Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Timely Tresses ~ Lucia Regency Bonnet ~ Progress Update #1

In my costuming world I flit from one thing to another. Whenever I get bored with a project, I will finish it as quickly as possible and move on to something I find more interesting. With our first 1860's reenactment conveniently under my belt and full wardrobes functional and proper for all of us I can turn to more interesting things.

Last week, I got my birthday present from David in the mail, a copy of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion by Christina Barretto. Yes, it is a birthday present I picked out for myself. David would not have thought of it on his own since he did not understand how badly I needed it. He thought I should get a waffle iron or food processor or something useful. But when I assured him I'd love him forever and ever if he got me this book he humored me and ordered it. And I love it. It's a fantastic resource.

That book has put me in the mood to work more on my regency ensemble for the Jane Austen festival that is now only a few short weeks away. David's outfit is very nearly complete so I felt no guilt in postponing starting his coat so I can work on some fun, small projects for myself.

I have my shawl almost finished and so yesterday started my bonnet. I ordered the Lucia pattern from Timely Tresses quite a while ago and have been looking forward to making it up. I bought buckram for a covered bonnet but when Malachi took a huge bite out of the brim of a very pretty Amish straw hat we found at the thrift shop, I decided I needed to salvage the straw braid so I took the entire hat apart and picked out the fishing thread it had been sewn with and remade the straw into the brim for my bonnet.

After the brim was done I realized that I don't know if a straw brim with a fabric crown is period correct. : / I've seen what appears to be a straw brim with a fabric crown in fashion plates but perhaps I am interpreting it incorrectly and the reality is a full straw bonnet then with the crown covered in fabric. Oh well. It's too late and I don't have enough straw to make a whole bonnet.

For the brim, I traced the shape of the paper brim onto cardboard and then pinned the first row of straw into place along the back edge. I overlapped the second row of straw onto the first row and sewed them together using a backstitch that was long on the inside and short on the outside as you can see in the photo below. It went rather quickly and I finished the brim with three rows of straw sewed all around the front edge to make a nice border.

Today I assembled the lining from natural undyed linen. The lining is rather fitted to the head so I will need to wear a simple hairstyle with this bonnet, I think. It is made of 8 triangular shaped sections with a circle sewn in the middle.

The outer layer of the crown will be a big poufy circle of white windowpane checked sheer cotton voile with gathers  across the top so there will be 3 poufy sections down the head, which kind of reminds me of a lobster body. So far I'm really happy with the shape and the fact that the brim offers some sun protection! This is Brim 2 and there is a deeper brim included in the pattern which is even larger and shadier. I may try a bonnet in that style if I have time before the festival!

I went to the thrift store today and found some really pretty gold metallic trim that I might try to use to make a headdress or something for the ball. I will need to do some more research to see if it would be appropriate to use or not. Does anyone know? I thought it was too pretty to pass up for $1! The ugly chunky metallic gold piping that came with it can be tossed though. Ick. It's nasty stuff.

Alas! Off to make supper. We may get some severe weather later too. A stormy warm evening is always exciting!



  1. It is a great book! I can't wait to see what you create :)

  2. Hello Sarah-
    If you are not yet following her, Natalie Garbett has been writing about her curatorial experiences with this collection. Check it out when you have time.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!