Project Journal: 1815-1820 Regency Ensemble Part VIII: Re-Trimming the Bonnet

As with the 1819 ivory gown, the bonnet that is part of my late Regency look has also been remade from its original style. Why re-make it, you might ask?

Though the bonnet was based off of an 1819 illustration in Cunnington’s English Women’s Clothing the Nineteenth Century, it was built for use in the theatre, so the materials used to trim it are nowhere near accurate for off stage use. However, the shape and placement of the trim was accuratly reproduced from the inspiration image and that fact made the re-trimming possible, because the base of the bonnet could remain unchanged!

Before: The bonnet before re-trimming

The original trim was entirely polyester, which stands out when placed with other, more accurate garments and in natural light (rather than stage lighting). The color scheme was pink and peach fabric manipulated in various ways: the flowers were pinked and gathered lengths of polyester fabric, the ribbons were bias cut polyester fabric, the inside of the brim was lined with pink polyester shantung, and the brim was edged with white polyester lace. Aside from the polyester problem, the pink color scheme would not match my darling new spencer, which is brown and green. It’s not that the colors would clash, it’s just that they would look like they were not intended for each other… and I really wanted a coherent, matching look to my ensemble.

And After: The re-trimmed bonnet with matching spencer

I removed all of the fabric flowers, the bias ribbon trim, the lace edging and the lining. The lining was replaced with green silk shantung to match the new bonnet trimmings and the spencer while the lace edging was changed to light brown vintage cotton lace that matches the lace used on the spencer. The flowers were replaced with millinery flowers in green and light brown from my stash. I decided to use the spark of orangey-brown near the top so that the bonnet wasn’t too matchy-matchy. The ribbon was changed out for a matching green ribbon that has narrow bands of gold along the edges (I confess it is still polyester… but I like the look of it and I didn’t have enough of my matching green silk satin ribbon to use it, nor did I like the shine of the satin with the green of the flowers). And voila! A bonnet that now is the right shape and has the right trimmings to match my Regency ensemble!

You can see the green bonnet lining here

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