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.
There were several bonnet styles worn during the Regency Era. This is a Stovepipe Bonnet.
It could be made simply of straw or covered in various fabrics and featured an elongated crown with a wide brim surrounding the face.
A poke bonnet also featured a wide brim that surrounded the face but the crown was less elongated.
You can find various tutorials HERE.
Jockey Cap Bonnets could be made from buckram, straw or fabric.
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.
You can find various tutorials for turbans HERE.
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.
After removing the raffia flowers and chin string I cut the back of the hat off after viewing several of the tutorials mentioned above.
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.
I gently gathered the fabric and it was hand sewn to the edge of the straw.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Digging though my stash I found an old ostrich feather and a few faded roses.
You can easily revive them with a bit of steam.
Place the roses in a small teacup while they are still damp and let them dry.
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).
Place the various trims in any manner you find pleasing.
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!