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Friday, October 23, 2015

Creating a Regency Era Bonnet from a Modern Straw Hat

On my journey to Becoming Jane I had decided to make a dress that would be worn in the afternoon. This meant I would need a bonnet to go with it.

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There were several bonnet styles worn during the Regency Era. This is a Stovepipe Bonnet.

Emma Pierson as Fanny Dorrit in Little Dorrit (TV Mini-Series, 2008). - Regency styling:

It could be made simply of straw or covered in various fabrics and featured an elongated crown with a wide brim surrounding the face.

Trimming Regency Bonnets  Links to other interesting historical dress items:

A poke bonnet also featured a wide brim that surrounded the face but the crown was less elongated.

You can find various tutorials HERE.

Chapaux de crépe Vintage - Poster* 1500 free paper dolls at artist Arielle Gabriel's The International Paper Doll Society also free China and Japan paper dolls at The China Adventures of Arielle Gabriel for my Pinterest pals *:

Jockey Cap Bonnets could be made from buckram, straw or fabric.

Regency jockey cap and bonnet:

1805-1806: "Jockey cap" bonnets and long, straight brim bonnets are the rule. The blue bonnet with white trim was recreated for me by Sandi James for the 2012 Jane Austen Festival in Bath:

Capote bonnets, turbans and drawn bonnets were were primarily made from fabric.


Some Capote bonnets were made from straw or buckram. You can find tutorials HERE.

Marianne Dashwood is one of my favorite literary characters.  I relate to her so very much.

You can find various tutorials for turbans HERE.

Turban and gown front Regency Gown Project | Wearing History:

There is a tutorial for a drawn bonnet HERE if you fancy yourself a millinery master.

I decided to go with the Poke Bonnet style. You can purchase ready made bonnets on Etsy and Ebay. A basic straw version completely unadorned costs around $30.00 + shipping. Since I was trying to create a costume on a budget I opted to try and make a bonnet with a straw hat I found at Goodwill for $1.50.

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After removing the raffia flowers and chin string I cut the back of the hat off after viewing several of the tutorials mentioned above.

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Next, I took a piece of silk I had leftover from when I shortened a dress a few years ago and cut it in a shape that mimicked the hat. I apologize for the poor quality of the photo. It was taken late at night.

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I gently gathered the fabric and it was hand sewn to the edge of the straw.

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This is an optional step. Ladies often added a silk lining to a bonnet as the rough straw could disturb their carefully arranged coiffures (hairdos).

At this point the bonnet will look a bit strange but keep going.

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You will then add seam binding to the edge of the bonnet to keep the straw from fraying.

I used a vintage 100% cotton single fold seam binding as that is what I had on hand and it would be historically accurate. (Today’s seam binding is a polyester blend.)

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TIP: If you are going to purchase seam binding I would recommend a double fold seam binding as you will have a bit more width to work with.

Also, use a low temperature glue gun when attaching the binding. It won’t burn your fingers quite so bad.

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I believe decorative gimp trim to be an upholsterer and hat milliners best friend. It covers a multitude of sins such as wonky trim and gathering stitches. Plus it adds an extra bit of flair to your bonnet.

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Digging though my stash I found an old ostrich feather and a few faded roses.

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You can easily revive them with a bit of steam.

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Place the roses in a small teacup while they are still damp and let them dry.

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You are then ready to decorate the bonnet. Regency bonnets featured all sorts of trim, lace and ribbon. I found a spool of periwinkle double faced satin ribbon at Michaels for around $3 (use your coupon).

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Place the various trims in any manner you find pleasing.

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Altogether the cost of the bonnet was $5.50.

Get ready because on Monday you’ll see the entire Regency outfit in all it’s glory!



Silvana Joanne said...

Just beautiful. Great tutorial!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh wow, this is stunning and your tutorial is amazing. Can't wait to see the whole thing.

GSGreatEscaper said...

You never cease to amaze - it's gorgeous!

Lynn Bean said...

So pretty! I love hats and may try my hand at one. Thank you. Lynn

Lisa said...

Laura (I mean Jane) you are da bomb!!!!! It's gorgeous!

Karena Albert said...

Laura you are the queen of artistry!! Seriously incredible!!

PS I think you need a Good Luck Beetle!!
The Arts by Karena

Fox and Finch Antiques said...

This is fantastic. I will be looking for a straw hat now to make one. I've just always wanted to try one on. Thank you for the illustrations as an antique dealer, I'm always looking for the names of certain hats, but I don't find antique Regency hats here in the Midwest. Lots of Victorian hats and after, but not as early as the Regency period. I, too, love the clothing, hats, manners and style of this period. I just watched Sands Films movie of Little Dorrit by Dickens. I loved this film and thought the actors where extremely fine. That death scene was so realistic. There isn't a lot of fine clothing featured but it was very interesting to note the etiquette.
I enjoyed this post.

Sandy said...

Adorable! I love this costume, can't wait to see the full reveal, it reminds me of a favorite artist, Kate Greenaway, and her renderings of this era.

P. A. Garbutt said...

It's very unusual for me to comment on a blog (not that I don't love to read them) but I simply had to tell you how much I'm enjoying your Jane Austen Regency apparel. I just love getting to see the latest creation and today's bonnet is gorgeous. I'm really looking forward to the complete outfit. You are to be congratulated on the wonderful work and sticking to your budget.
You're an inspiration!

Joni Webb said...

ok just realized that when i redid my blog design, i had to redo my blog list and i just realized i hadn't added your back!! ok - i see you are making an 18th century dress. OK. the designer of the costumes for Outlander - Terry Dresbach - you would love her blog!!!!! omg - she is so talented!! do you watch? here's her blog: the new season will be in Paris - so all the dresses are 18th century FRENCH - to die for!!!

Auntie Em said...

That is so sweet! The periwinkle colour looks great on you. Good choice.
Thank you for sharing the great if I just had somewhere to wear a bonnet! :)

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Very Jane Austen-esque and made in such a clever way!

Blondie's Journal said...

This is very interesting...I never knew these bonnets were so involved. You know your stuff, Laura!

Jane x

Maureen Wyatt said...

Wow, you completely blew me away with the bonnet! Pinning because I'd like to try making on for my 'actress' granddaughter's wardrobe chest.