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The Gathered Mob Cap

For those of you out there who do Rev or Civ war stuff, this might come in handy. It’s basic, but it get’s the look. You’ll probably want to make the stitches smaller than I’ve shown. The following instructions assume that you have already made your Basic Brim Patterns. If you have not, you’ll want to follow the link and do so.

Note: These directions do not teach a modern Milliery approach to hat-making. I’ve completely eliminated the use of standard hat sizes and head-size ovals, because I’m assuming that most of the people reading this are *not* trying to set up a hat-making shop. The method I’ve worked out below works, but does not produce standardized patterns sizes unless you are one of the lucky few who actually possesses a standard size head.

The Large Crown Pattern


These crowns start with your Basic Brim Pattern without Seam Allowances. You will also need a piece of fabric (the size depends on, or may determine, the size of the crown you make), a ruler, a marking device (chalk is preferable to the sharpie I use in this demo!), sewing machine, scissors, thread, and three hand needles and strong buttonhole thread (these last two are for the cartridge pleated hat only).


Place the brim pattern on the fabric. We’re going to enlarge
it by marking out from it with a ruler. I generally enlarge by no more than twice the width of my brim. In this case, my brim is 2″, so I am adding 4.5″ (2×2″ + 1/2″ seam allowance).


When you finish marking, you’ll have a great big oval.
Using your ruler, transfer the Side and Front/Back marks to the outside edge of the oval you just marked. Cut this oval out.

For the Cartridge Pleated Crown


Turn up the seam allowance around the oval and machine
stitch it down at 1/4″. You will use this stitch line as a guide
for your cartridge pleat stitches.

I find it easiest to work all three lines of stitch simultaneously. Thread three needles each with a long doubled piece of buttonhole thread. Starting at the outer edge of the crown, sew large running stitches (about 3/4″ long) for 10″ or so along the stitching line. Start the second needle 1/2″ in from the first, matching the stitches up with the first line. Here’s the tricky bit: these stitches will be a hair shorter than the first row. Since we’re working with an oval, think of these stitches like they’re hitting on the edges of thin little pieces of pie — the closer they are to the center, the shorter they are. Start the 3rd needle 1/2″ in from the second. Repeat in 10″ segments around the crown.


After sewing, pull up the threads to bring the crown into
a standing shape, instead of a big flat oval. Use the Basic Brim Pattern without Seam Allowances to check the size. When you’ve got it, knot the gathering threads securely inside the hat.


You should end up with something that looks a little like
a popover.



  1. Sarah Leewy
    Sarah Leewy March 4, 2010

    This didnt help!

    • missa
      missa March 5, 2010

      Hi, Sarah,

      I’d love to improve the article so it’s more helpful. Can you give me some idea of what you were expecting or hoping for? It’s really hard for me to make improvements without criticism that is specific.


  2. Grace Schosser
    Grace Schosser June 9, 2011

    There were different types of mobcaps. I suspect Sarah was looking for directions on making one of the other types, probably the classic mobcap that was a circle, gathered with a ribbon about two inches in, so it has a flounce that might be edged in lace. I know I was looking for dimensions on that type when I found your page. In case anyone reads this who is also looking for dimensions on that type, so far I have 9″ radius with the ribbon at 7″ out in directions from Colonial Williamsburg. I think I’m going with that.

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