Fabric and Straw
Period bonnets were most often straw, or covered buckram with a
facing and a crinoline lining.
Consider the socio-economic level of your impression in
choosing fabrics and trimmings.
Period bonnets were most often covered, faced, and trimmed with
silk. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, Burwell
School in Hillsborough, NC has written documentation of linen
bonnets, and we have a cotton bonnet in our collection.
Period silks do not have slubs like modern Dupioni. Solid
colors are much more common on bonnets than prints.
Appropriate silk choices for a tight bonnet are taffeta, velvet,
satin, and broadcloth. Appropriate silk choices for a drawn
bonnet are taffeta, satin, chiffon (very similar to period silk
crepe), and habotai.
We have not come across a seasonal rule for
wearing straw bonnets. 1861 Godey's has straw bonnets as
late in the
season as November and as early as March.
Please see our straw forms page for a discussion of period