St. Birgitta Cap

St. Birgitta Cap

Extant St. Birgitta Cap –
Read all about the St. Birgitta Cap and it’s fancy (3 row!) insertion stitch in Dahl & Sturtewagen’s article, The Cap of St. Birgitta, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4, pages 99-129.

I have been wanting to make one of these caps for years, but felt very intimidated by the center embroidery. I am so glad I finally sat down and took the time to figure it out, totally worth it!

I had to attempt the ‘1-row’ version of the interlaced herringbone several times, each try getting a tiny bit better, before I finally got it right! I tried to address those things I was getting wrong in the video below, hopefully I can help someone else avoid the same mistakes!

I was so excited when I figured it out!

After a dozen attempts before I got the simple version right, I was surprised that I was able to get the ‘3-row’ version correct on the first try. I think that getting the basics down, and firmly understood really helped make the more complicated version clear. Your own mileage may vary of course.

I made a second video which shows me working on the three row version of the interlaced herringbone stitch, and making the cap itself! It is absurdly long at 40 minutes total, so feel free to jump ahead as needed!

The manuscript images I used were mostly from the The Maciejowski (Morgan) Bible, and there’s more on Larsdatter (great website!).

Linen fabric I used is from Fabrics-Store.com.

I mentioned it earlier, but again, this post wouldn’t have been possible without
Dahl & Sturtewagen’s article, The Cap of St. Birgitta, in the book Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4. It’s awesome, check it out!

Lol, I just noticed there’s a stray bit of thread on my back 😆

I try to post my projects in an easy to read, dress diary type format. When I first started learning to sew historical outfits, I found dress diaries to be the most helpful learning tools. I want to contribute my projects in the hopes that they will prove just as useful for others.

2 comments on “St. Birgitta Cap
  1. Lakota says:

    I am blown away by this cap. I will definitely give the St. Birgitta a try.

  2. Bree says:

    Hi Morgan,
    Sorry to creep on you here but I am struggling to recreate this stitch on my own. You say to use the one-row version to help figure out this version but the main issue I have is figuring out how to put down the initial six rows on this larger version. Based on the video it looks like you only start the stitches on one side for the base strands, but in the smaller version, you start on the top and bottom. Would you be able to post more pictures of how the start and end of each row of stitches look and where they are placed? If not a more wordy explanation on where all the strands should start and end would also help greatly.

    I understand that the rows you are showing seem to hop from right to left of the initial row, but that still makes it quite confusing to me on how to start and finish each row/strand. I love this stitch and want to put it to use on the cap I am making for my sister, but I only have another month for the embroidery and in the last month I haven’t made much progress on figuring out the upgrade to the larger version.

    I really appreciate any advice or help you can give. I love the videos and hope you keep making them.

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