The State of Things

I have now gone several days without sewing. Normally, when I am sick I just fall asleep with project in hand, needle and thread in mid-stitch. This round, I do not have the energy to do even that and I am just to icky all around. (So, why did I go to work? Because I am an idiot. Because I hate dealing with the mess. Because I am an idiot.) As a ick infected germ monster, I reserve the right to be cranky and say things I would not otherwise say. So, that being said, let us call the next section of this post “um, no”.

Um, No…

With the mid-19th century and earlier straw in mind….

  • If any part of the bonnet will melt…. um, no
  • If the seller claims the shape is good from the 18th century through mid-19th…. um, no
  • If a bonnet is shiny…. um, no.
  • If any part of the bonnet is machine sewn …. um, no
  • If it makes a dry crackling sounds… um, no
  • If it flops or sags…. um, no
  • If it is “made to fold”….um, no

“Just History”

Okay maybe this is just a tad over the catty line. But, I’m sick, I don’t care.

This was actually said. Yes. Really. Some of us who interpret history happen to like history. We happen to think history is important; that research is important.

I accept that maybe this was a slip of the tongue and not meant in the way it was taken. I accept that I read the statement in between boughts of coughing, sneezing and fever spikes. But, really???

“When you get one in”

Now, this statement I am actually glad this person made. This tells me there are people out there, possibly many people, who think I have straw bonnet forms arrive at my house that I shape into era specific bonnets. Um, no. This is not the case. What arrives at my house is straw plait, aka straw braid. The straw is one long strand coiled into a hank.It must be checked for flaws or knots; sections are sometimes exiled. (I really aught to start making the birds in the area nests.) The plait/braid I prefer to use is between 1/4″ and 1/2″. I sew each and every single row by hand. Each row must be adjusted for tension and curve to create the specific shape I am developing. I use cotton thread and very strong, sharp needles specifically designed for straw. Once the form is made, it is wired with millinery wire and blocked with one of two sizing/blocking solutions to firm the straw to hold the form and longer life.

Published in: on March 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. and those of us that have your bonnets, thank you for your hard work!

  2. Thank you.

  3. Thank you, Anna, for this great explanation. I’ve always wondered! Hope you get well soon!!

  4. You are welcome. I’m realizing I should have done a post with photos a good while back.

  5. It always amazes me how some people think things are made. It’s probably one of the main reasons I like sewing by hand when I’m at the Fort…. so people can see how it’s done. I don’t have one of your bonnets, but they are beautiful and I appreciate all the work you put into them.


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