Happy 2021 everyone! With the new year, it’s time for the looking back & looking forward posts, but I thought I’d start with my first finished project for 2021. A new hat!
I started this 1830s bonnet after finishing my 1830s dress, which I took pictures of with my Regency bonnet. The styles are similar enough to work, but hats did grow a bit more in the 1830s to match the wider skirts and bigger sleeves. For my bonnet, I wanted something that’d work with both my green and my gold dress, and I settled on a white/brown combination of fabrics.
And, I actually used a pattern! That was quite helpful, as bonnets are complicated. Mine was the Romantic period bonnet pattern by Lynn McMasters.
My main inspiration for the trim and look was this bonnet from Costumes Parisiens (1834)
I found some ribbon which was perfect for the style, and set off to work. That took a while, as I don’t particularly enjoy making hats, so I worked on it on and off since October. I made the frame, wired it, mulled it, and covered it, and these last past days I stitched on the trim to finish it.
So now it’s done, which means I have a full 1830s outfit to wear to outside events as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to take these out on a picnic sometime this year!
A while back, someone on the Jane Austen forum I’m a (not very active) member of asked if people wanted to join in an order for straw bonnets. A friend of mine already had one which was lovely, so I decided to join in. And then someone else suggested to have a bonnet-decorating meetup when they came in. Which was a great idea, and I had a really lovely afternoon looking for trims, sewing on ribbons and placing flowers. It was also great to get to know everyone, and join up with people with the same weird hobby.
So after that day, I had a half-finished bonnet! I managed to do most of the outside trimming that day, and finished off the lining at home. That’s also why I only have pictures of the second part. The straw base for the bonnet is the Eliza from Austentation. The pleated trim I bought as is. I was actually planning to pleat ribbon for the trim, so when I saw this one I figured I’d save myself some time.
To line the bonnet I first needed a pattern. I pinned some paper in the hat to get the shape of the brim. By drawing a pencil line I got the outline for the brim pattern.
Because I wanted the lining to be gathered I divided half of the pattern into strips and cut them out. Re-spacing them to make it about 2x as wide gave me the final pattern. I didn’t quite get the curve right in the end, but I’d cut enough fabric for it not to matter. After gathering both the inner and outer edge I re-cut it to shape.
The brim lining was made with 4 pieces to line the edges and a circle for the crown. The whole lining was stitched in place around the brim and at a couple of points where the brim meets the crown. The crown was left loose.
Finally, the edge was finished with bias tape. It’s all stitched by hand, which was a bit of a pain as it meant sewing through 2 layers of straw plus 5 layers of cotton. It is pretty though.
The finished bonnet! It has pleated trim around the base of the brim and over the crown. The flowers are plastic and bought as is. The bow hides the base of the flowers and was made with ribbon. The decorative bias tape around the brim finishes the lining and was bought as is.
The decoration is all on one side, leaving the other side simple.
These show the lining, gathered around the brim.
Some different perspectives of the flowers and bow.
And I couldn’t resist putting it on my bear. Doesn’t she look fabulous in it?
When I decided to make a spencer jacket so I could wear my new regency dress outside, I also immediately had a whole other list of ‘things to make’. I needed a bonnet, and as my hands get very cold I wanted a muff. And as I was looking at fashion plates, I also noticed that there’s usually a chemisette worn beneath spencers, so I also wanted one of those. Only problem; I had about 3 weeks to make everything, while working full time and doing all other stuff I already planned. I started with the spencer, as seen in the previous post. After this, the priority was the bonnet.I managed to finish those on time, so I also made a muff. It’s so simple, but very nice with the cold weather! I made mine of white faux fur and lined it with white cotton. I also put some fiber fill between the fur and cotton layer, for extra isolation. Finally, I sewed hooks and eyes to the inside and made a ribbon. The hooks make the ribbon detachable.
For the chemisette, I based my pattern on one of the chemisettes in Janet Arnolds’ book. Of course, I loved the one with all the little pleating in front and mushroom pleated collar. I decided to just start with the garment and see how far I’d come, but I actually finished on time. I only made 6 pleats on each side of the front piece. Mostly, I must admit, because it was a pain to do and I thought it looked good enough this way. All the pleats are set in place by repeated ironing and then sown with tiny stitches to secure it. The collar I improvised, having no clue how to mushroom pleat a collar. This chemisette is also the first garment I completely sewed by hand!
The photo quality is bad, but you can just see the tiny stitches to keep the pleats in place.
Last weekend, I wore the whole outfit, and had a lovely day. I made almost everything I’m wearing, with the exception of the leggings and thermo shirt underneath to keep warm. I’m wearing my stays, blue dotted regency dress, spencer jacket, chemisette, muff and bonnet. My friend took some lovely pictures of me.
When I decided to make a spencer jacket to be able to wear my blue Regency dress outside, I figured that was also the perfect opportunity to finally make up a bonnet. A few years back I bought a straw half-sunhat-thing on a discount which would be a perfect base for a straw bonnet. I delayed decorating until I had something to wear it with though, and now I’m glad I did because it fits with my dress now!
My main inspiration was the blue/straw bonnet in this fashion plate:
Although the straw bonnet is a regency stereotype, I believe fabric-covered bonnets were actually more common. Most fashion plates show other types. The straw version was easiest to make though, so I chose that. Aside from the blue ribbon, I really wanted flower decorations to fancy it up a bit.
I bought a fabric (plastic) flower from Xenos and took off the blossoms. I then pinned them to the side and pinned the ribbon over it to see what it would look like. This was the approved version.
I started with sewing on the ribbons to tie it close
I then glued on the flowers with my glue-gun. Not very period, but the whole thing is plasticky anyway, and it wasn’t going to show.
I don’t really trust glue, so I sewed on the flowers for good measure.
And then I sewed on the blue ribbon around the brim.