Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1840s-1850s


Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Silk, buckram, net, cane


c. 1840s-1850s. Drawn bonnet made with gray plain weave China silk sewn with narrow channels and drawn or shirred over cane ribs, overall supported by a shaped buckram base with cane support around the base of the brim. The rounded brim comes to a point below each cheek.

The brim and crown are worked over the buckram from one length of fabric. At the front edge of the brim, the fabric is evenly shirred over six parallel rows of cane ribs and released into soft gathers toward the brim’s base. These are captured again with shirring onto a single cane, then the fabric is shaped into four parallel rows of tight ruffles which run along the base of the crown like a hatband and finish by being shirred onto another cane. Another area of soft gathers flows back from this to the next shirred cane, behind which three tight rows of ruffles are formed before being bounded by a single shirred cane channel. The fabric falls into soft gathers one last time toward the back of the crown before being shirred over four channels of cane and having its raw back edge tucked to the inside of the bonnet. The back of the bonnet itself is a smooth oval of fabric stretched over the buckram and sewn in place beneath the rest of the crown. The inside of the brim is lined with the gray silk but the crown is left unlined.

A bavolet or flounce of the same gray silk radiates in large pleats out from the base of the bonnet in back toward the front, where it is sewn in place along the brim’s cheek pieces. A 6.7 cm / 2.625 in. wide ruffle of light gray silk is sewn to it. The bavolet is lined with net.

A 7.6 cm / 3 in. wide striped black and white silk ribbon edged in lavender is ruched to form a band 33 cm / 13 in. long and sewn in place beneath the center front of the brim to frame the face, and more of the same ribbon is sewn to the ends of the brim to tie the bonnet in place. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 7.6 cm / 3 in. (depth of brim)
Height: 12.7 cm / 5 in. (height of crown)
Length: 8.9 cm / 3.5 in. (length of bavolet)
Length: 59 cm / 23.25 in. (length of tie)

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.


Women’s garments, Accessories worn, Head, Headgear, Hats, Bonnets (hats), Drawn bonnet, 1840s, 1850s, United States, Brim, Crown, Bavolet, Curtain, Flounce, Apron, Ruffle, Ruche, Pleat, Shirring, Gathered, Silk, China silk, Plain weave silk, Buckram, Net, Cane (plant material), Ribbon (material), Gray (color), Light gray, Black (color), White (color), Hand-sewn


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