Today’s Millinery

This evening I offer the first straw bonnet form of the season. This low crown straw form is suitable for 1850s through 1864 impressions. The crown has a gentle low rise to the brim. The tip is slightly oval to hold you coiffure. The straw is wired all the way around and sized to hold its shape. As always, my straw is entirely hand sewn.

Find this bonnet in my Etsy Shop.

Published in: on April 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

I am having such indecision…. choosing which era…. choosing which fiber….

I want a garment appropriate for interpreting straw sewing in.

In one thought, I am picturing the white/grey/black large scale plaid linen that has been in the stash since I was considering it for a travel impression, paired with a pretty white with black windowpane. Linen should be comfortable and breathe. This would be cut for an 18-teen to early 1820 demo.

But… then….

I need honest thoughts on this long shortgown. It is not a US garment. It would look fabulous in this swoon worthy fabric shown to me. Friesland. Empire-jak met lange schoot en korte mouwen van bedrukt katoen met groene en witte strepen en strakke donkerrode florale banen  Vervaardigingsdatum:	1820 - 1824  Afmeting:	lengte: 91.0 cm  Materiaal:	katoen:

For something for the 1850s, I would need to stick to cottons or wools. I suppose I could use the dark green and brown plaid that has been sitting in the stash for all too long. This would need to be a sacque and petti that matched. Elizabeths Dress fabric



Published in: on April 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Today’s Millinery

Written about as Clara Rose watches geese and squirrels on the other half of the screen.

Look for this hat in my Etsy Shop.

This straw hat has a high crown and moderate brim. The crown and brim lift in a curvy “V” at center back. I rather love this look. This shape can be worn tilted back as the end of the 18th century rolls into the early 19th.

It may also be worn flat, showing off the back flare. Worn this way, this style could be used for other eras/impressions as well.

This hat shows the true nature of straw. The plait has three tones, darkest on top and lightest in the brim. This variation was all in the same hank. I didn’t notice it in the dimmer light of the livingroom where I was sewing. I did notice it in the brighter light of the kitchen as I blocked and sized it.


This hat comfortably fits my average size head both tilted back and flat on my head.

The numbers you’ll want to know:
Inside the crown is 20″
Side to side – 12″
Crown height – 4.5″
Brim depth – 3″ on sides

Some of the inspiration:

L to R:

  • Watercolor, by Anne Frankland Lewis (from A Frolic Through Time)
  • Miniature by Louis-Lié Périn-Salbreux, circa 1790s
  • Honorable Lucy Byng by John Hoppner, late 18th c. (Frick collection – New York City, New York USA)
Published in: on April 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

UFOs and NESPs

For those not familiar with these terms, these are UnFinished Objects and Not Even Started Projects. The latter can also be called PSIH, Projects Stuck in Head.

As I am sure many readers have noticed, I haven’t been posting informational post as much as I was. This is because there are too many projects stuck in my head and floating about that coherent thought is not working its way out of my fingers well at all.


  • Numerous straw pieces
  • The very important out line someone is waiting for
  • The PITA shell sewing case 2016-03-28-17.47.16.jpg.jpeg
  • Cali’s sewing box 2016-04-03-13.32.02-1.jpg.jpeg
  • The secret velvet project
  • Cali’s time travel dress
  • Pincushion experiment cushions
  • Multiple pieces to the mega project


  • My daisy hat
  • My bandbox sewing box (Don’t even have the box)
  • The spool wagons with directions
  • Tiny wooden pincushion 2016-04-16-10.58.37-1.jpg.jpeg
  • Cali’s sewing tools
  • Additional heads (have linen, need wood and batting)
  • Clara’s hammock
  • Multiple pieces to the mega project
  • Long Regency stays
  • Mae’s necklace (need the tiny cameo setting)
Published in: on April 22, 2016 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  

Today’s Millinery – Fancy Plait Soft Crown

Happy Spring!!! As today is the first day it has truly felt like spring, I am happy to offer the my first straw bonnet of the season.

This fancy straw plait soft crown is a one of a kind. The fancy plait is an artisan plait called “batwing”. It is a beautiful reflection of historic straw plaiting.

The soft crown and bavolet are a 100% silk taffeta plaid in blues, yellow and white. The crown is lined with 100% cotton voile. The bavolet is lined with 100% cotton net. Inside is a frill of 100% silk organza and white organza flowers. The ribbon is a luxurious double face satin in deep blue. The functional ties are 100% cotton sateen.

The straw is wired around the brim and back. As always, my straw is entirely hand sewn. The bavolet does have some machine sewing to get a nice crisp line.

Look for it in my Etsy shop.


Published in: on April 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm  Comments (1)  

Millinery in Process – Fancy Plait Soft Crown

What happens when I find an Amazing artisan crafted fancy straw plait? I make a soft crown bonnet of course.

This straw is fabulous to work with. The straw artist calls this a “batwing” plait. It is a modern name, while the design is very suitable to historic millinery. It is such a pretty color too.

Originally, I was going to make the crown and bavolet in an ivory windowpane taffeta. But, it seems I imagined that silk into my stash. Instead, I find this pretty blue and yellow plaid to compliment the straw nicely. The colors are light enough to not over power the straw.


I’ll add photos as I work. (around nursing a recovering feline assistant.) When finished, it will be available in my Etsy shop.

In the meantime, here are a few of the soft crown bonnets I previously made.

Want to know more about soft crowns? Here are a few previous posts.

Published in: on April 14, 2016 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery

Here is the earliest straw form I’ve made, yet. This hat was inspired by 1760s-1780s paintings. (see below) I just love how the straw curves on this hat. With the back of the brim flipped up and the front dipping just so, it is incredibly well balance. I’ve been wearing it back and forth to the sewing room. Okay, I am wearing it while I type. I lined it with a great champagne 100% silk taffeta with a great crisp crunch. It is ready for you to add your ribbons appropriately. Look for it in my Etsy Shop.




Now, I really have to make this one as well….


Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sit On This

Okay. I’ve been having a cranky day. Button pushed.

Please for the love of artistic lines and historic timelines, Stop Sitting on That!!!!

Stop sitting on hard to find originals!

Stop sitting on chairs 50 to 100 years out of date!

Yes, folding chairs are fabulous. They also have very particular timelines and uses. Please, take a look at the folding chair articles I’ve done over the years. (Please, do not ask me to appraise your chair.)

2016-04-12-11.11.21-1.jpg.jpegRegardless of how fabulously easy folding can be, the reality is the Vast majority of civilians did not own folding chairs during the war. When they were manufactured for civilian use, they were for parlors, nice parlors, initially.

Consider a regular chair. Regular chairs are sturdy, strong, better for you buttocks, back and knees. Turned upside down, they can carry/pack things inside the legs.

Also, keep in mind where you are interpreting. If you are in a home or shop, there are chairs appropriate for each room. Your parlor chair won’t be in your kitchen, nor will your kitchen chair be in your parlor. If you are a refugee,  out an about in, oh, say a camp, you are not going to have the best chair from your parlor or kitchen.

I am starting a PinBoard for everyday chairs that you may be able to find reasonable reproductions or revivals of.

An easy to follow furniture guide: click here.


Published in: on April 12, 2016 at 12:05 pm  Comments (5)  

Today’s Millinery

Today’s hat is a large mid-19th century fashion hat with a low crown and sloping brim.

This hat, with a 20.5″ interior, will suit a larger head or with a full lining, an average size head. It can be dressed up with a ribbon, flowers or a feather. Look for it in my Etsy shop.

Published in: on April 10, 2016 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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