Back in 2009, I wrote up instructions on how to make a small day cap after seeing one worn at the San Francisco Dickens Faire.
Carolyn's started as a piece of lace as the base, then she sewed ribbon and more lace around it.
When I came home, I started making my own, first using a shoulder pad, then later just cutting an oval of Thermalan fleece used for quilting. Using a shoulder pad tends to keep it smaller since you only have that surface to sew your laces too. I had a huge stash of different laces and had fun using them all.
I started with a 4x6” white shoulder pad from JoAnn’s. I cut and sewed a piece of flat lace to fit the area just on top of the pad. If your shoulder pad has a yellowish tint to it, make sure this covers it. You might even use a piece of solid white fabric, like a moire taffeta. Then I sewed a longer lace around the back outside edge. I sewed it all by machine and used a wide zigzag stitch to sew it on. My lace was straight, so I made tiny tucks under each pin for it to curve.
I used a curved lace around the top edge of that lace to cover the edges.
Finally I sewed a flat ribbon across the top to each side, and a bow in the back. I think later I also put bows on either side that hung down the side of my head.
These were mostly meant to be worn indoors, to keep your head covered at all times, or to wear under your bonnet. And they looked very pretty peeking out. I've seen this style mostly in the late 1840s up to the 1860s, and a smaller one in 1882.
This is an antique one I aspire to copy next. It goes to show you don't have to do it all white or all black. This one looks like it used a base of a solid color fabric, then layered with ruched ribbons and lace added to that. Such a pretty and frothy little thing.
These are a collection of different ones I found in my Petersen's book.