I had a bonnet I made in 2014 (I think) that had been languishing in a box for years. I liked it– the soft tip was unusual, and the vintage ribbon and pink paper roses from the V&A went well with the dull grey– but I didn’t wear it. Sunday morning, I woke up resolved to remake the bonnet into something I will wear.
An upcoming weekend event in Dutchess County has me trawling through the fashion plates again, along with research helpfully sent along by the event organizers. A particular plate has stuck with me for some time, and finally I had the skill set necessary to tackle the thing. It takes making and looking and failing and remaking to figure out these things.
Step one was to take apart the bonnet-as-was. Satisfying work, really, not as unnerving as I feared it might be. And then? Paper patterns to figure out the sizes of the ridge and crest pieces.
I’d already committed myself to the silver-grey taffeta– slightly slubby, so second-chop, I’d already made muff cover, and had just enough left for a bonnet. The silver-grey seemed well-suited to a helmet-inspired style, and came close to the deep grey of the gros de Naples of the plate.
For mull, I used organic cotton quilt batting. It’s a little thick, but I pull my stitches tight and don’t want the buckram or pasteboard to show too much. The old brim piece served as a pattern for new, though I did have to use a different color for the brim lining.
The ridge was cut from homemade buckram (gum arabic on coarse linen from Burnley and Trowbridge). I used heavy cotton organdy to interline the crest. I know there is a way to get the ruffle more even, but my brain hasn’t produced it yet. Cartridge pleats and starch come to mind, along with goffering irons, as places to start. For now, this represents a Hudson River Valley milliner’s interpretation of the latest fashions.
The crown is taken from the 1770s bonnet I made, to take advantage of the way that crown slopes from a brim shaped like this one. If I were to make another one of these, I might switch up the order of assembly, and I might make the ridge piece of interfaced taffeta instead of taffeta-covered wired buckram.
The finished bonnet reused the same ties as the original bonnet, with a similar Petersham or grosgrain ribbon band. With my 2014 pelisse and a new muff, the only new accessory I’d like to make (or can remember wanting to make) is another, slightly larger, reticule to complete the ensemble.