Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Caps I stitched

Seeing my great keenness and skill with tennis ball cricket on our street in the early 70s, Dr.Shivaram who was in the opposite house gave a woolen cap that he no longer needed.  It was of Mysore Medical College and black in colour with an embroidered logo on it, like this:

I was over the moon wearing it and felt like an international cricketer!  Looking at my head shadow in the sun with the cap on thrilled me no end!  The skull cap with peak was something fantastic.  That was my first cap which I used for a long time.  It lasted even a couple of seasons into my league cricket which I entered in 1978-79.

I used to see old cricket pictures in magazines.  One particular picture impressed me.  It was of Dr.W.G.Grace. He belonged to the late 19th century and an amazing personality.  It was a fashion in that era to wear such skull caps. The unique striped pattern was striking!  

"WG" - see his cap. [Image from the web]

I had also made a drawing of WG copying it from the sports magazine in 1977-78.

In the mid 1980s, I began to play tennis also.  So I could not wear that black 'doctor cap'.  Pictures of tennis players sporting white caps in the sports magazines impressed me.  I thought why cannot I make one myself so that it helps keep the sun out while I played cricket also.

We have a sewing machine.  I learnt sewing skills by observing my mother.  I had even attempted to stitch two cotton shirts for myself!  They had come off reasonably well.  I was wearing them too.  I had also learnt to repair/alter my dresses when it was needed. With this background, I saw the possibility of cap-stitching.  The main thing was the proper shape and peak.  For the peak I had found an old plastic file in my workplace. It did not have the required stiffness but it served the purpose for my trial.   The black doctor cap had got worn out and too ragged for use.  I opened out the seams and separated the pieces for my 'standard model'. 

A new white cotton towel which was not in use was chosen to cut for my first trial cap.  There it is:

Since it turned out well, I wanted to try with better cloth.  My late grandfather's coats were chosen as they were no longer required.  One was a beautiful cream coloured thick woolen coat.  There were two other striped sports blazers from Mysore Sports Club that were of my grandfather who was its founder member.  Pictures below.  Observe the blazers. One of them may be from the late 30s and the other from late 40s, in my guesstimate.

My father wore it a few times for special occasions such as these above.  You can spot him there!

Both the striped blazers had been hit by silverfish, but not the cream one.  Yet, I decided to cut all three.  I found that two caps were possible from the undamaged portions of the striped coats, something like WG's.  It came out so well that it remains my favourite since almost 30 years!  Here it is:

I wanted to achieve the shape of the famous Australian 'Baggy Green' for my cream cap.  

I could not achieve it and ended only in the normal shape.

The back elastic is 'gone' now - so it looks weird here.

In the following slideshow you will see most of the caps I still use.  I gave away a few in the early stages.
I am glad to have recycled left over pieces of cloth in this manner!

Click link.

Many good caps came to me thereafter.  But I still enjoy wearing the ones I made myself. 

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