Tools of the Trade: Millinery in the 19th Century

This past weekend, I did a presentation focusing on straw millinery as cottage industry. This developed out of a larger program I have been envisioning as Tools of the Trade, where an assortment of trades focuses on the tools they use.

I had planned on sharing the details of my plan following the event. As you read on Saturday, that is not where my mind was come that evening. With some delay, here is the breakdown of what I had in mind.

The goal – Open discussion about the different roles within the millinery trade and the materials used.

The tools and supporting materials (tools in bold):

  • Natural straw stalks
  • Straw Splitter
  • Split straw
  • Straw being braided
  • Braided straw
  • Straw hat in progress
  • Straw hat completed (easier to visualize than a bonnet)
  • Bonnet or hat block
  • Flower petal or leaf dies
  • Cut silk petals/leaves
  • Examples of completed flowers
  • Ribbons
  • Sewing work box with needles, thread, scissors, etc

Last minute, I made a reference book with images of original blocks and illustrations/photos of womenworking with straw. I’ve been trying to bring more reference materials with me in case visitor discussion needs it. For other recent events, I’ve brought reprinted books. This compilation was lighter and more condensed.

A similar interpretive discussion display could be created focusing on dressmaking. Tools included for discussion prompts could include a pinking machine, sad iron, flutting iron, and an equipt sewing workbox.

  • An equipt workbox
  • Sewing bird
  • Sad iron
  • Fluting iron
  • Pinking machine
Published in: on May 31, 2022 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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