Regency Bonnet – opinion, please

Austentation Jane Austen Late Georgian Early Regency Straw Bonnet - Plain.

Austentation Jane Austen Late Georgian Early Regency Straw Bonnet – Plain.

Who thought it would be this hard? I’m having a devil of a time deciding what to do with the ribbon on this bonnet.

I don’t want to do plain ribbon, so I went through hundreds of images and photos of bonnets and there is evidence of folded ribbon used on bonnets. So, good. But I could not determine the pattern of the folds. Not so good. I went through Pinterest looking for examples of ribbon folding and found quite a few inspiring pieces, like this one:

(photo copyright Threads Magazine)

(photo copyright Threads Magazine)

But I don’t think that’s appropriate for 1795.

The ribbon with which I fell in love is a gorgeous, true emerald green. But it is wide, just under 3.5 inches. Yesterday I played around with folding patterns. (One virtue of polyester – pins don’t leave holes.) But everything I tried looked wrong. The ribbon doesn’t gather well. Eventually I folded it in half lengthwise and started playing around with folding again. In the end, I went with a simple, one-inch wide fold. By some miracle, the folds aligned perfectly in the back so it looks continuous. (The blue-green color is not right, it really is emerald green.)

But I’m not sure I like it.

Every time I look at it I think of a straw boater, not a Regency bonnet. On the other hand, it’s not finished. I want to add a white ostrich feather that gently curves over the crown from left to right. And a little something, don’t know what yet, at the base of the feather. And, of course, the ties.

Happily, it’s early on and changes are easy. Perhaps I should use plain ribbon after all and let the feather(s) be the fun part. (I’m leaning heavily toward this option.) Any thoughts or suggestions?

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8 thoughts on “Regency Bonnet – opinion, please

  1. I’m not a stickler for how historically accurate my ribbon pleat designs are, so I would do that pink design in a heartbeat because, golly, it is gorgeous! But it does seem that around 1795, bows, bows, and more bows mixed with a goodly amount of feathers was de rigueur: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_RUU4-OKJf7w/TJ-tabezWnI/AAAAAAAABWs/BzULfPtgAdo/s1600/1795-gallery-of-fashion.jpg
    I have this tutorial saved for a future 18th century gown that you might like: http://www.rowleydiy.com/DIY-Projects/DIY_Origami-Ruffle.asp
    It’s simple box pleats that are pinched together in the middle– quite fancy with little fuss! That being said, I think your current pleats look nice. With plumes and a bow, you’ll have quite a fetching bonnet!

    • Thanks for the fashion plate link! The pink design really is fabulous. Mine will probably look more like the one on the far left, but that’s still a fun piece. So a bow and feathers it is. 🙂
      And thanks, too, for the link the origami ruffle – I wondered how it’s done. Now I know.

    • This is one of my favorite portraits of that period. I love her hat/bonnet (hard to tell which it is) and getting a look like that would be fabulous. I would love to reproduce the entire ensemble one of these days. Thank you for reminding me of this lovely work.

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