In which I trim my own bonnet.

Those of you who’ve met me will know I like hats, because it’s kind of obvious. I’ve always been this way. When my mum was marrying my stepdad she asked what I wanted to wear, and I said I wanted to go as a gangster, so she bought me a suit, tie ( pink, to go with the grooms outfit) and a proper trilby, which I refused to take off for over a month, I even wore it in the bath.

but the greatest tragedy of my teenage years was that I didn’t have a seventeenth century hat, I desperately wanted one but my pocket money just wouldn’t stretch to it. My mum used to spend hours before every ecws event torturing my hair into ringlets instead, prompting my stepbrothers to follow me around barking the theme tune to “dogtanian and the three muskehounds”

about ten years ago I bought the longed for hat from Tom norbury, despite not doing seventeenth century reenactment any more. It’s even  nicer than the ones I’d lusted after, because it’s a proper fur felt instead of wool. It sat in my hat pile for ages, and this morning I decided to pimp it to go with the jacket I’m making.

first step was to anchor two sturdy threads into the brim. These are for later, so for now I’m just wrapping them round a pin to keep them out of the way.


Next I’m going to line the brim with the same yellow satin as the jacket.  I’m going to admit I couldn’t find any real evidence for c17th brim lining, but since the look I’m going for is ” I nicked this off mi lady di winter” I decided to go for it anyway. ( obviously I’m talking about the Faye dunaway incarnation, not the recent bbc effort- and I am using the word effort in the derogatory northern intonation here)


Then I pinned that down at the clock points before teaching into place. I wasn’t worried about neatness with the tack stitches because they’re going to get covered up.


yesterday I wove a bit of c17th tablet weave. It’s basically the same band I did for jenny tiramani at the globe a few years ago, but narrower and in two colours. I’ve been wanting to make some of this band for myself ever since because I love the texture. I would have liked cornflower blue silk, but all I had was black.


The white band is the sample I kept from Jenny’s order. I sewed my black bit down to cover the join in the satin. It did look quite alarmingly Mexican at this point…


Next- feathers!

because the ostrich plumes were quite thick in the stem I whittled them down a bit before piercing a couple of sewing holes.


I staggered the angles slightly as I sewed then to the side.


The other thing I made yesterday was an enamelled buckle, because you can’t have a fancy cavalier hat without a buckle. I had considered doing a silver one, but decided to experiment instead. It’s not based on any particular find, but c17th types did seem to love white enamel – think cheapside hoard ( I know it’s associated with the sixteenth century, but a lot is later)

I pleated some blue silk and added my buckle, before tacking it on.


Next I dealt with the plumes. Mine aren’t as foofy at the ends as I would have liked, so I tied a linen thread around the end of each one and stitched them down to the hat, thus hiding the ends and making the plumes look more rounded.


I finally unwrapped the linen threads from the brim, piercing the crown of the hat and tying them off to lift up the side of the hat and conceal the join in the hatband.


Add a lining…


And we’re done!


You may all now proceed to spend your days seething with jealousy because my hat is prettier than your hat.

~ by opusanglicanum on July 21, 2016.

23 Responses to “In which I trim my own bonnet.”

  1. Actually I am seething in jealousy cos I don’t have a hat never mind one as fancy as that!
    incredible work, as usual

  2. Oooh! I love it! (And yes, I’m a bit jealous).

  3. Beeeaaauutiful!

  4. Consider me seething. I still remember with regret a garden party hat my mum had which evaporated in a move when I was 10. A huge brim and a velvet crown. I would dearly love to have it now. I do have a real (antique) Beaver – which a friend said made me look like Inca royalty! A tuck the tip of a peacock feather into the band.

    • Things do go missing in house moves, don’t they? We always had a tiny wooden fairground carousel on the dresser, you spun it round and loved that thing when I was a kid, but we never found it when we moved

  5. I hope you don’t mind that I reblogged this on my blog. It’s a great post and you created a fantabulous hat!!

  6. […] Source: In which I trim my own bonnet. […]

  7. […] Source: In which I trim my own bonnet. […]

  8. It’s a real Puss in Boots hat, isn’t it?

  9. Oh my goodness, that is fabulous! The Three Musketeers is my absolute favourite book ever (thanks to the Banana Splits cartoon) and I am completely and utterly jealous of your hat!

  10. This is true. You do have the best hat.

  11. Reblogged this on Annjrippin's Blog and commented:
    This is a blog post from the incredibly talented Tanya which I thought would appeal to those of you who love hats.

  12. What a wonderful hat! The air in my general vicinity just turned green with envy…!

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