Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Regency Bonnet Attempt #2

I have photos to share -soon!- of our trip to Milwaukee, WI over the weekend to participate in the grand finale of Reclaiming Our Heritage, held on the beautiful grounds of the VA hospital there. I am trying to sort through all the pictures I took. It's a huge task, but one I hope to soon overcome.

Until then, I thought I'd share photos of my most recent attempt at a regency style bonnet. The one I have posted about irritated me for some reason . . .I just could not get it to look right. Without trim, it looked too plain. With trim it looked to costumey. I tried many different trims and still was not satisfied with it so I decided to shelve it for a while.

In passing, you know what I think? I think the poufy sheer white crown just does not go with the straw brim. Both are pretty in and of themselves but together they do not work very well. I think the straw brim would go better with a silk crown in a solid color, and maybe just one pouf instead of the 3, and the poufy white crown would go better with a brim made of the same fabric, perhaps mounted on wire reinforced buckram. Yup. That's what I think. So I'll probably switch them out at some point but in the meantime, I experimented with a straw hat I got at the thrift store for $2.

I have always really liked the look of the bonnets Lydia wears in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.

I decided to cut up my straw hat and try to come up with something similar. I did a lot of google searches and came up with a lot of different instructions people have posted to create a regency style hat out of a straw hat so I gleaned ideas from many sources. I didn't follow any one particular set of instructions but used them mainly for inspiration and did the straw hat makeover my own way.

I cut the brim totally off of the crown, leaving me with a bowl-shaped straw form. I cut a little crescent shaped piece from the edge of this bowl shape to accomodate my neck. I then used the brim pattern from my Timely Tresses Lucia bonnet pattern as a guideline for cutting the brim out the big, floppy brim that was originally attached to this hat. Since it is a woven straw, instead of a coiled braid, I was able to manipulate it into the proper shape with steam and pins. To preserve the shape I sewed wire around the edge of the brim and then sewed the brim to the crown. I bound the edges and there was my bonnet form!

Since the inside of the bonnet was a bit messy from the seam between the brim and crown I put in a brim lining of sheer cotton drawn up on a reed. To cover the seam on the outside, I pleated some of the fabric I used for the binding and lightly stitched it on. Currently both sides of the bonnet are trimmed with pink silk roses and green leaves and I want to make a few ribbon rosettes for the top and center back of the bonnet before all is said and done. I'm not sure if I will add ties or not. I'd like to, but will have to see if I find any ribbon or fabric that works.

I really like this shape a lot. It fits on my head very well without any ties, almost like a hat. I do like this one better than the one I have been posting about the past few weeks and don't feel so self conscious wearing it. I even wore it around the house on Friday morning, just for fun and to give it a trial run. ;) My brim is not as big as Lydia's is, but since I'm shooting for an earlier date (1806) than the movie was depicting (1813), I think a smaller brim is okay with this style.

I finished renovating my bodied petticoat this afternoon and now am ready to tackle the dress. . .I know exactly the style I want but oh! Actually cutting into the fabric? That's another thing! The current plan is to make a day dress from the sheer white striped cotton I've been hoarding with a gathered bodice, plain skirt w/pleats in the back and short sleeves with detachable long sleeves. My dear friend Amy sent me a surprise package of some beautiful sheer white dotted swiss cotton last week so that one will be used for a dress for the Grand Ball. :) For that one, I am planning to copy a very simple dress style from an 1806 dress in Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion.



  1. Oh it's so pretty! You really should sell these on your Etsy store! :) I would buy one!!!!!!

  2. Thanks Emily!

    I used to sell some things on etsy but alas, have no time to make extra things to sell right now. Maybe sometime in the future though! When the boys get bigger and life in general settles down. :) In the meantime, it's soooo easy to make one of these. I wish I had taken photos to do a step by step tutorial. Really a fast and simple little project!

  3. Its Freakin AHH-MAZE-ING!!!!!!! I the decoration is simple and elegant and not fussy! WTG!

  4. Sarah, it's DARLING!

    Karen (the Mrs.)

  5. I LOVE the new bonnet! You did a wonderful job on it, very professional looking. To be honest, I didn't care for the other bonnet much.
    I can't wait to see your whole ensemble.

  6. Pretty, Sarah! You look very sweet!

  7. Adorable! I like this one much better. You're so talented.

  8. Wow, I love, love, love that bonnet! It looks like something we could get away with wearing today - so simple and sweet!

  9. Amazing, Sarah!!! You look gorgeous in it, and it's too adorable...I can't stop looking at it. The other one was cute, but this one...it tops the cake! Wonderful job!

  10. Oh, is this pretty! I love it, much better than the last one! Very pretty shape. I agree with Sanders - even though it looks regency, it could be worn today (though maybe without the flowers). Beautiful! I want to make one now...

  11. Dear Sarah Jane,
    This one works very well and suits you to a T. Good going and can't wait to see it on you in person!
    Very best,

  12. Oh, it's beautiful! I think this one is perfect - it suits you so well! :)

  13. This is adorable!
    I want one!
    I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!!
    I also really liked the previous one.
    You are a bonnet master :D
    The end.

  14. The bonnet on the right in this fashion plate looks extremely similar in shape to the one that you made:



Thank you for your lovely thoughts!