Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Story of a Bonnet

My hat-making journey began with fancy dress costumes, cardboard, glue and staples. Then my sister gave me a book on constructing hats. It was largely from a theatrical perspective, based on the skills it taught, and the section at the back of basic headdress types and patterns for them. I started making things just for fun, just to learn how to do them.

One of the first things I made was this bonnet, in a regency-era style, with a buckram foundation and a nice plain white cotton. It has a pleated facing that took me hours, and a button on the crown that I hand-covered with the white cotton fabric.

There was no event that I made this for. I had no plans. It was purely for the enjoyment of the challenge of making it.

Over time, however, events came up. It has been to a regency ball in Canberra (although I only carried it), a Jane Austen High Tea in Katoomba (with my friend Sarah), and it had a heck of a time partying in the photo booth at my wedding.

It's been an exciting life for a bonnet. The buckram is dented in places now, but it still looks pretty from a distance.

For Australia Day, I took it to Wattle Flat Crafts (our co-operative weekend shop in the old courtroom at my grandmother's house) with some other old historical costumes of mine, for display. The bonnet has sat there with the costumes ever since, until the other weekend when a woman asked to buy it!

I'm so happy with the end of my bonnet's story. The woman owns a chest of drawers that has a 2 hat spaces at the top - one for a top hat and one for a bonnet. The top hat has been there, with the otherspace empty all the time, waiting for a bonnet to come along. And my bonnet came along!

It reminds me of "Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue-Bonnet", a charming old Disney cartoon that we used to have on VHS as part of a Disney Channel Valentine's Day special.

I couldn't be more pleased that after an exciting life of adventure, one of my earliest pieces has found a loving home in such a charming setting, alongside a smart top hat.

I hope they get along.


  1. It was wonderful to see the video again. Thank you. As soon as the music started, I could remember the song so clearly.
    Lovely story of the bonnet. Well worth sharing!

    1. It came back to me very quickly too! And I love it as much as I did as a kid :)

  2. I'm glad to be part of this story :)

  3. How splendidly sweet. I know I've said as much before, but goodness, my dear, it's so very evident even from this early hat what an immense natural talent you have. I really think that millinery is your calling.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. What a beautiful story and a great adventure for a bonnet!

    1. Every hat deserves a happy end to its story!


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