Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly #5: Practicality

"I'm off to milk the cow and feed the chickens! Hand me that bonnet over there....no, not that one! The yellow silk one with pink flowers and expensive lace! And because it doesn't shade my face enough, hand me that parasol while you're at it...."

Something doesn't seem right about this picture. The point I'm making is that, in modern day thinking, we don't know what is appropriate to go with what. It's not anyone's fault, we just didn't live back then, so portraying life in the 19th century is sometimes hard. If anyone from the past studied clothing in the 21st century, they would probably make the same mistakes; high heels with yoga pants, and tennis shoes to a formal dinner.

What is a work bonnet? Generally referred to as 'slat bonnets' (although they could be corded or quilted), they serve the main purpose of providing shade, and preventing sunburn. They would be quite effective, if one actually wore it....

Lovingly referred to as 'mailboxes', we have a hard time actually using them. They are very comfortable to wear, especially in 90+ degrees, and with a little more use we might get used to the closed-in feel, but for me I am always self-conscious about the way I look in it. Even though, from pictures, I actually don't mind the way it looks.

I was determined to use this fabric, so I had to piece that tiny piece at the bottom that refuses to lay flat. Below is what it looks like, without being tied...

Hard to believe it's even a bonnet, right?

What the item is (and what practical things you can do in it): Slat bonnet, used to protect your skin from the sun during hard work, when carrying a parasol isn't practical.

The Challenge: Practicality

Fabric: 1 yard leftover homespun cotton, plus 1/4 yard of leftover muslin for lining and ties

Pattern: Instructions here: http://www.thesewingacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/2010Slats.pdf

Year: Mid 19th century

Notions: Thread, white cardstock for the slats

How historically accurate is it? I would guess around 75%. I know the style is accurate, but I'm not sure what the majority of the slats would have been made out of.

Hours to complete: 4.5

First worn: For pictures, modeled by my darling sister assistant.

Total cost: $0, all from stash.

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