Unboxing to Cheer my Mood

Published in: on February 26, 2021 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where Do I Put My Hat?

Or Bonnet?

I am asked regularly about storing and displaying hats and bonnets at home between events.

I talked about some of the stands and boxes I use for millinery during the Community Cast Day 8. For some reason, I did not include the larger band boxes I use for my personal millinery.

I use fabric heads for most working millinery pieces as they get ready to go to their new homes.

My cloth heads are based on Lynn Masters’ pattern. I prefer these to styrofoam heads as I have had fabric covers turn color when draped over the foam. These heads have a wood core bottom and batting filled brain. (Check out the post “Two Heads” for my first venture into making these.)

I use far more stands when setting up my millinery display than I do at home. I would love to have a couple dozen original wood stands, but that would be very costly. Instead, I have taken to making my own stands.

This is a sampling of the band boxes I use:

This is a box from Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY. I would love a few more of these the next size up. It just barely fits a small bonnet. Notice how it is oval-esque. The museum was making these and offering them in their shop. It is unclear if they still are. 
This is a vintage handmade box I recently picked up. The shape is excellent – an oval with flat sides or a rectangle with deep curves. You pick. The downside with this box is its size and it is not strong. 
This is the shape box I keep my personal bonnet in. This is a strong sided, tall box that fits the bonnet very nicely. I think it is 12-14″ tall. Downside is it is round rather than the more common oval-esque shape. You can get an idea of the size of the others in this series from the one below it.
This is the box I made last year. I figured round would be the easiest place to start. The pasteboard was large thick sheets Dan found for me. This was a nightmare to sew. It does seem to be decently strong in terms of the sides. If the right material presented itself along with time, maybe I would make another. Maybe. (I do have tubes that I will be making into parasol transportation.)
This was a yard sale find box that was one of my first recovering projects. I used wrapping paper. Don’t. The wrapping paper comes out horribly wrinkly. As this is a nice oval shape and a bonnet does fit inside, eventually I will take this paper off and re-recover it with proper paper. Until then, it holds a neglected project. 
These are some of the recoverex boxes. The bigger ones are from JoAnn’s. The smaller are from Dollar General. JoAnn’s had a decorative”Paris” line that were made of stronger walls and were taller than the hat boxes we usually see. I picked them up on clearance at a few different stores. The DG were a surprise this spring. Taller and strong, yet covered in cute 3D motifs. Most took new paper fairly well. As these were done fast to fill the shop, the insides and bottoms of some still need to be done.

Here is a miniature version of me sewing a bandbox: https://annaworden.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/a-week-of-sewing-cases-4/

Here is a previous post on storing bonnets: https://annaworden.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/how-do-i-store-my-bonnets/

A bit on bonnet baskets that I still haven’t tried: https://annaworden.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/bonnet-baskets/

Published in: on February 26, 2021 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Millinery 2021

Thank you for considering my work for your next straw or hat. I appreciate your patronage. Even, if you are unable to purchase a piece at this time, I appreciate your support of my work and research.

Straw millinery is simultaneously a fascinating research and interpretation subject, as well as a way to relax and calm my mind.

This year is full of questions and uncertainties for all of us, especially those involved in public programming and education. My millinery goal is to meet the needs of interpreters, costumer, et al. as best as possible while maintaining accurate construction and exploring new, period techniques. As for the latter, I have some plans up my sleeve.

“How Do I Buy a Hat or Bonnet?”

I sell all of my straw millinery through my Etsy shop.

During the school year, I will try to sew and offer at least one new piece each week. I am going to attempt to create a new routine of posting newly finished pieces on Saturday. There will be exceptions such as occasions where I need to be elsewhere on Saturday.

Pieces can sell quickly…. Sometimes that is days…. Sometimes that is hours…. Sometimes that is minutes……

Be The First To Know

The best way to know new millinery is available is to subscribe to this blog.

I post pieces here as I post them on Etsy. To subscribe and receive emails for each new post, look under my photo to the right for the subscribe box that says “enter your email address” and a button that says “Follow My Blog.” If you are on your phone, you will find this at the bottom. Enter your email if you want email notifications. Click “Follow My Blog” if you want WordPress notifications. Yes, you can do both.

Know Your Size

It is a good idea to know what size and style you want ahead of time so you don’t second guess yourself. Take a look at my post on hat sizes and measure your head. Then browse my blog to look at the different styles I offer.

When you see a piece you like, click on the orange Etsy button, also found under my photo, or the link in each description.

About My Millinery


I focus on two types of millinery: straw plait millinery and quilted/wadded winter millinery. All of my straw pieces are hand sewn using historic techniques. I use both original bonnet and hat blocks, as well as hand carved blocks for blocking my pieces. I use two different millinery sizings. While I primarily offer straw forms, I occasionally offer fully decorated pieces. When I do, I use appropriate techniques and as accurate trimmings as possible. Given the likelihood that antique silk ribbons will shatter or fracture, I strongly prefer not to use them in pieces to be worn. I want you to be able to wear your millinery for years.

Please take a moment to visit my yearly Galleries to the right (computers) or below (mobile devices.)

I currently offer:

  • 1400-1600s – Researching
  • Late 1700 – Starting to look at
  • Regency era – Developing additional appropriate styles.
  • 1820s-1830s – Dabbling.
  • 1840s – Working off an original block.
  • 1850s through 1864 – Making a variety of bonnets and hats
  • Bustle era – Expanding to new styles using reproduction blocks.

Working with original blocks, I find these bonnets and hats feel “average” to “small” for most modern women. Most of my pieces are average to small. I do try to regularly make average to large pieces as well. Each Etsy listing will have measurements.

  • Small is 19.5″- 21″ (for a 21″ to 22″ head)
  • Average is from 21″-22.5″ (for a 22″ to 23″ head)
  • Large is 23″-23.5″, maybe 24″ (for a 23″ to 24″ head)


I do my best to keep millinery pieces as affordable as possible. Please, keep in mind each piece is entirely hand crafted, that I hand sew each row of straw, and I hand select each trim used. With the current cost of straw, necessary materials and shipping, undecorated straw forms will start at $125. Variations in straw, style, and (brim) will influence the price.

Custom Orders

I am currently not taking requests or commissions or orders. I find if I take requests, I am quickly working too many months out. I don’t like keeping people waiting.

I will not do sales outside of Etsy because Etsy is also how I keep track of sales.

Winter Millinery

I offer winter millinery, quilted bonnets and wadded hoods, seasonally. This usually is from November through January.

Published in: on February 25, 2021 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

I’ve been watching the various videos of Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, because he is delightful to listen to. His programs make for excellent background sanity keeping. Today, I learned about his Great Diary Project. Needless to say, I want to jump on a plane and go spend the next year reading diaries. Check out the Great Diary Project.

Here is the video that popped up in the feed, catching my attention: https://youtu.be/X0hi2Q3TAK8

Published in: on February 25, 2021 at 8:34 am  Comments (3)  

Whimsy Wednesday: Woven Ribbon Pin Cushion Day2

The first 5 or so minutes of today’s video is my car drama. Then, I share the next steps for our woven ribbon pin cushions. There was a video oops as my dinner alarm went off. Oh, this was recorded Tuesday.

Please take a moment to read my thoughts on One Year Later.

Published in: on February 24, 2021 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Millinery Monday

To wrap up this stretch of Millinery Monday looking at winter hoods, I thought it would be fun to look back at the pieces I unboxed this past year or so. Starting next week, Millinery Monday will be looking forward to spring.

I opened several additions to my winter bonnet and hood collection over the past year. While it is nice to have pristine or exceptional examples, I prefer pieces that allow me to explore how they were made, the details of construction. Some pieces show piecing or little make-dos. Others show wear patterns. Fractured silk can allow a look inside. While some are fairly clear puzzle pieces falling into place, others are little oddities, offering more questions than answers…..

Plaid silk wadded

Lots tbd..

Black silk

Plaid wool hood

Doll size wadded silk hood

Quilted silk hood/bonnet

From the Winter Millinery series I started but got distracted from:

Black silk quilked hood

Published in: on February 22, 2021 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

This Weekend’s Millinery

In the last hours of my 4X year, I took a next step in my millinery adventure. I finished a hat with straw embellishments I made myself. I had the idea for the hat all week, trying to get the shape just right to suit the illustration. I was undecided on the anchor replacement until yesterday. It wasn’t until I had the leaves in hand with the hat, that I realized the timing. *smiles*

This trio of straw leaves, two in split straw and one in petite plait, finishes this sweet hat inspired by a “Sailor Hat” in Madame Demorest’s Mirrors of Fashion. My hat keeps the rounded dome crown, flat narrow brim, and blue silk ribbon with long tails at the side. In place of the straw anchor, are my straw leaves. If I ever learn to make a straw anchor, it will go to my sister.

Published in: on February 20, 2021 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whimsy Wednesday: Woven Pin Cushion

Today we start making a woven pin cushion. I also show you Clara’s bird and my birthday gift to myself.

Materials for woven pin cushion:

  • 4″×4″ lining fabric – muslin, scrap print
  • 2 3″×4″ backing fabrics – silk, pretty print
  • Ribbon 1/4″ to 3/4″ would be best. The narrower the ribbon, the more you will need. For 1/2″ ribbon, 1 yard of 2 different colors will work.
  • Wadding/batting or cut up cabbage
  • Needle and thread

In the next video, we will tack down the loose ends and attach the backing.

Published in: on February 17, 2021 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Mid-week Millinery

It is February recess! This means I get to do some extra sewing.

Published in: on February 16, 2021 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Millinery Monday

Today’s winter hood is a child’s size, ca 1840s-1880s. The exterior is a solid brown wool. The exterior is quilted with sets of three narrow rows. These narrow channels may have cording in them, tbd. The seam between the crown and brim is piped. The seam connecting the crown and bavolet may have the cord applied on top. I need to look closer. The brim folds back to show a plaid which is constructed from ribbon.

This may also be made from two pieces – a single brim and bavolet, with a crown piece. I need to look closer to see if I can find a seam connecting the bavolet to the brim, because I did not see one at first looks.

Notice there is no easily visable seam along the bavolet area. It may be skillfully hidden in the quilting. Or, there may not be one.

The interior is made with two solid fabrics, tbd. The whole of the brim and bavolet are lined with the pieced plaid silk ribbon.

I am pointing to the only seam along the bavolet I’ve found. This is nearly center back. (there is a bias piecing seam towards the front.)

Published in: on February 15, 2021 at 1:11 am  Leave a Comment