January 6, 2016

And the First Project of 2016 is...an 1820s Bonnet!

The title says it all!  For the first project of this new year (and the last project before college), I revisited the Mad for Plaid UFO (or UnFinished Object) that I began last January and made a matching late 1820s bonnet.  (Note: this bonnet is not meant to be a purely historical creation, rather a fun, historically inspired costume piece!)

Photograph courtesy of Maria M.

As always, I turned to the historical examples for inspiration: and I was taken with the wide brims & ribbons piled sky high!

Marquise de Blaizel by Sir Thomas Lawrence, late 1820s.
(Image via: Old Rags)

Bonnet ca. 1830, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(Image via: OMG that Dress!)

So, I cut a basic, craft store, straw hat that I had lying around to the shape I wanted.  Then, wired the edges with millinery wire and small blanket stitches.  Immediately afterwards, I questioned where actual millinery wire had been all my life, because it worked like a dream compared all of the different types of sketchy wires pulled from the garage...

Next came prettying up the insides so that the straw wouldn't catch my hair, and binding the edges to cover the wire and raw edges.

To the outside!  A heavy corduroy covers the crown with a band of plaid (left over from the dress trim) tacked around.  Grosgrain ribbon was used for ties.  

The rest of that nice (vintage?) grosgrain, which was also used in creating the muff, became ribbon loops.  Hand pleated loops of the plaid cotton and gathered loops of ivory, wired ribbon were also added as trim.  A large, swooping plume completed the look:

Close up shot of the trim.

Finally, after three, long days of work, using mostly a combination of hand and machine sewing, as well as a little bit of hot glue, this was the result:

And a few more pictures of the bonnet on me, courtesy of the best, little sister & loyal photographer:

Maria catching me mid-laugh :)

Revealing the girl behind the camera a.k.a. photo-bombing the sister's selfie!

As you can tell, we try to make photo shoots fun...and, yes, there are always a lot of silly pictures taken, (which Maria makes sure to save for future blackmail, sisters...)  Anyways, stay tuned for the upcoming 1820s Mad for Plaid photo shoot, which will probably be the last for some time as I will be leaving for college!  'Till next summer, Maria, and 'till next time, dear readers!


  1. Delicious! I love all those ribbon details and the ruched front - beautiful work!:-)

    1. Thank you, Rosa! Your comment makes me smile :)

    2. I'm glad:-) I forgot to add one thing - you look lovely in it:-)

    3. *Blushes* Why thanks again, you're too kind!