Monday, 7 March 2016

HSM - Tucks & Pleating - Victorian Straw Bonnet

Learning how to make hats from straw braid was a bit of a revelation for me, and it's a process I've come to really enjoy.

For this late 1830s/1840s bonnet, I first cut out the shapes for the tip, side band and brim separately in buckram.  The straw is mostly machine stitched directly onto the buckram, starting from the outer edge, and overlapping so that the stitches are hidden.  For the tip I made sure the straw overlapped the outer edge slightly, so that when it came time to sew the tip to the side band, I could hand stitch down the overlapping straw to hide the join.  I also finished the inner swirl by hand.

The buckram provides quite a sturdy base for the bonnet, but I also added millinery wire to the outer edge of the brim by ziggering it to a length of straw, then attaching the straw along the underside of the brim edge, sandwiching the wire in-between.

The bonnet is lined and trimmed with thin black silk.

Prior to attaching the pleated trim along inner edge
My initial hopes of getting my sister's Natural Form ballgown skirt done in time for this particular challenge didn't come to fruition, so this bonnet is my entry instead.  It's difficult to see the black against black pleating, but it is there!  To decorate the inner brim edge I cut a long length of black silk, box pleated it, then stitched down the middle and gathered it slightly to give it a bit of body.

The Challenge:  February - Tucks & Pleating
Material: Buckram/Straw/Silk/Millinery Wire
Pattern: Based on one of my tutor's (Jane Smith) self-made patterns.
Year: Late 1830s/1840s
Notions: Poly cotton thread
How historically accurate is it?   Hmmm, not very.  The shape is, but I used machine stitching to attach the straw & millinery wire.  The silk was all hand sewn on though.
Hours to complete:  Difficult to say.  The initial construction was maybe a day's work, then it got neglected for a year.  Adding the silk would probably have been another day's work if I'd done it all at once.
First worn:  In my house, I don't have anything to wear it with yet!
Total cost:  Approx £15-20 for millinery supplies, the silk was long term stash.

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