Saturday, December 6, 2008

The "Willa" and "Mollie" Bonnets


These bonnets are also from the recent donation to the collection and made the keep it pile upstairs.

I was initially drawn to the bonnet as it made me think of my daughters. One seemed slightly larger than the other and more ornate and one was plainer.

The one I decided to focus on we will call the “Willa” Bonnet.

This is the smaller of the two. It is made of linen and has a scalloped stitched hem and kind of a front mantle which is attached to the part that would fit the skull.

It is gathered where the two pieces are joined to make the bonnet and the interior seems to have some sort of messy running stitches that gather the two pieces of fabric together. The ties for the bonnet are thin strips that looked to be hand sewn to the bottom in a whip stitch.

I think the garment is hand sewn. I was going back and forth but I believe these bonnets would have been worn early to mid 19th century and the interior stitching again looks loose or messy. There are kind of large running stitches done over one another repeatedly to gather the garment together and attach the two pieces.

The one I focused on is slightly a different design from the “Mollie”

The Mollie is a whole piece that has some beautiful embrodiery with eyelets that give it a lacy look around the face

The “Willa” has what I termed the mantle which almost acts like flaps which would have been nice for keeping dust and glares out of the face during work. The Mollie has no such Mantle and its frilliness seems to suggest a bed time bonnet used more for sleep and a warm head than keeping hair flies and dirt out of the face.

Looking around on-line I did come across one pattern that looks very close to these bonnets. But they are the last quarter of the 18th century.

The embrodiery on the Mollie, and some of the other stitching looks machine done. I think the Willa is older than the Mollie. It may even be 18th century, and perhaps the later is 19th.

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