— by Christian de Holacombe, Guild Chronicler
Simple quilted caps like the one at right
are among the few complete garments that have survived
from the Mamluk era (14thc.) in the southern Mediterranean.
This cap is perhaps a kalautah, a type of cap worn by
itself indoors, or with a turban wound around it for outdoors.
Simple caps like this, often decorated with embroidery,
are still worn daily by many men in Asian and Western
Asian or Mediterranean cultures.
This particular original, now in the Cleveland Museum,
is made from a green, brown and dark blue silk with an
Arabic inscription proclaiming “Glory to our master,
the Sultan!” The lining is linen, and it appears
to be quilted in a pattern of overlapping hexagons. It
is made with a straight band that goes around the head,
and a pieced top made from six slightly curved triangular
sections. The whole cap is about five inches tall.
As mentioned earlier, garments like this in our period seem
mostly to have been quilted in simple, utilitarian patterns.
But I’ve let the quilt
from Noin Ula inspire me to design a slightly different
cap, decoratively quilted in spirals, which you’ll find
a pattern for below.
easiest to do the quilting before cutting the fabric and assembling
the cap. To make a cap sized to fit you, wind a measuring tape
horizontally around your head just above your eyebrows. Note
this measurement, add two inches for ease, and you have your
working head measurement. The ups and downs of quilting “take
in” the fabric a little, so the pieces will shrink a little
after you’ve quilted them — that’s what the
extra two inches are for. Mark a rectangle three inches wide
and as long as this measurement on your fabric, and add half
an inch on all four sides for seams. This is your headband,
but don’t cut it out yet!
Now divide your working measurement by 4, which will be the
width of your pattern. Trace
or copy the pattern below, and adjust its size so that the width
of the pattern repeat (between red lines) is the same as this
width you just calculated. Transfer the bottom quilting design
onto the headband you’ve marked on the cloth, lining it
up so there are exactly four repeats.
Then draw and mark four triangles like the pattern (adding
half an inch on all sides for seams) — if you’re
using scraps, which this is a good project for, the triangles
can be cut from any scrap that’s big enough as long as
they are on the straight grain. Copy the three-cornered spiral
pattern onto them.
Sandwich a thin batting between your marked fabric and a plain
backing. For the most medieval “look,” use cotton
batting, and quilt closely. Some cotton battings have been “stabilized”
and look rather like thick felt; these are easier to work with.
When the quilting is done, cut out the pieces. Remember to include
||Here’s a good position
for your hands while quilting, either with running stitches
or back stitches.
|You can simply sew the pieces
of the cap together through all fabric thicknesses, beginning
with the four sides of the top, leaving the seam allowances
inside to be covered later by strips of fabric or by a lining.
||A neater looking, but somewhat finicky, method
is to put two pieces with their right sides together, fold
back the batting, and seam just the top fabrics.
|Flatten the seam, turn it over
so the lining side is up, trim any batting that overlaps
||....then turn under one edge of a lining piece and stitch
it down just through the lining on the other piece.
The finished product!