November Tea Party Winners: Carrie Fancett Pagels' copy of The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection - Debbie Curto, Christmas tea - Andrea Stephens, Golden Tea body wash Joy Ellis, lighthouse earrings -- Pegg's SIL from Lake Ann and Perrianne Askew, Pegg Thomas's Leather journal - Shelia Hall, and Writing Prompts book goes to - Connie Porter Saunders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mob Caps

Abigail Adams - wife of John Adams
The mob cap was a simple head covering commonly worn during America's Colonial period. It came into fashion in the early 18th Century and survived well into the 19th Century. It varied in size and style quite a bit from country to country and year to year. Early versions of the mob cap included side flaps that came down and tied under the chin. This was considered flattering for the more mature lady whose chin had fallen prey to gravity.
Mob cap with sides - not tied
Head coverings were necessary in Colonial days. Bathing was infrequent and a mob cap kept the woman's hair clean. And hidden. (Because they didn't bathe frequently.) Modesty also played a part. A woman without her hair covered was considered undressed. Mob caps were essentially for indoor wear. When the lady ventured outdoors, she'd cover the mob cap with a hat or hood. 

Martha Washington - wife of George Washington
Hat worn over mop cap

The construction of the mob cap was simple, a circle of fabric drawn around the head with a ribbon or band. (Although we see them made with elastic in reenactment clothing, it's good to remember that elastic had not been invented yet when these caps were popular.) Some were elaborately pleated, but most were gathered. The amount of fabric left before the band to form the ruffle varied from almost none to enough to shade the face. Depending on where one lived, the fabric might be linen, cotton, or even gauze, but all were starched.


Even after the mob cap had fallen out of fashion with society's elite, it continued as everyday wear for the working class and servants for many more years. In fact, it still survives today in most operating rooms around the country.
French Serving Maid Knitting
~ Pegg Thomas


  1. Loved the post and the pictures, Pegg. Thanks.

  2. It was fun looking through the old paintings to find examples from different countries. The gal from Germany holding the full teacup like that makes my fingers ache. :)

  3. Great post. Thanks to Carrie, I have my own mob cap! 😆

  4. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to keep the mobcap on, as well as keep the hair from working its way out! I have a modern day version with elastic which provides a more secure fit. Thanks for these wonderful pictures, Pegg!

    1. Thy always talk about the hair pins. I don't know exactly what those looked like, but they seem to fall out whenever a good looking guy came near. ;)

  5. Enjoyed the pictures and information on the mob caps.

  6. Thanks for this post. I'm looking for a pattern to make a mob cap that an 18th century Quaker lady might have worn. And one for a younger lady as well.

    1. Check out this book: https://books.google.com/books?id=0E4oAAAAYAAJ&dq=quaker+mob+cap&source=gbs_navlinks_s

  7. Thanks! I actually think we should bring the mob cap back into fashion. Think about it ... not more worrying about a BAD HAIR DAY! I could get behind that.


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