Inspiration: My need for a charmingly enormous 1830s bonnet to go with my fashion plate gown; I’m not imitating any specific bonnet trimming style
Form: Purchased reproduction straw form from Timely Tresses, of ivory-colored hemp braid in their 1835-1840 Frivolia style
Brim Lining: White silk taffeta or habotai (which I still need to procure)
Crown Lining: White cotton batiste
Ties and Ribbon Trim: Plaid silk taffeta in cornsilk yellow, dove gray, and white, purchased at Delectable Mountain Cloth, which I will cut into wide (6″ plus) ribbons and turn narrow hand-stitched hems on.
Outer Trimmings: Puffing and possibly a bow of the plaid taffeta ribbon, one large white ostrich feather from Timely Tresses.
Trimmings Inside Brim: Three bunches of white velvet lily and two bunches of ivory/yellow velvet violets from Timely Tresses (though I may move one of the bunches to the outside of the bonnet)
Construction: Linings and trimmings will be entirely hand-sewn, though I believe that the form itself is machine-stitched.
Current Status: I’ve ordered the form and trimmings, but currently all I have for this project is the fabric to be made into ribbons (which I’ve had for over a year, since I originally intended to make this bonnet as part of my 1830s clothing independent study). Since I’m using a straw form rather than buckram, as I’d originally intended, it should go together fairly quickly, so hopefully I can manage to finish my bonnet by my Div III final meeting – or at least by graduation!
Print resources for 1830s bonnets:
- Beaudoin-Ross, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion: Nineteenth Century Montreal Dress (Formes et modes: Le costume à Montréal au XIXͤ siècle). Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992.
Grayscale fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, all dating from 1832: Figure 41 on page 70; Figures 42 and 43 on page 71; Figure 44 on page 72.
- Blum, Stella, Edited and with an Introduction by. Fashions and Costumes from Godey’s Lady’s Book; Including 8 Plates in Full Color. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1985.
Grayscale fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, 1838-1840, pages 2-7. There are no color plates dated earlier than 1841.
- Bradfield, Nancy. Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930. Hollywood: Costume & Fashion Press, 2009.
There are schematic drawings of, and notes about, an extant bonnet on page 140; the bonnet is described as a “Large WHITE SILK BONNET; Trimmed white satin and pale blue ribbons” and appears to be the same bonnet as on pages 26-27 of Hats and Bonnets by Althea Mackenzie, where it is shown in photographs. Together, these sources offer a great deal of information about this bonnet, which is unusually well-preserved. Mackenzie dates the bonnet to the late 1820s. See entry for that book below for more information.
- Fukai, Akiko, Ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute). 2006 edition published by Barnes & Noble by arrangement. Köln: Taschen, 2006.
Images of extant 1830s bonnets on fully dressed mannequins: straw on page 190, silk-covered on page 191, page 194 (same bonnet/mannequin as page 190, from another angle), straw on 196/197 (same bonnet from two angles in two pictures).
- Gernsheim, Alison. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey; With 235 Illustrations. New York: Dover Publications, 1981.
In the first section of image plates, following page 32: there is a photograph dated “Summer 1840,” of a woman in a late 1830s style large bonnet, either drawn silk or with a shirred silk lining, plate 3; there is also a photograph of “Queen Victoria’s going-away bonnet after her marriage on 10 February 1840,” plate 4.
- Grimble, Frances, Edited, Translated, and with Additional Material by. The Lady’s Stratagem: A Repository of 1820s Directions for the Toilet, Mantua-Making, Stay-Making, Millinery & Etiquette. San Francisco, CA: Lavolta Press, 2009.
“Chapter XXI. The Art of the Milliner, or the Mode of making Hats, Toques, &c.” encompasses pages 522 through 564. It offers a great deal of useful information, translated and edited from 1820s and 1830s sources. Included is detailed information on trim, such as how to make different types of bows and ribbon trimmings, and about different types of ornaments. There are very few images, and most are of 1820s hats, but this section is overall a useful informational reference.
- Holland, Vyvyan. Hand Coloured Fashion Plates 1770 to 1899. London: B. T. Batsford, 1955.
Grayscale fashion plates of full ensembles: Figure 51, dated 1834, on page 89; Figure 52, dated 1835, on page 89; Figure 55, dated c. 1837, on page 90; Figure 56, dated July 1837, the popular image of the seated woman in corset with a standing dressed woman beside her, on page 91; Figure 57, dated November 1838, on page 92; Figure 58, dated 1839, on page 92.
- Lady, A (Anonymous). The Workwoman’s Guide: A Guide to 19th Century Decorative Arts, Fashion and Practical Crafts (A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original 1838 Edition). Guilford, Connecticut: Opus Publications with Old Sturbridge Village, 1986.
The text on “Women’s Bonnets” is on pages 158-162, including hoods and a caleche (or calashe). The associated plate is plate 20. There is some useful information about how to go about lining, covering, and trimming a bonnet. There is also a section on “Straw Plaiting” at the end of the book, on pages 278-290. This book can also be accessed online, so direct links to pages and plates are included.
- Langley, Susan. Vintage Hats & Bonnets; 1770 – 1970; Identification and Values. 2nd ed. Paducah, Kentucky: Collector Books, 2009.
Extant bonnets: a silk-covered bonnet from the 1820s or 1830s, page 47; a silk-covered bonnet dated “early 1830s,” page 51; a large drawn bonnet, c. 1836.
Fashion plates with bonnets: from Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1830, page 51; fashion plates including bonnets, c. 1830, pages 52 and 53; fashion plate, 1835, page 54; fashion plate with drawn bonnet, 1836, page 55.
- Mackenzie, Althea. Hats and Bonnets, from Snowshill, one of the world’s leading collections of costume and accessories of the 18th and 19th centuries. London: The National Trust, 2004.
Introduction, pages 4-5. Information on straw plaits, with photographs, pages 24-25. Enormous silk-covered bonnet of the late 1820s with intact puffs of ribbon, pages 26-27. Leghorn bonnet, 1830-35, with trims added later, pages 28-29. Winter bonnet, 1830-40, covered in novelty fabric, with a cream satin lining with a gathered strip around the brim edge, pages 30-31. Bonnet of the later, closer-fitting shape, dated “Late 1830s – 40s,” with interesting applied striped ribbon decorations, pages 32-33. Information on trimmings, specifically ribbons, with photographs, pages 34-35. Glossary, page 94.
Note: Futher information on the late 1820s silk-covered bonnet is available on page 140 of Nancy Bradfield’s Costume in Detail. There are schematic drawings of, and notes about, an extant bonnet; the bonnet is described as a “Large WHITE SILK BONNET; Trimmed white satin and pale blue ribbons” and appears to be the same bonnet as on pages 26-27 of Hats and Bonnets by Althea Mackenzie, where it is shown in photographs. Together, these sources offer a great deal of information about this bonnet, which is unusually well-preserved.
- Olian, JoAnne, Ed. 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates: 1838-1880. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1998.
Full color fashion plates of complete ensembles, including bonnets, 1838-1840: plates 2-5, of which 2 and 3 are both double plates. Plate 6 is also dated 1840, but only evening styles, with evening headdresses, are pictured; there are no bonnets.
- Severa, Joan L. My Likeness Taken: Daguerreian Portraits in America. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2005.
The plate shown on page 8 and described on page 9 is dated to c. 1842, but the style of the clothing is quite similar to fashions of the late 1830s, including the large bonnet, so it is useful for reference. The bonnet’s wide ribbon ties are left untied.
- Tozer, Jane, and Sarah Levitt. Fabric of Society: A Century of People and their Clothes 1770-1870: Essays inspired by the collections at Platt Hall, The Gallery of English Costume, Manchester. Carno, Powys, Wales: Laura Ashley Limited, 1983.
Two extant 1830s straw bonnets are shown on mannequins in 1830s gowns, page 34. Extant wedding bonnet of “cream silk with cream crêpe trimming and artificial lilacs 1835-39” shown on a table in a period room, along with a dummy head and a “milliner’s wooden delivery box 1820-50,” pages 87-88. Presumably the same wedding bonnet, shown with a veil, on a mannequin in an 1837 wedding dress, page 91.
Print resources for general millinery, not necessarily period:
- Dial, Tim. Basic Millinery for the Stage. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 2002.
- Dreher, Denise. From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking. Minneapolis: Madhatter Press, 1981.
- Carnahan, Ruby. How To Make Hats: Easy Step by Step Instructions: Over 30 Patterns…500 Illustrations. Chicago: Carnahan Associates, 1966.
This book is less likely to be useful, since it is geared for making hats more-or-less contemporary to the 1960s publication date. However, there is some good general information about materials and techniques.
Online resources, specifically collection photographs of extant bonnets:
(I have organized these roughly chronologically, based on the overall shape. As nearly as I can tell, the angle of the crown related to the brim, at the top, started out fairly acute with early bonnets of the regency era and 1820s, often around a right angle – more like a hat – and around the middle of the 1830s became gradually more obtuse [yes, geometry is relevant to bonnets!], eventually smoothing out completely in styles of the very late 1830s and the 1840s, including the “coal scuttle” bonnet.)
- A straw bonnet, dated “about 1830,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 46.688
- A tan silk-covered bonnet, dated “circa 1830,” in the Old Sturbridge Village collection, accession number 26.117.114
- An elaborate green silk-covered bonnet, dated “about 1830,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 46.320
- A straw bonnet, dated “circa 1830,” in the Old Sturbridge Village collection, accession number 65.1.18
- A silk brocade-covered bonnet with a more obtuse angle, dated “second quarter of the 19th century,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 50.3222
- A bonnet of what appears to me to be fine straw braid, but which the museum lists as having the materials “paper, silk,” dated “1830-35” but which appears to be more 1835 (or possibly later) than 1830 to me, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1996.267
- A black silk satin covered bonnet, undated, but I suspect probably mid 1830s, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 44.204
- A straw bonnet, dated “about 1830,” but I suspect probably mid 1830s, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 44.203
- A straw bonnet without a lining, dated “about 1840” but I suspect probably mid or late 1830s, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 54.1779
- A black straw bonnet with silk lining and ribbons and a lace facing, dated “about 1835,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 51.656
- A silk drawn bonnet, dated “about 1840,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 44.205
- A silk-covered bonnet, dated “1830-40” but I suspect probably late 1830s to early 1840s, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number C.I.37.11.1
- A partially sheer silk-covered bonnet, dated “about 1840,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 48.1212
- A straw bonnet with ribbons and trim but no lining, dated “1835-49” but I suspect most likely from somewhere in the middle of that range, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number C.I.47.35
- A brown straw bonnet with plaid ribbons, dated “1835” but I suspect probably late 1830s or possibly early 1840s, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 44.206
- A dark straw bonnet with silk lining and velvet trim, with intact flower and gauze trimmings inside the brim at each cheek, dated “1835-40,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 54.1777
- A brown straw bonnet with plaid ties and curtain, dated “circa 1840,” in the Old Sturbridge Village collection, accession number 65.1.43
- Decorated bonnet of woven straw, dated “circa 1836-1847,” in the Old Sturbridge Village collection, accession number 65.1.10
- A lined straw bonnet with intact trimmings, including flowers inside the brim at each cheek, dated “about 1840,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, accession number 51.658