Apr 3, 2013

My First Victorian Costuming Project: 1860s Spoon Bonnet

Having recently become interested in Victorian costuming I've been wondering where to start. What to make first? I love the fashions from the 1870s and1880s when bustles ruled supreme and flounces and pleating burst from every seam, but I'm a beginning sewer, I'm using the skills taught to me in high school, so as much as I hate to admit it, trying to make an 1880s outfit would be a bit ambitious.

And then I learned something that gave me an idea.

Both the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and Otago Boys High School were founded in 1863 and are celebrating their 150th this year, and it occurred to me that Dunedin has a wealth of buildings and venues built during the Victorian era and over the next few decades many more establishments will celebrate such milestones.

So my idea is: I will begin my costuming journey in 1863, when clothes and fashions were simpler, and as time marches on, hopefully my sewing skills will too.(either that, or I will get bored and do something else)

Wanting to start with something small, and after a bit of research on fashions in the 1860s, I decided to tackle a Spoon Bonnet. My decision was partly due to finding a tutorial HERE which showed me how to get the brim shape.
>>I didn't follow all her steps, like lining my hat with hessian instead of cardboard, because I wanted it to be washable, also I sewed it flat so it could be reversible. [My construction is far from historically accurate, but I could do a tutorial if people are interested.]

Constructing an 1860s inspired Spoon Bonnet

Above are a few pictures from when I made the Spoon Bonnet, (it took about 4 days to make!) and a photo from its first outing at Brighton Gala Day - now I just have to make the rest of an 1860s outfit. The Botanical Gardens celebrate their founding on the 30th of June 2013, I guess that gives me about 3 months...


  1. Well done! I'm looking forward to seeing all your future Victorian creations.

    1. Thanks! I'm working on a petticoat at the moment :)