How I Make Bonnets….

This morning something came up in a FB group that let me know some people have a complete misconception of what I do when I make bonnets.

What I do Not do:
  • I do not use pre-sewn hats, nor hat forms.
  • I do not cut-down, nor reshape pre-sewn hats.
  • I do not reblock pre-made hats or hat forms.
  • I do not use synthetic thread.
  • I do not machine sew straw.
What I do do:
  • wpid-img_38176305053705.jpegI work with straw plait in a variety of widths ranging from fine to coarse, a quarter inch (fashionable) to three-quarters of an inch (coarse.) These straws have included Milan, French and a British straw among others. The image to the right shows a comparison of the coarse straw and a nicer Milan straw.
  • I hand shape and sew each row of plait with 100% cotton thread.
  • I develop the shape of each hat and bonnet by adjusting the curve and tension of the straw. This is how I get different brim heights and shapes. I also bend the straw to make it around the curves and corners found in the different eras I am working with this year.
  • I wire each bonnet and hat by hand, again with 100% cotton thread.
  • I block and size each piece by hand using one of two sizings. For some pieces I have carved blocks to aide in the shaping.

It takes approximately 6 to 7 hours to sew a small hat and 7 to 9 for a medium size hat, while most bonnets take between 8 and 12 hours with some more unique shapes or larger bonnets taking longer. Some pieces are blocked all at once at the end while others I am trying to get particular shapes in are blocked in stages. With humid summer days, it can take over 24 hours of drying before I am comfortable photographing or shipping a piece.

Here are some images of work in progress to give you a better idea:

wpid-img_38251188341288.jpeg  wpid-fb_img_14269757306490004.jpgwpid-img_38191618186747.jpegwpid-fb_img_14330205522605342.jpg wpid-img_38240318919330.jpeg

See the different straw shapes I have developed based on originals this year in my 2015 Shape Gallery.

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Published in: on June 8, 2015 at 6:30 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What you do do is make beautiful bonnets. I’m just tickled I finally managed to score one. I’ve always been amazed with the little bit I knew of the process. To see you detail it by step, just increased my appreciation.

  2. This is what makes your bonnets true works of art.


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