Where I attempt a black silk bonnet and learn the valuable lesson of using the right search engine.

I admit I used to be one of those people who insisted that the black bonnet look was a Regency concoction that had no business in reenacting. Much to my annoyance you have all managed to convince me otherwise. It is to my annoyance because in my unofficial quest to have every item of clothing ever made between the years 1720 and 1790 of course I realized that I needed one. And then I discovered that At the Sign of the Golden Scissors has documentation back to 1744 and if I made it right I could wear it for both wars. That completely clinched the deal.

So I pigheadedly forged ahead. I did my research of course, and looked at reproductions, and the prices some were selling for. I managed to convince myself that I could indeed make one and did not need to shell out the money to someone else. I must add here that my hat experience consists of buying blanks and then decorating them. I didn’t even know what to expect when I ordered a half a yard of something called “buckram”. I looked and looked via Bing (the default search engine on my computer) for some pattern to help me and found nothing so I just went with what I thought I knew.

I even made a full blown mockup with a cardboard brim and muslin caul and everything was hunky dory. I cut out the buckram and this beautiful Persian Black Silk from Wm. Booth Draper and sewed it all together and Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve never seen a floppier brim. So I added some good strong wire. Now it was just floppy with a wire. So I took it on vacation to stare at it for a week and figured I’d do one last internet search looking for a miracle. This time I used Google because that was the default on my phone. The third listing was  Fashions Revisited. And she has a pattern. I could have cried.

So now I don’t know what to do. I know that A Fashionable Frolick used two layers of buckram instead of one. I have half a mind to just take it apart and add the extra layer. Or I could save myself the headache, buy more fabric, buy the darn pattern, and do it right. Or I could just swallow my pride and my “I can do ANYTHING” attitude and buy one from someone who actually knows what they’re doing…



  1. If you can bear it, you can try again with stiffer buckram or chip board coated with shellac. Or you can glue not-so-stiff buckram to chip board. If you use chip board, make sure to check the grain, because it *will* crease if you don't pay attention! Bend a piece and you will see–with the grain bends easily, against does not.

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