Saturday, 10 March 2018

1860's Bonnet Making

Despite having 6 young chooks, only 1 or 2 were laying over the winter.   Of those eggs, I was leaving 1 in the nesting boxes overnight to feed whatever predator was wintering over in the barn.  It worked and we lost no more hens over the winter.   Finally the past few weeks I had to actually purchase eggs as there were so few of them.   Then when the unseasonable thaw happened and the barn flooded, I found a 'possum hunkering down in the nesting box.  He or she seems to have moved on now and with the longer days, we have gone from virtually no eggs to 5 a day!    I happily made this lovely angel food cake with my girls daily contributions.  It was delicious and such a nice treat.
double buckram cut, wired and bound

Westfield is open again for the year and I'm happy to be back as a volunteer interpreter.  Hats are a costume piece that I've often needed to borrow from the costume department.   But I had double buckram, the proper millinery wire and a pattern, so I attempted to make my own.

It wasn't one of my neatest projects, at least on the buckram frame.  Luckily it's completely covered, so none of the stitching mess will show.   I had to play around with threads as some of them just wouldn't hold tight enough.  In the end, I raided my husbands leather working tool kit and got some of the heavy waxed leather working thread and a ginormous needle, which seemed to help a great deal.

The lining was some yellow and red shot taffeta which shows as orange mainly, but when it hits the light in the correct way, the red flashes.   The effect will mainly be lost on this hat lining but it was in my stash, so one less thing to purchase.   I had to baste the lining by hand in order to get it to fit the inside of the hat.  This is the 3rd time I redid the basting and finally got it right.

What a pain to put in the hat though.  The instructions said to glue it but not what kind of glues work best.  I had a spray adhesive but it was a different brand from my usual basting adhesive.   Ick - the tin leaked, leaving a mess when sprayed and it didn't stick at all.  So much for the "permanent" part of the glue name.

I used some brown wool for the fashion fabric.  Here I was a bit torn about what to use.  I had some black velvet, which would have made a lovely hat, with the taffeta, but I only saw a few black bonnets and most of them were mourning bonnets, which I didn't want to have.   I had a darker brown, which would have also been nice, but there was just enough to use for something like a coat or a skirt, but not enough for both that and the hat.  In the end, this lighter brown wool was lurking in with some t-shirt knits, and had already been cut, so useful for a project like this.  I do like the less dramatic effect though, so that is a happy outcome.

The hat isn't finished yet.  I'm not sure about the ties but they are tacked in on the inside in an odd place, but the only place that kept the hat on my head.   I haven't finished decorating it.   There will eventually be some bows or a flower spray on the outside and some shirred lace or something on the inside.   My fingers and hands are sore from all the hand sewing though, so the prettying up of the hat will have to wait.

1 comment:

Woolly Bits said...

nice work! though I would go crazy with that hat on my head, I can't stand hats, caps etc. - looser hoods are just about bearable, but only if it is windy and! cold... can one be allergic to headwear?:) we still haven't gone anywhere with getting our own hens - I think that Minnie's hunting instinct will come through as soon as she sees them - she is faster in killing small birds than the cat; as soon as they come into the house/porch etc.! outside - no problem, but not in what she apparently considers her territory! and the cat plays, so mice and birds have a chance of escape (or being rescued by us)- Minnie goes straight for the kill - a scary little dog sometimes:)