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New Empire/Regency Bonnet

August 1, 2011

Browsing through my book, Regency Era Fashion Plates 1800 – 1819, a couple of bonnets caught my eye…

Costume Parisien 1806

Costume Parisien 1807

I just loved the diagonal detailing, and thought that the effect could easily be achieved with piping cord.  I decided to have a go. 

First I worked out the brim shape with a piece of paper, then when I was happy with the size and shape I pinned it to a bit of pelmet stiffener and cut it out.  Next I took my fabric, marked the shape then proceeded to put in two rows of piping cord as edging, followed by diagonal rows…


Realisation then dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be able to get the cord into the right-hand corner, so, in the words of my old needlework teacher…I undid it and started again! 

The finished top piece

It wasn’t until I’d finished the new piece, that I another realisation hit me…I really needn’t have started again if I’d only started in that right-hand corner!  Doh!  Oh well, live and learn!!  

The next step, and the most fiddly, was sewing the corded top to the pelmet stiffener that I’d cut out earlier.  Oh dear!  Realisation number three…cording shrinks the original shape!  After a lot of fiddling and jiggling, and a minor trim, I succeeded in getting it to fit…

So far, so good...

The back piece was next, and this was another fiddly bit, as it involved gathering the fabric and sewing a padded ‘button’ into the centre…

Back of bonnet

I don’t think it looks too bad, though not as evenly gathered as I’d like it to be, and I have added a circle of wadding into it to help keep the shape. 

The next step will be to line the bonnet, make some ribbon ties, then finally add the lace around the edge, but that will have to wait until I purchase some more fabric. 

When I make the new spencer, it will also have cording in, to match the bonnet, and the same braid that I have used around the back bit of the bonnet.  And if I have got time, I will also make a new reticule to match bonnet and spencer…but only if I have the time…!    

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2011 12:15 pm

    Looks good Sandi

    • August 1, 2011 12:17 pm

      Thanks, Eileen. I just hope it still looks good when it’s finished! (Fingers still crossed…lol!)

  2. August 1, 2011 6:48 pm

    You really amaze me, you know that? This is incredible! Hats baffle me.

    • August 1, 2011 9:09 pm

      Thanks Lauren. I’ve always loved hats and headgear, even though I don’t wear them…and I would love to learn millinery properly.
      Your fab corsets and gowns amaze me, too! I always love to see what your next project is going to be.

  3. Susan Langley permalink
    August 11, 2012 11:22 pm

    Do you accept commissions? I have a dress but no time or talent to make a matching bonnet but I do have a lot of professional commitments that mean I need to wear 1812 dress for a lot of events and functions.

    • August 17, 2012 9:22 pm

      Hi Susan…alas, I do not have the confidence to accept commissions just yet, being a novice…sorry.

      Each bonnet I attempt is a one-off, and if it does turn out okay, I will post it in my Etsy shop, Empire of Grace. At the moment I am working on a steampunk outfit for next month’s Asylum event in Lincoln, plus a couple of bonnets that I hope will be posted on Etsy soon.

      I am about to have a go at making another white corded bonnet like this one, so watch this space (as they say)

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