A Valentine’s Chocolate Box Juliet Cap: Margo Anderson’s Cuffietta Pattern

“You are a seamstress. Borrow Cupid’s needle, and sew with them fine edges bound” –Not Mercutio

Exactly two years ago in 2021, Margo’s Patterns, which specializes in Renaissance era patterns for men and women, offered to let me help pattern test some of her newer patterns.

The first pattern up for testing was an Italian Cuffietta, a Patreon-exclusive at the time, now part of Pattern 029. This pretty design is based on the little football-shaped caps worn in a few late 15th century Italian portraits (most famously Ludovica Tornabuoni) and made famous by productions of Romeo and Juliet, which have dressed Juliet’s actress in such caps for centuries. Thanks to its iconic association with the Shakespearean play, the style is are commonly known as a “Juliet cap” in both fashion history and modern bridal wear.

I was excited to try out this pattern because it was a small project, perfect for breaking a sewing drought, and because it gave me an opportunity to use a pearl necklace I accidentally destroyed a few weeks earlier!

So that’s why my brain’s been all fuzzy! All my pearls of wisdom rolled away.

It was also nearing Valentine’s Day and it seemed fitting to make a red velvet “chocolate box” style cap for English Lit’s most popular tragic lover.

The pattern recommended buckram, but I used some bee-printed cotton duck soaked in a 50/50-ish mix of Aleene’s Tacky Glue and water. It worked like a charm! I applied the mixture with a paint brush, making sure the cloth was soaked enough to be wet through, but not so much that pools of glue would leave plastic-y spots on the surface. I did it on a piece of aluminum foil so I could easily peel it off when it dried. Don’t use wax paper or plastic wrap. The wax paper disintegrates with the moisture and tears. The plastic wrap too easily wrinkles, causing your homemade buckram to wrinkle as well. Foil is much easier to keep smooth and remove later.

I used this fabric for my Jaco”bee”an Jacket, too. I’ll get a post for that project written soon!

The directions were very easy to follow, even the part where you have to zig-zag the butted center seam together, something I’d never done before. I sewed floral wire from Dollar Tree around the edge by hand rather than by machine. Same for the binding made from a scrap of bias tape. At this stage, Chris walked in and asked if I was finally giving up and sewing my own bras after whining for years about the terrible state of the American underwear market. And that’s when I realized my boobs were the same size as my head!

34 J US for reference, LOL!

To hide the seam, I used some double-layer gauze I got from Walmart and then covered the whole thing in some rayon velvet cut from a shirt I’d been hoarding from Goodwill since 2014.

If you are making a solid cap instead of a net one, velvet is the perfect fabric because it hides stitches, it grips the hair to hold the cap in place, and it is bougie as heck!

The decoration portion is entirely up to personal preference. I decided to combine the chocolate box and historical netting looks together, stash-busting some thin metallic gold ribbon applied in a criss-cross pattern which I then decorated with the pearls from the broken necklace.

I opted to sew everything on by hand rather than hot glue for once. It took twice as long to decorate as it did to assemble the base, but it was worth it.

The cap was complete! But to properly show it off, you also need the period-appropriate hairstyle. My natural hair is very tent-shaped, randomly wavy, and unruly–like spaniel ears.

But seriously, it’s uncanny!

And, it seems, that works out in my favor because my favorite wild-hair eras are full of dog-ear hairstyles!

Woof! 1450-1500 (Allegorical Portrait of a Lady), 1660-1680 (Portrait of a Woman), 1820-1850 (Anonymous Portrait of a Woman)

To achieve a properly puppy-eared late 15th century hairstyle, I center parted my hair. Then I parted out my bottom layer of hair by running my thumbs along the sides of my head diagonally from my temples, leaving a curtain of hair hanging around the bottom half of my head. The top I gathered into a tight bun. I used the same clip-on ponytail hairpiece that I used for my Game of Thrones hairstyle, turning it into one thick braid and wrapping some of the gold ribbon around it. Attach it to the bun and wrap the braid into a thick coil at the back of the head. The bottom curtain of hair I curled with my thinnest curling iron. Gently separate the curls with your fingers.

You will look goofy until the last moment. That’s how you know you’re doing it right!

When you’re done, you’ll realize how nicely the Cuffietta/Juliet Cap finishes off the look!

You may also discover that in addition to looking smashing as a cap, a cuffietta makes an excellent multi-purpose accessory!

Interested in more Italian Renaissance costuming? I’m working on a short write-up about my pattern test for Margo’s Italian Renaissance Gamurra pattern! It will be posted soon.

In the meantime, you can check out my adventure making the Simplicity “Ever After” dress pattern (the one you see in the pics of my cuffietta) or visit one of my favorite Italian Renaissance costume blogs: “Diary of a 1480s Florentine Gown” by Jen of Festive Attyre! She has her own version of Ludovica’s cap on there, too, if you’re interested in seeing what a net cuffietta looks like.

Let them eat Twinkies! Recreating 18th C. Fashion on a Budget

The 18th Century is a challenge to costume on a budget, but with patience, ingenuity, and a little rule-bending, you can create a decent 1700s ensemble for your next costume party! Of course, if you were transported back in time to the French court, you probably wouldn’t get mistaken for a courtier for a minute, but for today’s events, however, this is an excellent way to make a Halloween or theater costume without having to dip into your child’s college fund!

1700s Court Silhouette 101:

Square or wide, low scoop neck
3/4 or fitted long sleeves
HUGE hips
“Natural”, corseted waistline

Let them eat Triple Fudge Devil’s Food Cake! ($$$)

Custom, historical court gowns 1730-1780s

Custom by hhfashions

Custom by OneDelightfulDay

Custom by redthreaded


Let them eat Confetti Cake! ($$)

Casual Day Outfit 1760-1780s:

Medium panniers
Louis-heeled shoes
Hair decor (feathers, ribbons, hats, etc.)

Vintage by veronicasclothing

Vintage by bombshellbettiesvint

Custom by LitttleBits

 New by The Vermont Country Store

Vintage by DianaDwain

Vintage by JLVintage

The goal of this project is to mimic the silhouette of the dress. For the sake of cheapness, we are forgoing most of the traditional layers that go under the dress: corset, slip, underdress, etc. You can add these if your dress and budget allow. The panniers are the indispensable part of this outfit. Panniers can be crafted in a wide range of styles, but the easiest is the “dumpling” or stuffed-pouch style.  You can make your own by sewing wide tubes of fabric and stuffing them with polyfill, then tying them around your waist.
Some vintage pieces can often be used (some Gunne Sax dresses, for example) with the simple addition of a good pannier. Many dresses with a full skirt and square neck can be modified with a pair of ruffled 3/4 length sleeves, a  jacket, or a triangular faux stomacher. Find the perfect dress to use, but it’s way too short? Layer a long skirt in a similar color underneath.  This project tests all of your creative faculties and can be as easy or challenging as you like!


Let them eat Twinkies! ($)

Chemise á la Reine 1780-1790s:

Long Chemise with sleeves
Wide Belt or Sash
Wide Brim Hat
Louis-heeled shoes
Decorations (flowers, bows, ribbon, feathers, etc.)

Custom by camelots0closet

Vintage by DollyrockerVintage

Custom by ccdoodle

Vintage by VintageRetreauxgirl

Vintage by MontanaSnowVintage


What made this gown so scandalous when Marie Antoinette first wore it is what makes this dress so fun and easy to wear! It’s a well-made, loose dress with a wide belt or tie (usually satin) paired with some simple accessories: a wide straw hat and some pretty heels. The better part? You are considered a chic, upper-crust lady! The best part? You can re-use the chemise dress for your other costumes! Win-win-win!


Let them bake their own!


Rococo by Nehelenia Patterns

Sewing a Chemise de la Riene with Maggie

Tips and tricks:

If you find a good jacket that is too small and won’t close in the front, you can craft a stomacher to fill in the gap, creating the perfect top to a late 1700s dress. You can also trim the neckline of a dress into a square and use iron-on hemming tape to finish it in a pinch.

One theater troop I worked with made panniers out of pillows! They just sewed a length of rope or ribbon to the corners and tied them around their waists in pairs.

Make add-on sleeves by sewing a tube of fabric that fits your arm from shoulder to elbow, then elasticizing the ends.

Add a long white skirt and bumroll under your chemise a la reine for extra sumptuousness!

Hair! hair! HAIR! Curls and puffs everywhere! You can keep it simple and natural by just curling your hair into spirals, or go all out with Bump-its and ringlets. Fancy dresses demand fancy hair while simpler, later styles mostly need body and wave.

For more information on the ringleaders of Rococo Fashion, Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette, visit The Ladies of Rococo: Beyond Bows and Ruffles