Today’s Millinery – Chapeaux de Paille

This particular hat was a bit of a challenge. I met a woman at the GCV Jane Austen/1812 event who wanted to see me make a shape she called a “capote”. I have to admit, from My mid-nineteenth century perspective I had quite a bit of trouble wrapping my head around this shape that encompassed the back of the head with no brim. 

Of course, I had to look a little further. Looking at fashion plates and originals, I saw a few things. First, the word capote being used for soft bonnets in several shapes, often cap like, but not in straw. 😦 Next, originals in the shape she described made out of fancy straw plaits, an inch to two inches wide. Not the plait that is easily acquired, nor tried on a new shape. I also saw a few plates with similar shapes in straw. These were each called Chapeaux de Paille. 

From The Museum of London.

Working from the fashion plates, this is the bonnet/hat I created. As I started working with the straw, the illustration with the flared brim and green spray is where I leaned for the brim and front of the crown, while looking more towards the two with blue ribbons for the crown and tip. I used my new block to get the shape of the crown as I learned from the test block that it fit the head very nicely. 


I see this lined through the brim with a flattering color silk taffeta and a spray of greenery or blossoms around the flare. (I’m eyeing a champagne silk for the inside.) 

I will get this listed soon. 

Here is the shop listing. (Sold)

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Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm  Comments (9)  

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lovely! Nice job Anna.

  2. Thank you. I am curious to hear what people think because this is such a different shape for me.

  3. I would love one of these!

  4. This one is up for sale.

  5. What year do you place this, Anna?

  6. The plates I worked from are 1803&1804.

  7. Hi Anna,
    I am loving the look and fit of the chapeau de paille I received from you a few weeks ago, but I’m uncertain exactly how to finish it. Were these bonnets lined in the tip? Do they have some kind of ribbon sweatband where the lining ends? How about inside the brim? I’ve looked at a lot of bonnet exteriors but the interiors are harder to see. Thanks for any help you can give me.
    Lorraine.

  8. Hi Lorraine,
    I am glad you enjoy the shape and fit.
    I’ve focused so much on the shapes, I have not spent much time on the finishing. I am also researching that now.

  9. Hi Lorraine,
    I am glad you enjoy the shape and fit.
    I’ve focused so much on the shapes, I have not spent much time on the finishing. I am also researching that now.
    I have a rather crazy week ahead. I’ll try to get some images together.


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