This black straw hat has something special. I started with the basic proportions of these hats, wide semi-shallow oval crown with a moderately narrow brim.

Then I added a pretty braided edge to the brim. The hat has a 22″ crown, rising 2″, with a brim that is 12″ front to back and 11.5″ side to side. 

Find this hat in my Etsy Shop. 

Published in: on May 22, 2018 at 4:40 pm  Comments (1)  

Things I Think I Need to Make

You know how you have random things running around in your head and need to get them out of your head?

Well, this is that.

Random things I think I need to make….

  • A couple or a few linen market wallets – Carrying on my shoulders is a whole lot easier right now. This will be for going into and out of the village. Not visitor times, but still will make my life easier.
  • Something lovey and sweet. There’s a thing. It’s a heart crushing thing.
  • An apron with pockets for my straw. There is something just a bit humorous about sewing away, then standing up to answer a question only to have the straw on my lap fall on the floor. Then having it happen moments later. Apron… with pockets.
  • The dress I started, the one with the red stripe. That needs a bodice. Then the bodice needs sleeves.
  • A box for buckles and belts with buckles. Or, is it buckles with belts? Anyway. One, organized place for all of them to go, be, and return to. I am estimating a rectangle, the width of a neatly folded belt with buckle, by a length suited to three or four folded belts long and a couple or few belts tall. Plus, lid.
  • That linen duffel bag I said I was going to make…. then forgot I was going to make… then was reminded about as I was pondering the above mentioned market wallet.
  • Hat/bonnet stands. These should be assembled this week and awaiting the paint decision.
  • The pillows. I’m supposed to be making pillows from the pretty blue fabric. It is soft and lovely.
  • Cat tent. Or, did that get on hold because she got her awesome box fort? ….. Eegads, my cat has her own fabric stash.

Thank you for the brain dump. I suppose this could be considered an extension of the earlier May update.


Stands assembled an hour after the post. Not bad. 

Adding reweaving this doll chair to the list. 

Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

May Update 

For a month I didn’t have much planned for, I am pretty tired at the moment. How come? Ah. In a word: Testing.

Warning, I am breaking my “don’t talk about work” rule: We have entered the season of testing at work: Field testing, MAPs testing, online testing, Regents testing… Each mean days that on the surface should be easy, its just paperwork and watching students after-all. But, no. These are the days of stressed children suck every bit of energy out leaving the team of us drained at the end of the day. Shhhh, I actually love being this busy.

_20180514_183948This means I haven’t made quite as many millinery pieces as planned. But… good news…. there are Bonnets! I started with Galaxy, my block that makes 1840s bonnets and a lower brim bonnet. I love this wood block. (The plaster blocks are so much more fragile.)

Don’t worry, I have gotten out and spent some time in this beautiful weather. We went to the George Eastman House last weekend. They have this nifty thing going on now where vignettes of different movies are arranged throughout the house.

Many to most of them are table settings bringing together the theme of each movie. One item in the Arsenic and Old Lace display caught my attention. Check out this sheer cap:

Mom and I spent Sunday evening on the Canandaigua Lady for their Murder Mystery Cruise. I enjoyed the Mystery Company’s performance. (I wasn’t so thrilled with the dining dynamics.) It was very nice to see the sunset from the lake. I did talk on Millinery in Context for the 140thVI, a local reenacting group, during their spring civilian seminar. The presentation focused on what women wore on their heads in the most commonly interpreted situations through a focus of visual evidence. I wonder if anyone has any photos of that.


Um, well I haven’t made a speck of progress on my stripe dress. I haven’t had a bit of inspiration enough to get going on the bodice. So, it is currently a skirt with a gap in the hem tape.

I have a set of hat/bonnet stands that will be made next. The paint color is yet to be decided. I have a golden yellow that nearly matches the chairs I picked up. I also have a peach that could look quite nice. Both on clearance. Obviously, two very different directions.

I’ve been dressing three new dolls while working on the new little book project.



Coming up later in May and in June…

  • I will be at GCVM for their 1812 event demonstrating sewing straw.
  • I have lots of millinery on my list to catch up on. I also need to get some display pieces made.
Published in: on May 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm  Comments (3)  

Monday’s Millinery 

Tonight, I finally have two bonnets to offer, one natural and one black straw. Both are low brim style bonnets with a gradual rise from crown to brim. Both bonnets were block on one of my original bonnet blocks. 

These bonnets are available in my Etsy shop. 

Published in: on May 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today’s Millinery 

Today, I have a fashionable low crown Civil War era hat for you. This is a hat for an average to large size head. 

I am listing this in my Etsy shop momentarily. 

Published in: on May 9, 2018 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Shapes & Styles

It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to make a photo glossary of each of the styles of straw bonnets and hats I make. I know, this just occurred to me after how many years of making these?

Here is a start at a sampling of the shapes and styles I make. 

1850s-1865 (Pre-Civil War through Civil War)


Fashionable “Spoon” bonnet with a higher brim. This brim is more oval from the front.


Cottage style bonnet with a gentle rise from crown through brim. This brim often has a rounder shape from the front.


Marie Stuart style bonnet with the dip in the center front of the brim.


Soft crown bonnet. This style has a solid straw front and a soft crown (back) that can be made of silk, net, or lace.


Fashionable low crown hat. This is the most common shape hat seen in fashion illustrations and photographs during the war years. The brim is shaped into a curve.


Fashionable shallow hat with a gentle transition from the very shallow crown to brim.


A fashionable Mousquetaire style hat with a high, tapered crown and narrow shaped brim. 


Toque style hat with a dip center front. A toque is a brimless hat.


Wool and silk winter hood.


Silk “Pumpkin” style wadded hood.




1800-1820s (Regency Era)


Tapered crown chapeau.


Straight crown chapeau.


Shorter straight crown chapeau.


Chapeau (I have to look up the name on this.)





1830s-1840s (Early Victorian “Romantic” Era)


Bonnet  with a slightly flared, round brim.

1865-1880s (Mid to later Victorian “Bustle” era)


Hat with Marie Stuart dip


Tapered crown hat


Small bonnet

More photos coming….



Published in: on May 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm  Comments (1)  


Cinderella 1855

I was wishing for a delightful twist on the story I had not yet heard when I saw this illustration in Godey’s 1855. Instead, I simply read:

This plate needs no story or poem from us to illustrate it. It will please the young reader, and call a smile to the faces of the old, who well remember when they were delighted with the story of Cinderella and the little glass slipper.

Published in: on May 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Goblin Bonnets of Every Age

1855Excerpt from The Milliner’s Dream’ or, The Wedding- Bonnet, by Alice B. Neal (Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1855.)

“Goblin bonnets of every age and shape flitted before her, and jeered her lack of invention. They floated their tags and streams gayly in her face; they peered curiously at her from over her shoulders, or, joining hands, danced through the air in mocking pantomime.

“”Nothing new, nothing new,” seemed to be the burden of their mimic shapes and gestures, while a crushed, frayed, and faded apparition, arrayed in a mode long since forgotten, whispered in a shrill, melancholy voice –

“All is vanity and vexation of spirit.”


Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 4:29 pm  Comments (1)  

How Many Buckle are Too Many Buckles?

Yah. Well. Hmmm….

A pretty buckle arrived today. This is an original Gutta Percha buckle I spontaneously bought last week when I saw it really labeled for a fraction of what Gutta Percha pieces usually are. It is actually, likely a pressed horn buckle. Elizabeth painted out the layers on the back. I can confirm there are definitely layers and the beginning of flaking on the back 

I am looking forward to being able to show it alongside the beautiful reproduction Gutta Percha buckle I have by Elizabeth Aldridge. I thought it would be cool to show two with such similar motifs together. (I am envisioning a nifty display of originals and quality reproductions somewhere sometime in the future.) 


I do have a fondness for buckles. I do think I’ve pushed that line of too many. Here are a few that I have. I really wanted to share a petite pressed metal one I particularly like. I just can’t seem to find it. I like the lean line and delicate flowers on it. 

I also have nearly all of reproduction J.R. buckles exclusively offered by Ensembles of the Past. I really do have all but one, the Fleur pattern in silver, gold, black, and bronze, the Bee pattern in silver, gold, and black. 

I keep a stash of Mother of Pearl slide buckles in my sewing box for those just in case fashion emergencies. 

When looking through my blog photos , I discovered that Apparently I put together this montage of slide buckles last year just before going into the hospital. I don’t think I ever did anything with it. It seems appropriate to share it here.


Published in: on May 2, 2018 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

This weekend’s Hats

I have two hats to offer this weekend. 

This first hat follows the Mousquetaire style, with an added dip to the brim. I happened to be working on this hat when a sweet suprise arrived including a photo of a high tapered crown hat with a dip in the front brim. I decided this hat needed to have that great look. This hat has a 4″ tall tapered crown that is 21.5″ around. The narrow shaped brim is 11.5″ wide, while only being 10.5″ front to back. 

The second hat has a minimal crown meant to barely cup the head. This hat is meant to play host to a beautiful feather plumes or spray of flowers. The crown is 19″ around for an average to small head, while rising 2″. The brim is 11.5″ wide and 11″ front to back with a slightly deeper front brim curing down fashionably. 

Both hats are being added to my Etsy shop now. 

Published in: on April 28, 2018 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment