Evening cap, tambour work, metallic thread, maker unknown, Europe, 1918-1920
This evening cap is an example of the type of fashion accessories worn and valued by women post World War I. The close-fitting style of the cap would have complemented the cropped, short, sleek hair styles of the 1920s and the use of metallic thread fashioned in tambour work, foreshadows the revived materials and looks observed in today's contemporary clothing and accessory designs.
The 1920s were characterised by a radical alteration in fashion due to the socio economic changes that occurred as a result of the First World War. During the war years, women took on many of the roles and work previously considered masculine and when the war ended, women refused to give up their new found independence. The fashion of the post-war period expressed women's self-assurance. A youthful, carefree look and androgynous style was the key note of the decade in radical contrast with fashion from previous periods. The boyish silhouette of short hair, shorter hemlines, no defined waistline and flat chests is the look synonymous with the 1920s style. Clothing was less restrictive and more comfortable. One school of thought rationalises the boyish fashion and mannish behaviour of drinking and smoking in public, as women trying to take the place of the many young men who had been lost in the war.
The 1920s were also significant for liberalising fashion. The invention of the sewing machine meant that fashion was no longer the prerogative of the aristocratic and wealthy. The sewing machine made clothes cheap and more widely available. It also meant fashion promotion to the masses became a highly lucrative commercial proposition.
This style of cap is typical of the silhouette style of the 1920s. The maker of the cap is unknown.
The tambour industry began in Ireland, England and Belgium in the late 1820s. Tambour lace is made by stretching a fine net over a frame that resembles a drum and creating a chain stitch using a fine hook similar to a crochet hook to reach through the net and draw the working thread through the net.
This evening cap in silver metallic thread was donated to the donor's church for a jumble sale. The provenance is unknown.