Copper Straw Hat and a Decorated Hat in Shop

Here are the first straw millinery pieces of the season!

First, is a fashionable shallow taper crown hat in copper straw. This is both a favorite shape and a favorite color.

The hat I decorated this month is the fun dome style that is seen in recreational images. The shape of the brim makes this hat incredibly well balanced and comfortable. It is trimmed with pleated chocolate moire ribbon.

Published in: on January 25, 2020 at 2:06 pm  Comments (3)  

New Block

EDIT Saturday morning: I keep staring at this block. One hour, I am two thirds pleased with my assessment. The next hour, I think I am wrong. Its that crown.

Published in: on January 24, 2020 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wadded Pumpkin Hood in Shop

The stunning shot silk on this pumpkin hood can look purple or red or green or blue depending on which way the light hits it. This is the softest pumpkin hood I’ve made yet, with the tissue taffeta on the outside and the squishy local wool inside. Inside is a brown cotton sateen. The bavolet is lightly batted like the originals I have. I couldn’t make up my mind on the ribbons, so I picked a black cotton sateen.

Oh…. Check out the heart that appeared on the crown!

I will be switching back to straw millinery soon. Please let me know if I still need to make some more hoods.

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

What is a Pumpkin Hood?

A Pumpkin hood is a style of sewn winter hood made in the first half of the nineteenth century and later eighteenth century. This type of hood is also known as a wadded hood or an “ugly.”

The pumpkin hood was commonly made with three pieces: the brim, crown, and bavolet. Rather than being quilted, the brim has parallel channels sewn across the head which were filled with wool wadding or down. Between these channels, narrower channels of cord help draw up the brim and give it light structure. Occasionally, some of these channels are cane or wire, though not as often as in quilted styles. The crown of this style tends to be small, with a row or two of additional wadding. The bavolet ranges from rather a rather short couple inches to as much as four inches.

The Pumpkin hood is one of the, if not the, warmest style hood as it hugs the head snuggly. The draw back is there is no protection for the face.

The exterior fabric is most frequently silk taffeta. The smooth, tight weave helps with moisture control. Dark solid silks out number the plaids and lighter colors, which were also used. The linings tend to be polished cotton or cotton sateen in neutral browns and creams. Most pieces have a facing of the exterior silk.

I find wool wadding to appear more frequently in originals than down. The wadding fairly evenly fills the channels, though not as firmly as some quilted hoods. These hoods are quite soft. The bavolet tends to be very lightly filled, though I suspect some loss has occurred over time for some pieces.

A bow tends to embellish the center back of the crown at the neckline. Some pieces also have a row of smaller bows or mock-bows along the top of the brim.

Additional Examples in Other Collections:

Late 18th, early 19th century example at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Mid-19th century plaid example at the McCord Museum

Plaid example at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

1840s example at the Henry Ford Museum


Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Lappet Style Winter Hoods

A lappet style winter hood is distinguished by its elongated cheektabs reflecting the look of a lace lappet. These extended cheektabs align with a deep brim that comes forward of the face. Lappet style hoods are batted thinner than many other hoods. This makes it easy to fold back the brim. Laid flat, this deep brim and long lappets can protect the face. Folded back it allows for ease of vision.

This style hood is distinct among its quilted and wadded counterparts, yet lacked a name. The distinct long, wide cheektabs so similarly reflect a lappet’s shape and position of wear, the name lappet became obviously appropriate.

Lappet style hoods are found with three piece construction and two piece construction.

This hood is a three piece construction: crown, brim, and bavolet. This example has a green wool exterior and pink silk interior for the brim while the crown and bavolet are lined in green polished cotton. The pink silk interior would be visible if the brim was turned back. In most of this style, the neck edge of the crown, where the bavolet is attached, a channel is created so it can be drawn up for fit.

This next hood is a two piece construction: a combined brim/crown piece and a bavolet. Notice the bavolet length is on the longer side compared with other styles of winter hoods. This hood had the same green with pink color combination as the one above, but the exterior and interior are both silk.

This all black example is a three piece construction with an silk exterior and interior. You can see a line where this brim was turned back.

Lappet style hoods in other collections:

This pink lappet style hood is currently on display at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. It is shown with the brim turned back. You can see how the neck edge of the crown can be drawn up inside for comfort and fit.

18th century example at the Boston Museum of Fine Art

1850 example at the MET


To make your own lappet style winter hood

Finished hood currently available:

Published in: on January 14, 2020 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pumpkin Hood in Shop

This wadded style winter hood was often called a pumpkin hood. This type of hood hugs the head like a snuggly warm pillow.

This hood is based on several pumpkin hoods in my collection using the same techniques found in the originals. The exterior is an forest green silk taffeta. The lining is a mohogany brown cotton sateen. The super soft wadding inside is a local wool. It is trimmed with a soft vintage moire ribbon in chocolate brown bows.

I do want you to notice the crease in the silk on the bavolet. Despite ironing before cutting and ironing the pieces, this crease came back as I sewed. I think it will relax over time. I just want you to be aware of it.

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Unboxing… The Tiniest Winter Hood

It is amazing how the construction of this tiny doll size hood follows that of similar human size hoods. The five wadded channels are seperated by little cords. A narrow ruffle edges the front brim. The horseshoe back is hand quilted. The inside is brown cotton. Tiny bows top the brim and the bottom mid-crown.

Okay, so I am attempting to type as factual as possible, but I am really squeeling inside. This hood is soooo ridiculously fabulous. It is so small and so perfect. I feel so lucky to now be its caretaker.

The inside

The back and top


Published in: on December 28, 2019 at 11:40 am  Comments (1)  

Pen Wiper Doll

I was so very, very excited to stumble across one of these pen wiper dolls in such excellent condition. The doll is intact. The pen wiper is intact.

This pen wiper doll stands 2 and a quarter inches tall. Her arms and legs are moveable. I am not entirely sure if her legs are wired and meant to move. I am not going to fuss with them. Her painting is very nicely done, especially for this scale. (I am noticing this size penny doll often has too quickly painted eyes and mouth that aren’t always where the eyes and mouth belong.) Her hair is reddish blonde, not the most common of doll hair colors. Her pen wipers skirt is made of 24 wool triangles fanning around her body, 12 red and 12 tan. These are gathered together at her chest and feet. I can not tell if there is additional threads or an adhesive at the center. I was hoping this would tell me more about the construction of this type of pen wiper. Her little feet stick out at the bottom. She has a slight lean to one side as the wool is curved. The wool is dense but not thick. It is also not fuzzy. I do not see a sign of use, meaning no ink is left on her. The top of her pen wiper dress is a single red ribbon stitched in place and tied in a bow at back. She has a lace collar. Dating the lace may help date her. Currently, I am going to leave that an open second half of the nineteenth century.

Oh, her name is now Holly.

Here is Holly along side Hope, the penny doll.

Because all tiny dolls need a palm photo:


This pen wiper is quite similar to those in the Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum:

Published in: on December 27, 2019 at 5:54 pm  Comments (1)  

And That Makes 100

I am still surprised there is a 100th piece of millinery this year. Even though it has been a little over a week since I counted and realized, I kinda amazed with myself.

While this wadded pumpkin hood is not anything “wow” or spectacular in its design or finish, it gets to be one with its own story, or stories.

This hood was started as a demo piece for Preparing for Winter. It was pulled together from silk remnants in the millinery box as I searched for my winter hood pattern pieces that were absent-mindedly packed whe we moved. There was just enough plaid to squeeze out the mismatched pieces. The brown shot silk soft in color to go with the plaid.

Along to the event it went with one other style hood to be made, J under the dillusion that I would finish one of the hoods and get started on the next. It seemed I had forgotten how long it takes to hand quilt and hand sew each of the construction details in reflection of originals. I also hadn’t realized just how busy the day would be. I managed to get the brim together and stuffed with nearly all the wool I brought with me.

In the basket the hood stayed until the next event.

If Preparing for Winter busy with visitors, Holiday Open House was doubly so. Again I thought I would finish the hood. Again I was wrong. I managed to get the back of the hood together.

I do think I was able to get in more stitches than breathes. People were very interested in how the pumpkin name reflected the shape and how it hugged the head. I found myself talking about the naming, where it can be found, how the hood compared in function and construction to the other hoods I brought.

To my delight, some guests remembered me working on it in November and were pleased to see its progress. For this reason, I’ve decided this will continue to be a demo/display hood. This way visitors can see it completed. They will also be able to feel the difference between wadded hoods and quilted hoods.

Published in: on December 24, 2019 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Turn of the Year…. 2019 becomes 2020

While New Years Day officially declares the changing of the year, I find the time from Solstice through the New Year, and even through to Twelfth Night, to be this foggy, veiled transition from one year into the next. These three-ish weeks are filled with Yuletide, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, my Father’s and Uncle’s birthdays…. Festivities, family time, friend time…. Self reflection on accomplishments, achievements, and personal survivals. For me, this time swirls together fireside warmth, lights, velvety jewel colors, smells of the evergreen forest, and depth of heart. Being the darkest days and nights of the year, this is a time for reconnecting with the unseen, what can be felt and smelled on the sensory level, the interpersonal “hearth and home” of those we share our lives with. Being that I’ve felt disconnected from some of these things, I am taking the time this Yule to close my eyes feel in hopes of making a more truly connected transition into the new year.

And now for the traditional looks back and ahead…

2019 accomplishments:

~~ When I counted out the millinery pieces of the year, I was happily surprised to find how the numbers worked out. I made 92 straw millinery pieces for people, 6 straw millinery pieces for dolls, and 1 lappet style winter hood. This means my 100th millinery piece was (nearly) completed during GCVM’S Holiday Open House. This was not a goal, nor intentional. But, it did feel right as I counted up the numbers.

This turns out to be about 1,500 hours of hand sewing, working through over 2,100 yards of straw plait and three coils of wire. I added several original hoods and bonnets to my collection, many of which you can see the Winter Millinery Series.

Etsy wanted to point out this is a record year for my millinery shop. I am very grateful to each of you who purchased a piece, shared my listings, and supported my work. Thank you.

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~~ I feel as though I made both strides and baby steps in wrapping my head around how I want to present straw millinery. This is two fold for me: the tactile art of the straw becoming millinery and the employment opportunities for women from cottage industry to business ownership.

I found myself giddy twice this year as I developed display pieces for the straw art aspect. First was in finally getting a pleasing presentation format for showing the stages from field to plait as well as the variety of plaits (lower right of photo.) Second was being able to purchase antique decorative straw millinery motifs and finding a perfect display box by a local craftsman.

~~ I gave myself a personal challenge for Ag Fair this year: each entry had to begin with the letter “P“. This became pockets, pen wipers, pin cushions, work pockets, and petticoats in miniature. (This coming year doesn’t have a letter theme, but, I do already have something big in mind. Fingers crossed.)



~~ Discovery of pen wipers! How much fun have these little pretties been?

I’ve really been captivated by how these practical little items can be just so precious. I love how they can be made from the littlest bits and pieces. They truly are a form of Fanciful Utility.

~~ Little projects included…. Revitalizing two wooden fans… making several pairs of earrings that then wandered away, possibly with feline assistance… giving a handful of dolls a new life (DPtC post coming on them)… accidentally dyed my stockings and underpinnings pink… and probably a few other things I am forgetting.

2020 Projects ahead:

  • Pink plaid parasol
  • Rose stripe sheer 1860s gown
  • Pink plaid gown
  • 1830s dress (still from 2018)
  • Red wool petticoat
  • Blue wool skirt with tbd work bodice
  • Winter hood book (still from 2017)
  • The super secret project
  • Embroidery on ticking relaxation project (kit from Colleen)
  • Birdcage Windsor chair currently in kit form
Published in: on December 22, 2019 at 7:38 am  Leave a Comment