View Full Version : Straw Bonnet Kit/Pattern

05-26-2007, 06:26 PM
Hi! I recently found this kit/pattern to create a straw bonnet. I just want to make sure that it is an authentic pattern before I go ahead and order it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is the web address.........


05-26-2007, 10:07 PM
Miss Lottie,

The pattern maker has documentation for this bonnet. I started one going by the pattern. You MUST size it to your head before you ever start laying out your pieces to form your bonnet. The pattern, as is, is small.

I have one made from this pattern that someone else made and it is a lovely straw bonnet.

I can't look at what is available at this time however, usually you will find these bonnets on this site. http://home.earthlink.net/~gchristen/catalog.htm

Beverly Simpson

05-27-2007, 05:50 PM
I can't imagine what the modern interfacing would be for? The draft of the shape and a shaping template, perhaps? The overall shape looks very nice.

05-29-2007, 10:38 AM
The interfacing is stitch and tear interfacing and is used for the template. It gives the stiffness you need to shape your bonnet.

Beverly Simpson

Delia Godric
05-29-2007, 11:41 AM
Period straw workers did not use a template while making bonnets. They worked the straw plait over a bonnet block to get the shape the industry was looking for at the time. These blocks were changed seasonally or sooner when a manufacturer representative would pick up finished bonnets and deliver new plait. The bonnets were formed working from the crown forward to the brim. (My understanding is that this pattern works from the brim backwards.) The shape of the bonnet is developed as each row of plait is added. The plait can be attached tighter or looser set with more or less overlap on the previous plait to help develop the shape. The final shape of the bonnet was done at the factory on a block after the bonnet underwent wiring and various other treatments.

Anna Worden

05-30-2007, 08:39 AM
How does one make this bonnet? Is it a kit that has the straw and you "weave" it yourself over some sort of mold or model head? And then decorate it with ribbon or something?

Delia Godric
05-30-2007, 09:28 AM
From what I understand, this kit includes straw plait, directions and a template. Straw plait is braided straw. I've heard this kit has nice quality straw plait. I don't believe there is any sort of bonnet block to form the bonnet over. A bonnet block would be better than just a template. But, there are many factors to consider with blocks; first is the cost of including a reproduced block; second would be selecting which original block to copy.

I can tell you the general method of making a plait bonnet in the period. Straw was harvested, dried and bleached. Each shaft of straw was split for finer uses. The straw was then plaited (braided) into various patterns and widths. The plait was then hand sewn into the form of a bonnet working from the crown forward over a bonnet block provided to the sewer by the manufacturer she worked for. The raw edges of the straw plait at the sides of the brim and cheektab were bound by straw plait. Sewn bonnets were collected from homes and taken to a straw factory. Here they are further shaped, sized, wired and finished for sale to millinery shops. A milliner or individual would then decorated the bonnet as desired with a curtain, ribbon, ruching and other embellishments.

Does that answer what you are asking?

Anna Worden

05-30-2007, 10:39 AM
Yes it does, thank you Anna. (Sounds like a lot of work!)

Delia Godric
05-30-2007, 11:04 AM
It was allot of work. It is allot of work still. That is why good straw bonnets cost what they do. When I custom make a straw plait bonnet, I spend many nights after work putting the base together. (Then comes decorating, which tends to get me excited and pulling an all-nighter.) I am awed by the milliners who make pieces on a regular basis.

Anna Worden