Understanding the Ribbon Bavolet

Straw bonnet from the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village

Straw bonnet from the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village

~~~This is one of the many wonderful bonnets found in the Susan Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village. (To see some of their ribbons, be sure to hop over to the Millinery Ribbon Blog.)   ~~~ This straw bonnet shows a great many things from the over-all spoon bonnet shape to the shape of the cheektabs to the fineness of the straw. I would like us to look at the bavolet today. We also know the bavolet as the “curtain.”  The bavolet is a fabric or ribbon pleated into the back neckline edge of a bonnet. This can resemble a flounce in that the top is drawn in while the lower edge floats or flares out. The bavolet can, but does not need to be a single material as we see here. It can be made of layers of silk, net and lace. Some high-end fashion plates show beading as well. (Honestly, I don’t think I could handle beads dangling on my neck.)

~~~The MFA has an excellent example of ribbon ties and a ribbon bavolet laying flat.(Actually, while these are labeled as ribbon, I think they are made from fabric due to the edges.) The plaid design makes the directions easy to see. At the bottom (B), the ties are on the grain. At the top (A), the bavolet is on the bias with the plaid reading diagonally.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston

~~~The construction seams on the underside are covered by a net. Net is used to give the silk bavolet more body and fullness. It is sewn so the net is not seen from the outside and pleated into the bavolet.  The bavolet reaches all the way around the back of the bonnet (the tip) and up along the sides while the lower edge connects to the cheektabs.

*The section of ribbon that decorates the exterior of the bonnet can be on the grain or on the bias. The ties need to be on the grain. To see a nice example of the ribbon decorating over the top of the bonnet, see this MFA example that happens to have the bavolet on the grain. Notice how the bavolet flops more than floats.

(For some reason WP is losing my paragraph formating right now. I hope the ~~~ make this a little easier to read.)

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Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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