Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A picture of my cat in a bonnet? YOU GOT IT!!

A long time ago, when the earth was still cooling, and I was still participating in the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge, I made this here bonnet:

Lots of hand-modeling in this episode. Enjoy. 

Well, sort of. The grim reality is that I purchased the bonnet from the nice people at Austentation, admired its braided nude straw goodness for about a month, and then slapped some seasonally indifferent flowers upon it.

And here's how!!

All great projects start with a plan. In my case, I planned to go to bed early one night and instead ended up drunk on Etsy searching for things like "STRAW BONNET REGENCY BONNET REENACTOR FORM STRAW." That led me to Austentation's Etsy shop (the link is to their website), and eventually to the fine piece of millinery you see above. Once I had the bonnet in hand, I sought out inspiration. As you can imagine, there is NO lack of 200-year old bad bonnet ideas.

Courtesy of Nuranar, who haunts my dreams AND my blog. I promise... the purple ruffle monster is not forgotten!

The relative simplicity of the plaid-trimmed number appealed to me, (sandwiched as it is between what appear to be lampshades embellished with adult diapers). But where does a girl find scalloped plaid silk ribbon in this crazy, crazy world?? Oh, yeah...

Using only a hammer, pinking iron and the power of my opposable thumbs, I violently carefully beautified the edges of some scrap silk taffeta that I'd previously cut into strips.

And then played around with them, singly and in layers, until I liked the effect. Everything was tacked onto the bonnet with brown cotton thread and my largest blunt needle. (It takes a while, but I can learn!)

I acquired the poppies for this bonnet from H*bby L*bby, but the rest of the bodacious floral bounty is left over from other projects. The flowers were sewn down by their stems, one at a time. Each stem is wrapped around at least one other flower before being attached. I tell myself that this is to ensure stability and strength, but in all honesty, it just made the sewing easier. (No more roly-poly stem chasing!)

Yes, the poppies look sad. You'd look sad too if you had to ride around on my head.

Sooo.... who wants to help me create a South Carolina chapter of the Regency Society?? Seriously, I have NOWHERE TO WEAR THIS STUFF. It's pathetic. No War of 1812 Battle Reenactments, no Regency Fairs (or Faires or Fayres), no nuttin'. Perhaps it's finally time to post an advertisement in the local paper and reach out to my fellow costuming nutcases.

 Or maybe I'll just stick with my current occupation of eating drugstore chocolate and writing to strangers on the internet. 

Yeah... that sounds like a solid plan.

The Challenge: #7: Accessorize!
Fabric: Scraps of pink plaid silk taffeta left over from... you guessed it! The Jehossee Project. 
Pattern: NEVER!!!!
Year: 1812ish
Notions: Assorted faux-floral odds and bits, thread, and silk remnant masquerading as ribbons.
How historically accurate is it? Aside from the questionable flower content, not bad. 
Hours to complete: 4
First worn: By my cat. 
Total cost: $30 for bonnet; $6.00 for flowers
And, as promised:


  1. I only 'got it' when I saw the picture. God I need to get out more.
    Bravo re the pinking and sewing and not stabbing yourself to death and not getting blood all over the bonnet!

  2. I love the scalloped plaid ribbon, and especially the way you copied the placement of it. Regency bonnet trim is mostly on the top and crown - it makes them different!

  3. I LOVE this bonnet. And I'm sure it's cute as a bug on! And I suggest you find a place in Somewheresville, Middle America that doesn't know the difference between 1812 and 1912 fashion and just WEAR the damn thing! Before your tabby sharpens his teeth on the crisp edges...
    Loving the posting,
    Auntie Nan

  4. I love what you did with the ribbon on your bonnet. Perfect for any cat. Now where's my Chloe for her photo?

  5. If I were in South Carolina right now, we would be parading around in our costumes. We would go to Whataburger or some other chain restaurant and dazzle all the patrons with our beauty.

    1. Whataburger?! What do you think this is, New Yawrk City?! I would happily parade around with you anywhere, including "The Kickin' Pig." (Local grease trap.)

  6. If *I* was in South Carolina still, I'd drive over just to see your creations. Talented and funny, and not afraid to be conspicuous - SC needs more people like that!