Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Regency exoticism: millinery edition

Having made a Regency-era net dress, and having a small amount of silk left over, it seemed like a good idea to complete the outfit by making a turban with ostrich feathers.

It consists of a cap made from a circle of fabric gathered onto a band, with a strip of fabric wound around it and tacked in place to make it resemble a turban.  And ostrich feathers.  I found the optimal number of ostrich feathers was two.  One wasn't quite enough, and three looked more showgirl than Regency.

Here's a full length shot with the rest of the outfit.

Technically this is an imitation turban, not a real one, because it's actually made by draping a rectangular silk panel around a cap.  Some Regency-era turbans were made by winding a long piece of fabric around the head, more like a real turban, but there were also hats that imitated turbans and this project represents my best guess as to how such faux-turbans were constructed.  It's not the most educated guess I've ever made, because sometimes you just want a hat, not a trip down the research rabbit hole, but it replicates the look of Regency turbans as seen in paintings and fashion illustrations.

Fashion plate, date missing (late 1790รข€™s?)
Here, for example, is a turban hat from around the end of the 1790s.

And here is a portrait of Countess Franziska von Weissenwolff, also from around 1800.

HSM details

The challenge:  Fabric manipulation.  This is a Regency-era turban hat made by draping and pleating a long strip of cloth around a fabric cap.

Material: Around .4 of a meter of silk.

Pattern: N/A

Year:  Late 1790s to early 1800s.

Notions:  Two ostrich feathers.

How historically accurate is it?  Probably no more than 50-60%.  Turban hats like this did exist, but really I just made it up as I went along.

Hours to complete:  4-ish.

First worn: Last weekend.

Total cost: $28. 


  1. I *love* the turban/hat. The color, the feathers, everything.

    The net overgown does not quite look the way I expected it to. I like the way it accents the sleeves of the white gown, but I expected it to be longer. Still, it gives a good (if unusual) period affect, and it matches the turban/hat well.

    1. Thanks! The net dress this one is based on was longer, in fact it had a train. But it wasn't feasible for me to spend quite that much time making fish net, so I made a shorter version. There are historical precedents for shorter net dresses like mine from around 1800, as in the fashion plate shown here: http://agreeabletyrant.dar.org/gallery/1800-1810/cotton-netted-overdress/