I’m pretty impressed (if I do say so myself) that I did manage to turn Luke’s old straw hat into a Regency era bonnet, which was relatively comfortable and carefully finished. The hardest part was actually getting a good photo of it.
In the end I resorted to putting it onto the most cooperative living mannequin available, my eldest daughter, Amelia. If you look here you can see the inspiration for it. To create it, I cut off the crown of the straw hat, (just above the hat-band) and stapled together a pinch of the brim at the back. I made a replacement soft crown with a large gathered fabric circle and band, just like on my chef’s hat.
Above is a reminder of what the hat looked like before.
After gathering a large amount of fabric, I attached it to the underside of the brim, and stitched it in place, around the edge. I bound the edge of the brim with bias binding, just like on a quilt. The crown was gently stitched to the brim, covering up the old hatband, (which was a really handy thing to stitch through, easier than the straw) and a red ribbon finished it off, covering the stitching.
The red ribbon crossed over at the back, and I stitched it to the edges of the brim in 2 places that corresponded to just behind my ears. This gave it the bonnet shape when it was done up.
To show you what it looked like on me, I will have to show you a terrible night-time selfie.
I spent the day of the party in bed with a migraine, so even though I was on track to finish the dress and bonnet in plenty of time to get a daylight photo, it wasn’t to be.
In the end, I cut a few corners with the dress. I only finished it thanks to my hubby Luke who pinned up the hem, (while I stood there in the dress feeling frail) and my Mother, Madeleine, who stitched it, just in time for us to leave. Next time I’ll show you the dress…