fullness of crown evenly gathered into edges of lace roundel, narrow band of bobbin lace running from roundel, to center back edge, all edges trimmed with Flemish bobbin lace.”
  • MFA 49.949, Boston, Massachusetts, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap with shaped forehead piece embroidered with floral sprigs and border; line of cross stitching next to this piece's seam; gathered at back with above drawnwork panel with diamond pattern”
  • MFA 53.284, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap of fine white linen, fullness of crown gathered into top of double forehead bands, forehead bands edged with narrow Binche lace, drawstring in back”
  • MFA 53.283, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap of fine white linen, made all in one piece, except for addition of upper forehead band, in center back a short band of Binche lace, with fullness of crown gathered in semicircle at top of lace and gatheres embroidered into place, band of Binche lace in center of upper forehead band, edges trimmed with narrow Binche lace, seams hemstitched and trimmed with minute herringbone stitch worked with fine white linen thread.”
  • MFA 53.281, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's fine white linen cap, in center back of crown a small roundel of English bobbin lace into which fullness of cap is gathered, below lace roundel and above it and running through upper forehead band two widths of narrow English bobbin lace, lower forehead band plain, both forehead bands and lower edge of cap finished with Binche lace edgeing, seams hemstitched and trimmed with minute herringbone stitch worked with fine linen thread.”
  • MFA 53.280, America, mid-18th century; “Infant's cap of fine white linen with panel through center length of cap crown and forehead band of two widths of narrow Binche lace, double forehead band, the under one plain, both forehead bands edged with Mechlin lace, upper forehead band and cap crown embroidered with fine white linen thread in minute geometric and rosette forms, narrow linen tape drawstring at back.
  • SPNEA 1998.5794 and 1998.5795, a pair of infant’s caps attributed to Mrs. Thomas Fayerweather, c. 1750; both are linen, with a double face edge with scalloped seam and lace trim, and lace at the center back seam
  • MFA 49.943, Roxbury, Massachusetts, third quarter of the 18th century; “Infant's cap [taken apart] with gathers let out forming a rectangular piece of cloth, one end turned with scalloped inner edge with double row of embroidered dots, ruffled edge made of finer linen”
  • MFA 49.370, America; “Infant's linen cap; double flounce around face, each edged with narrow linen ruffle and upper one embroidered with minute quatrefoils and dots; crown gathered, in the center lace roundel and insertion band.”
  • MFA 99.664.1, Massachusetts, third quarter of the 18th century; “White infant's cap with lace edging and insertion at back, casing around face and neck with drawstrings at back, casings across middle and back sections with drawstrings inside”
  • MFA 49.947, Boston, Massachusetts, second half of the 18th century; “Infant's cap with ruffle of lighter-weight linen or mull trimmed with bobbin lace; casings and tape drawstrings around face and along bottom edge at back; gathers around circular insert at back”
  • MFA 49.946, Boston, Massachusetts, second half of the 18th century; “Infant's cap gathered at top with lighter-weight linen or mull ruffle; tape chin ties; casings with tape drawstrings around the face and along the bottom edge at the back”
  • MFA 49.945, Boston, Massachusetts, second half of the 18th century; “Infant's cap, very plain; interior forehead piece; gathered to point at back; plain ruffle around edge”
  • MFA 07.852, England(?); “An oval of fine needle point lace, design a flowering plant growing from a pot. In this piece, each stitch is twisted and worked over a thread, not punto avorio. This lace is inserted in a cap of fine linen decorated with drawn-work, laid-work and stiletto-work, the front of which has been cut off.”
  • MFA 49.948, America, last quarter of the 18th century; “Infant's cap with lighter-weight linen or mull ruffle trimmed with bobbin lace; casings and tape ties around face and along bottom edge at back; chin ties missing; side panels embroidered with two rows of off-set dots”
  • WHS 1955.335.2, a cotton baby’s bonnet with drawn thread work, Connecticut, 1780; “Off-white fine cotton; fit snuggly to back of head; all material is heavily gathered into small circle at top of crown; all edges finished off in a very fine off-white lace; brim has very fine off-white embroidered satin stitches, in zigzag and floral motifs; two horizontal parallel rows of drawn thread work run along top of head; no ties or fitting devices.”
  • MFA 99.664.58, Lexington, Massachusetts, late 18th century; “Infant's cap with plain lighter-weight linen (or lawn) ruffle around face, shaped middle section with peaks pointing to back, pieced back in symmetrical arrangement of triangular and rectangular sections, casing at neck with tape drawstring”
  • MFA 99.831, America, late 18th century; “Infant's cap with gathered crown; additional band sewn to middle section with lighter-weight linen (or lawn) ruffle and scalloped back edge, embroidered with cross stitching; additional lawn ruffle sewn to main body of the cap, drawstring at neck”
  • MFA 54.1338, America; “Infant's white linen cap with full crown, gathered into broad forehead band and having drawstring around bottom edge, front of forehead band turned back in points and embroidered with minute vine.”
  • WHS 1967.131, a baby bonnet with French knot embroidery, c. 1790-1820; “Ecru/brownish plain woven linen; crown of bonnet is made up of a large linen circle, surrounded by another ring of gathered linen; this is edged in self-piping and then finished with another band of linen which is embroidered in off-white with a twisted vine and berries made of french knots; again are two rows of self piping, one of which holds a twisted cord of cotton as a drawstring; the outer visor is decorated with french knots making zig-zag shapes as well as filling in with another vine done in satin stitch; another drawstring is fed through the first row of piping and tightens on the inside, at the back of the neck.”
  • MFA 99.664.57, Massachusetts, late 18th-early 19th century; “White infant's cap, circular insert at back, finer weave linen ruffle around face with tucks, braided tape ties at neck”
  • MFA 45.787, America, late 18th-early 19th century; “Infant's sheer white linen cap. Sheer white linen ruffle around face and neck, white mull tie.”
  • MFA 48.1299, America; “Infant's cap of white linen made in two pieces joined with central band of bobbin lace insertion running from center of forehead to center of back, edges trimmed with narrow white linen ruffle, drawstring in back.”
  • MFA 49.374, America; “Forehead band from infant's cap; white linen, double flounce, insertion of Flemish bobbin lace down the center; minute embroidered floral sprays.”
  • MFA 45.786, America, late 18th-early 19th century; “Infant's embroidered linen cap. Back of bobbin lace insertion, narrow bands of drawnwork in front of cap, each flanked by 3 rows of dots, between openwork bands openwork decorative leaves; design embroidered with white linen thread in buttonhole, satin, stem dot and openwork stitches.”
  • MFA 49.517, America, late 18th-early 19th century; “Infant's white mull cap made of two pieces put together with running from center front of forehead to center back of neck, all edges hemstitched, on each side a border design of delicate serpentine stems bearing eyelet berries and three lobed leaves, narrow ruffle of white mull round face, drawstring around entire cap, tied at center back”
  • MFA 45.785, America, late 18th-early 19th century; “Infant's sheer white linen cap. Band of bobbin lace insertion running from center front to center back, minute floral spray embroidered with white linen thread in oriental, chain and drawnwork stitches; on each side, sheer white linen ruffle on face and neck edges.”
  • MFA 45.784, America, late 18th-early 19th century; “White cotton, turned back band around face edged in points, worked with white linen thread in back, buttonhole and knot stitches, hemstitching and openwork at seam joinings, bobbin lace ruffle around edge of face and neck.”

Caps with hollie point

From the V&A’s website: “Professional lacemakers produced little needle lace in England in the 18th century. The technique was still popular with amateurs however. This type of needle lace is known as hollie stitch or hollie point. It is a knotted buttonhole technique in which the pattern appeared in the form of openings between the stitches. Women used hollie stitch for decorative panels, which they inserted into linen, in particular on baby clothes.”

  • Christie’s Lot 217 / Sale 5422, two bonnets with hollie point insertions
  • Flying Bedstead HollieP01, early 18th century; “Fine linen baby's bonnet with a circular section and two thin panels of Hollie Point; the roundel with a stylized vase of flowers, the back section and the long front section with similar elongated vase of flowers, flanked by two rows of loose buttonhole stitching, and edged with a double lace frill of Mechlin or Bucks Point bobbin lace. The centre of the bonnet has a row of cording to be pulled up in the top centre of the bonnet, and there is another fine cord round the edge.”
  • CW 1971-1573, England, c. 1700-1750; “Fine white linen baby's cap with hollie point insert at crown and back; on the crown are two birds facing each other amid flowering sprigs; on the back is a growing flower. Hollie point areas are bordered with a couched cord. The body of the cap is patterned with stripes of drawn work. At the face opening of the cap are two layers- one with stripes of drawnwork, the other plain, each with their own draw string. Lace trim on all edges.”
  • Meg Andrews 6080, mid-18th century; “of simple shape with double tiered flap edged with detached buttonhole stitch, the crown with a Hollie Point panel with a stylised flower in a pot, long narrow Hollie Point panels with stylised diamonds and stars, all edged by a double row of detached buttonhole stitch.”
  • MFA 34.153, England, 1752; “Made of fine linen with band of Hollie point in middle of back ending in small semi-circular piece into which are worked the initials S B and the date 1752. The design on the straight band consists of a crown and two geometric plant forms. Two narrow ruffles of bobbin lace, Mechlin type, edge the cap.”
  • MFA 51.238, England; “Small center of cap crown and band down back of cap of hollie point lace in star and crown pattern, fullness gathered and smocked into center of cap crown, seam and edges of forehead band hemstitched.”
  • MFA 24.442, England; “Made of fine linen with an oval medallion in the middle of the back of Hollie point. This medallion is made up of narrow strips sewed together each with a design of a flowering plant. A narrow strip of Hollie point crosses the band around the face, and the two narrow ruffles are edged with Valenciennes.”
  • MFA 24.441, England; “Made of fine linen, with an oval medallion in the middle of the back and straight bands of Hollie point. The design of the lace consists of flowering plants and two small birds.”
  • MFA 38.1123, England; “Hollie point. Fine linen with band and medallion of hollie point set in back of cap. The rest of the cap is plain except for raised foliage pattern, formed by pressing while damp, and slightly starched, on carved board.”
  • MFA 38.1125, England; “Hollie point. Infant's cap. Fine white linen with band of hollie point from front to back with the letter S and G or C in middle of back, over crown. The rest of cap plain except for fine seed stitches and raised detached lozenges formed by pressing while damp and slightly starched on carved board.”
  • MFA 38.1126, England; “Hollie point. Infant's cap. Fine white linen with circular medallion and narrow band of hollie point set in back. Basket of flowers in circular medallion. Rest of cap plain, except for raised lozenge lattice formed by pressing the linen while damp and slightly starched, on a carved board.”
  • MFA 38.1127, England; “Fine white linen with a pressed design of heads of grain or feathers, with band of hollie point with conventional floral pattern down middle of back, trimmed with narrow bobbin lace. Scallops and small eyelets on each side of middle panel.”
  • V&A 146 to D-1907 (“Thos Fry agedd 1 year 1776 Wroham Kent”), England
  • Christie’s Lot 3222 / Sale 4981, late 18th cenutry; “worked with 'George' and other motifs”

Quilted caps

  • MFA 38.1210, England (?), 17th-18th century; “Embroidered on white linen and lined with twill (linen warp and cotton weft) with wadding between, and quilted with white linen and embroidered with white linen thread”
  • MFA 1982.442, England, late 17th-early 18th century; “Linen corded cap constructed from three pieces, with edging. On each section on motif repeats--oval medallion with trefoil or flower at each end and concentric interior patterning.”
  • MFA 53.279, England, first half of the 18th century; “Infant's quilted and corded linen cap made in three pieces, on each piece a central design of navette shaped motive enclosing symmetrical stylized plant forms, borders on each piece of scroll motives, design of central motives quilted in back stitch, border quilted in running stitch”
  • MFA 37.456, America; “Fine white linen backed by coarser linen. cut in three pieces, a straight band in middle, oval pieces on the sides. Scrolls and single flowers quilted in relief are scattered on the surface, the ground is powdered with small dots worked with linen thread.”
  • MFA 38.1282, probably Dutch; “Cream white cotton. Interlacing all-over quilted pattern with details in punched holes and French knots. Bobbin lace around face. Two narrow ribbon ties.”
  • MFA 38.1378, a quilted cap which matches a jacket, Germany; “White linen with design of tangent concentric circles crossed by a lattice (pulled in quilting worked in back stitch with small figure worked with white linen on spaces between circles). Narrow bobbin lace around face.”
  • MFA 38.1283, France, 18th-19th century; “Quilted grayish white silk infant's cap, embroidered in conventionalized floral design in back stitches, with small knots and some surface stitches. Lined with white taffeta, and bound with white ribbon. One ribbon tie.”

Embroidered silk caps

  • MFA 38.1314, Italy; “Ground: white satin. Design: flowers, trees and fruit, worked in satin stitch with pink, orange, blue, green, brown, violet, yellow, and black silk, and some gold thread. Trimmed with narrow gold bobbin lace, and knots of flat silver wound on parchment (?). Narrow bobbin lace, worn and stained, around inside of cap.”
  • MFA 38.1313, Italy; “Ground: white satin. Design: flowers, trees, and fruit, worked in satin stitch with pink, orange, blue, green, brown, violet, yellow, and black silk, and some gold thread. Trimmed with pink silk fringe, and narrow gold bobbin lace.”
  • MFA 38.1311, France or Italy; “Ground: yellow silk. Design: flowers worked with chenille thread, silver thread and spangles. Trimmed with silver bobbin lace.”
  • MFA 38.1295, France; “Ground: pink silk. Design: rococo flowers embroidered with crystal beads. Trimmed with silver bobbin lace.”
  • Maria Niforos EI-22, “fine silk embroidered floral bouquets tied with ribbons. There are ornate meandering leaves and flowers worked in metallic threads and tiny sequins with a wider metallic fringe border around the edge.”
  • CW 1971-1386, France, c. 1710-1730
  • MFA 01.10, christening cap, Germany, c. 1775; “White satin trimmed with silver lace and decorated with bunches of silver flowers, made of bouillion, spangles and small pieces of silver. Lined with pink satin.”
  • LACMA M.81.71.8, France, late 18th century
  • MRAH, silk with metal-thread embroidery and lace, c. 1791-1800