Saturday, July 30, 2016

For the Love of Bonnets

Dear Friends,

I have been stitching up a storm lately!  A storm, that is, of ladies' headgear that is appropriate for the 1820s. Our local church is putting on a production set in that time period, and they were short a few bonnets, so I offered my skills and supplies to outfit as many ladies as possible.

 (Some of the completed bonnets)

(A photo of the hats/straw flower pot that were used as bonnet bases, after trimming away the "hat" part.)

I learned how to make bonnets 15 years ago, after watching Sense and Sensiblity and falling in love with the fashions. I had never made so much as a dress before, but through Jennie Chancey's wonderful instructions on her "Sense and Sensibility" website and Regency Era dress pattern, I was able to teach myself to sew.

Of course, the lovely gowns need a bonnet or hat to match, so I ordered one from the "Austentation" website. After examining my bonnet closely, I figured out how to take a straw hat as a base and making a passing-good bonnet, custom-made to fit my head.

(Early bonnet-making memories from Idaho) 

(I'm not certain, but I think that Frankie might have been hesitant to be a model in this photo!)

Through the years, and with the addition of several babies and toddlers, my poor bonnets started to look as though they had been run through the wringer! I gave up on making more, especially when we moved to a much smaller home in Kansas City than we had left in Idaho, leaving us woefully short on storage space.

So when I was given the opportunity to help making bonnets, it was like a trip down memory lane, and brought me back to the little house I learned to sew in, in Ririe, Idaho, when there were only three little ones around.

Much has changed since then, and since I've learned lots of manly skills such as carpentry and spoon-carving, but I keep in my heart a love for softness and feminine fashions. In fact, we might just have to invite folks out for dress-up picnics and teas when we get to the farm! Can't you just see it? :)

 (More completed bonnets. We decided that ones made from silk or with lots of bows wouldn't work for the play, so we are keeping and/or selling the extras.)

Thank you for coming with me on my little trip down memory lane. Do you love hats, too?




  1. I still have my Great-Grandmother's Prairie Bonnet; she wore it in the garden and she had a dress up one, too, of black organdy! I have a fondness for these dear toppers! I love yours!

  2. How neat! Millinery is such a lost art. And you look perfectly lovely in that dark blue one. A dress-up tea sounds like so much fun. Wish they offered something like that around here. Of course, every day is dress-up day for us! Or at least that's what the rest of the world thinks. Ha! Hope you are having a beautiful summer!


  3. They are beautiful bonnets Marqueta. I'd be proud to wear one of them ...hugs to all

  4. Absolutely wonderful bonnets! Just love them all. I could make hats all day long and never tire of it, but my hats are much fit little rabbits and such. Really love the skyblue velvet one. You were meant to wear a hat!

  5. How sweet! My great aunt was a milliner. I wish I could have seen her work. Your's is lovely.

  6. The bonnets are just lovely! Beautiful job! Have a lovely day!


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