How to Thriftfully Turn a Reticule and Straw Hat into a Bonnet fit for Eliza Bennett
Should you find yourself with a spare hour or two, a velvet handbag and an old straw hat, you could try the following project, which was inspired by this tutorial. (and the instructions are much more detailed than these, but she didn't make hers out of a bag!)
My bag is made of (cheap) velvet and lined with a patterned cotton (op shop $4). When I saw it hanging in the opshop it already looked like a bonnet to me (but then I did have bonnets on the brain at the time. At first I thought perhaps I could cleverly manipulate the bag without cutting it up, by placing it just so, on my head. Loud guffaws of laughter from other members of my family told me this was not to be the case. So I preceded to do the following:
1. Cut the bag apart along the seams and remove lining. (If you look closely you will see by the little bits of red fluff everywhere that I had, in fact, cut the bag before taking the photo ... ah the dilemmas of blogging - to create first, or to photograph?)
As you can see my bag was already gathered, so I made this part the back of the bonnet. I handsewed a gathering thread along the opposite length of the fabric so now I had a piece of fabric gathered at both ends.
If you don't have an old bag to use then use a piece of fabric as in the original tutorial, and gather both ends, one loosely and one tightly.
Join the two remaining sides with a straight seam.
2. Now for the hat. Try tipping the hat back on your head and seeing how much of the hat you want to use.
Then mark and cut your hat (that's the scary bit)
If I was to make my bonnet again I would use over half the hat to make it. But now I have enough left over to make another bonnet, should the need arise. LOL
Now attach the fabric over the hat, sewing the larger gathered end right over the crown of the hat, and onto the brim, leaving as much brim as you desire. Again I handstitched this, stitching right through the fabric and the straw hat. At the back of the bonnet you can cover the other gathering (in my case the top of my bag) with a circle of fabric.
Cut the handles of your bag and attach them to the inside bottom of your bonnet as a bonnet ribbon, if desired, or use some thick grosgrain ribbon.
Decorate with little flowers made of grosgrain ribbon and a button. My hat ($2 at another op shop) was coincidentally trimmed with the right colour to match the rest of the bonnet but you could trim the edge of the hat too if you needed to.
The finished product.
A Regency bonnet for a total of $6 plus a bit of ribbon.
Now I just need to incorporate a lint brush into my costume so as I can keep it looking good on