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Regency Mushroom Bonnet

The bonnet is done and the photoshoot went great! For your viewing pleasure, here's an overview of the process and some of my favorite shots from the photoshoot.

This project started with a look through some photos I took years ago of local mushrooms. They had come up in my memory review and I was struck by the dew drops and the tinting of dirt splatters from rain. Inspiration struck and the bonnet idea was born...

I almost always start with research, even if I'd done some previously (pinterest is king). With this project, my research was to test my mental theory that bonnet shapes of the regency era could either realistically be manipulated into the shape I wanted for my mushroom cap, or that there were in fact already shapes and details in extant bonnets to justify my shape directly.

The end result was a close collision of the two! A few fashion plates showing shapes that were broadly conical and a few that weren't as close to the shape I'd like, but with a ruched fabric technique that would be perfect for the texture I desired!

With research done, it was time to get started on the beadwork. This would definitely be the best part of this project and I was excited to get started. To keep my project fast to finish, I determined that making strands of beads that I could tack into place would make for quicker work than individually sewing on thousands of beads. Keeping the beads as random as possible is challenging, but I think they turned out well.

Then on to making the bonnet itself.

I hadn't enough buckram on hand, but I did have a bunch of the super thick pelon interfacing and knew it would work for a hat base.

I started with a circle and kept cutting out small pie piece shapes, testing it with each cut, until I had the desired shape. I zig zag stitched the two edges of the pie cutout together to secure it.

For the ruched effect, I cut long strips of white cotton lawn at a width two inches longer than the height of my bonnet. This would allow me to turn the bottom edge under the brim of the hat. The lining would help finish the edge that got turned under.

With each of these long strips, I sewed lines of basting stitches down the length at 1" away from each edge and every 2" in between. These lines would help create the ruched effect that you can see in the research image.

Once these were prepared, the next step was to gather and tack them evenly onto the hat. There were a few spots at the top of my bonnet cone where I had to overlap and do an invisible whip to secure the edges together. This helped tame my rectangular pieces into the shape of the cone.

Once that was all tacked into place, I made a topper piece to finish the crown point and tacked that into place.

The bead strands were then laid into place and whipped down to keep them from moving around with each movement.

After that, the lining went in. Another rectangle, this time not as long as the white lawn, basted on each edge. The brim edge was turned under and whipped down over the raw edge of the cotton lawn. Another cap was attached to the underside of the crown point to finish its top edge.

Last, but not least was the funky ribbon adornment on the top. No regency bonnet is devoid of a fluffy something on top!

And done!

I hope you've enjoyed this journey with me and I look forward to sharing my next costume adventure with you soon!

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