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In a continuing effort to simultaneously destroy my hands and make all the bonnets, I set out recently to recreate a bonnet in the Met’s collection.

Silk Bonnet, British, ca. 1815. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Designated Purchase Fund, 1983 2009.300.1613

It’s a curious thing, isn’t it, with that flipped-up brim? It looks more 1915 than 1815. But a little looking turned up this fashion plate:

Items 2 and 6, while not of silk, show the turned-up brim seen in this example. (To be fair, the original black and white photo suggests some confusion about the bonnet’s orientation.)

My version is admittedly imperfect, but a home-made interpretation that gets as close as I can (for now). I started with a lightweight buckram frame, to which I stitched slim round caning.

The brim is covered in two layers of the copper silk, and edged on the bottom side with the contrasting silk trim. the crown, or caul, is a simple tube gathered to a silk-covered buckram circle. In the absence of matching (or even sort-of-close) ribbon, my choices are to trim what’s left of the fabric and piece it together…. or start an online-ribbon hunt. At least the extant example has ribbon that’s close but not a match, giving me some leeway if I decide to save my hands for other projects and click instead of stitch.