1880s era straw bonnet

This 1880s era straw bonnet was created as a silent auction donation item for the 2014 Costume Society of America’s Southeastern regional conference in Richmond, Virginia. It is trimmed in 100% silk taffeta, lace, and ribbon. The interior is fully lined in cotton muslin.


What was fun about this bonnet is when I began making it, I had absolutely no preset ideas as to how it should look when finished. I did have an idea of the general 1880s silhouette I wished to replicate but as for the rest, I just let the creative process take over!


This is what I love most about making reproduction historical clothing- the freedom to create. It often leads to surprisingly wonderful finished garments!

However, for the past several years the majority of my work has been precision- oriented with a specific final outcome that must be met.For many who recreate historical clothing, this is their forte. But for a creative free thinker, this process is laborious and can lead to major burn out! Therefore, I am striving to find more balance between the two this upcoming year.

Here’s to hoping this bonnet strikes someone’s fancy at the CSA’s silent auction!


About Susan

Hi! My name is Susan and I am a historian, seamstress, teacher, mother, and wife. My passion for history has manifested itself in the art of recreating clothing from different periods of time. Growing up in the American South, I am heavily schooled in the art of recreating clothing from the 19th century. After nearly a decade of immersing myself primarily in the Victorian period, I found the need to branch out and explore other periods of time. However, it is my connection with the American South and the clothing of rural America that continues to be the driving force behind my designs.