Reproduction Spring Bonnet From About 1858 made By Kay Inverarity.

Description. bonnet

A spring bonnet in green silk and cane entirely hand stitched and decorated with hand made flowers velvet leaves and ostrich feathers, made in the fashionable style of 1858.


The inspiration for this bonnet came from a number of original bonnets in The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York , from a bonnet sold by Karen Augusta of Antique Lace and Fashion in about 2007 and from the fashion pages of Petersonís Magazine dated 1858.


Drawn bonnets have always intrigued me and I was determined to have a go. Initially I consulted the internet but did not find much detailed information regarding construction methods, I did however find many photographs of original bonnets. The bonnet I chose as my basic design dates from about 1858 and is in light blue satin, it was sold by Karen Augusta. in about 2007. 


The original blue bonnet.


An original bonnet, about 1855
showing the net lining the bavolet.


A green ugly from the 1850s
showing the cane poking
through the silk covering.

 The multiple photographs of this bonnet meant that I could study it in detail.  Photographs of other bonnets reveal that the supporting frame was made of cane, and an original ugly held in my collection gave me the approximate diameter of these canes. It also gave me some insight into the construction methods used.

A second bonnet from about 1855 that is in my collection has stiffened net supporting the Bavolet and a separate crown made from buckram.  The blue bonnet also has a separate shaped crown. I found that an old pudding basin from my grandmother was exactly the same shape, so I filled the base with plasticine covered it with glad-wrap and used this as the block to shape my crown. I chose green lining silk for the bonnet because this was a similar weight to the green silk used on the original ugly. I used a pattern for an ordinary buckram bonnet that I had drafted some years earlier and knew gave the right shape, I extended this horizontally to give the extra fullness necessary to draw the bonnet in, and vertically to allow for the diameter of the canes. A mock up of this bonnet highlighted the fact that in order to get the casings to hug the canes tightly and help lock them into place the bonnet had to be sewn entirely by hand. This is because the single line of thread seems to draw the casing in around the cane more effectively than a machine lock stitch.


The original fashion pages from 1858 highlight the fact that bonnet decorations reflected the season and were rarely symmetrical, a single bonnet may utilize a number of different kinds of decorations. They frequently sported a veritable flower garden, and original bonnets in the Metropolitan Museum show that the flower sprays were quite colourful.  As the accompanying gown for this bonnet is in Magenta coloured silk I chose to make Fuchsias, Rosebuds and yellow and cream Jonquils as a highlight, these are mounted on a vintage velvet leaf-spray combined  with ostrich feathers in cream and pink. The flowers are hand made from wired ribbon and mounted on florists wire, the stems are whipped with thread to give a more period finish.

The following three photographs are pictures of the finished reproduction.



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Bonnets from Petersonís Magazine July- December 1858.


 Fig.1).  Mrs. Cripps, 63 Canal street, New York, has furnishedus with an illustration of one of the most stylish and elegant bonnets we have seen this season. The material is white crepe laid on the foundation plain; the front is bordered by a transparency of lace enriched by narrow puffings of crepe, and edged by a deep fall of blonde. The side trimmings are composed of flowers, connected by a delicate green wreath which passes over the brim; on the left is a half open magnolia blossom, with its rich green leaves mingled with sprays of mysotis, mignonette and leaves; on the right are luxuriant clusters of white hops, mingled with loops and ends of ribbon grass. The curtain is of lace, edged with puffings of crepe, and overlaid with deep, rich blonde. The face trimmings consist of a full cap of tulle, interspersed with water lilies, scarlet pinks, clemantis blossoms, and sprays . Broad white ribbon strings.

Fig.2). Left. Straw  bonnet, trimmed with long sprays of grass. The face trimming consists of a very full tulle cap, with a bunch of roses and leaves placed low on one side, and a plait of green velvet over the top of the head.

 Fig.3). Right. Neapolitan bonnet, with a cape and band across the top, of white silk. A bunch of green   leaves, scarlet flowers and grasses,          are placed on the left side.

Fig. 4). Left. A bonnet of white crepe, laid on the foundation plain, with a succession of narrow folds of crepe extending over the head. The brim, and also the crown, are edged by a narrow border of rich plaided ribbon in gay colours. The left side is ornamented by clusters of white marabouts, tipped with colours to correspond with the ribbon: on the right side a single loop of plaid ribbon forms the only ornament. The curtain is of crepe, edged with plaided ribbon. The inside is adorned with a wreath of variegated roses, which terminates on either side in full ruches of blonde. Broad strings of white and plaided ribbon.

Fig.5). Above Right.  A coquettish style of bonnet for a Miss of twelve years. The materials are Neapolitan lace and gimp: the front is formed entirely of lace with the exception of the edge, which is bordered with a narrow edge of blue silk shired lengthwise, and the sides are ornamented by loops of blue ribbon, with long fringed ends: the curtain is of straw and silk. The face trimmings consist of a full cap of blonde mingled with forget-me-nots.

 Fig.6). Left. White satin bonnet from Wildes,  251 Broadway, New York. Composed of white satin, white moss silk, and blonde. The front is of satin, the edge bordered by a narrow fold of moss silk. The crown is of silk, and laid on with sufficient fullness to form a ruffle, which extends entirely round the crown, forming a double curtain: the edge is finished with a superb fall of blonde, headed by a piping of white satin. The right side is adorned with a graceful ostrich plume, tipped with marabout. The inside of the brim is edged with scarlet velvet, over which is laid a full cap of blond, interspersed with green velvet leaves. On the left side is a bow and ends of scarlet velvet ribbon, edged with black lace. Broad white strings striped with satin.

Fig. 7). Far left. Bonnet from Wildes,  251 Broadway, New York, we have illustrations of two  beautiful bonnets intended for mid winter. The first is composed entirely of light maroon colour velvet. The material is laid on the foundation plain, with the exception of the front, which forms four narrow plaits, terminating in two square ends on the right side, and one on the left; a deep fall of thread lace forms an edge to the plaits, and extends round the ends, forming pretty and effective side-trimmings. The curtain is of velvet, edged with narrow lace; a similar lace adorns the brim. The face trimmings consist of a full cap of blonde, intermingled with stock gilliflowers and bows of black lace. Broad strings of maroon colour ribbon. 

Fig.8). Above right. The second is composed of black and emerald green velvet. The black velvet is laid on the foundation plain, four narrow folds, alternate green and black, form a finish to the front: these folds cross on the top of the head and terminate on the right side in narrow ends, edged with black lace; the left side is adorned by clusters of green ostrich plumes. A plaiting of green and black velvet, edged with a broad fall of fine French lace, extends across the crown. The curtain is composed of alternate folds of green and black velvet, and finished with narrow lace. The face trimmings consist of a cap of blonde, with a wreath of bright coloured velvet flowers, interspersed with jet drops; over the head on the right side are quilling of fancy velvet ribbon, edged with lace. Broad green ribbon strings

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1909 Hats were large with anything that was associated with fruit, flowers or feathers used to decorate them. Frequently worn with a scarf over the top of them, to keep them on in windy conditions.


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Hat and day cap to be worn by a married woman in the 1780s

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Flamboyant turbans were popular head wear for
evening dress between 1800 to 1840.
The Gown is a reproduction 1836 evening gown that is made in silk and entirely hand stitched worn for the sesque centenary celebrations.







House cap c1850/55




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