The cheats costume guide ,A very easy and quick Regency bonnet or hat

jane Austen festival

I thought I would add a short post on how to make a Regency hat .The hat can also be made into a bonnet though I have only worn this as a  semi Tricorn hat.It will take around an hour or possibly  two to make depending on how much detail you add and cost around £10

jane suten hat m

The foundation of the bonnet /hat is one of these.Faux straw sun visors,They can  be bought very cheaply on line  from china and in an assortment of colours ,I use darker colours as they look more authentic .The hat above was made with a Khaki colour hat

brown hat

I have used a blue on for the hat made here

blue hat

You will need


needle and thread

around a metre of ribbon  or two shorter pieces,this is for ties for the hat so while a long piece would be ideal if you have bits of ribbon lying around and they will be long enough for ties that will work .

bonnet trims

a button,piece of fancy ribbon ,rossette or similar for the front of the turned up brim

a piece fabric around the size you would use for a cushion cover ,ideally in  taffeta ,silk or velvet but at a pinch you could use  dark cotton  if your making a tricorn as the fabric wont show much for that style.The perfect fabric is shot taffeta which is a fabric thats shimmery and fairly crsip

blue hat 2

ideally also

a piece of fancy ribbon ,extra wide ribbon ,embroidered trim or similar to make a band around the crown  or for making bows etc

ostrich feathers

Even assuming you buy fabric ribbon and a feather the hat should still cost around £10

First take your “hat and unravel it leave it for a few minutes or so ,I cut the straw bow off and throw it away as its quite big but you can leave it on .You could lay it next to your fabric to be sure it matches .

blue hat 1

To make your hat into a hat you need to make the top or crown ,which will be made using your fabric piece .Take the fabric and gather it up using a running stitch.

blue hat three

,leave a small amount ungathered so it will make it easier to stitch it one the brim

blue hat 4

Try the straw hat on and fasten it with the velcro ,make a note of  where on the velcro strip that hat will need to be for the best fit .Un  velcro and start to sew the gathered fabric onto the brim.Its easier to leave the hat undone so you can sew without it flopping about over your hands

blue hat 5

If you stitch it onto the outside of the brim it will leave the inside nice and neat but its not essential as the inside wont be seen


blue hat5

Sew the fabric on until you reach the last  un gathered part ,now velcro the hat together and add some stitches to keep it in place.if you push the fabric inside while your doing the sewing its much easier to see what your doing

blue hat 6

now turn it right side out

blue hat bonnet 1

You can leave the fabric loose but I usually gather it as it looks more authentic

gathered top blue bonnet

Next add a “hat band”,using a piece of of trim or ribbon for now just stitch it on across the top edge

blue bonnet 2

At this point you can make either a bonnet as seen above or a hat ,I havent ever used these wrap hats  as a bonnet so I am not sure how effective they are but if you buy a straw visor that works very well

Next add ribbon ties ,you can tuck these under the trim used for the band .Check that the ribbons are in the right place as this will affect how the hat looks because they are used to draw the hat over  your  face

blue hat sewing ribbon on

finish sewing the band down and see how it looks when tied under your chin

blue bonnet tricorn

sew the back part of the hat flush against the hat band and tack the front up the same way  cover the stitches with a bow or button or rossette

blue bonnet fin main

add feathers .

blue hat top fin

Unfortunately the mannequin head is tilted slightly so the hat wont sit properly on it but heres the finished hat

blue hat finished side

Heres how similar hats look when on with a full outfit

 regency gown


There is a guide on making an easy Regency gown here


About hathawaysofhaworth

I am a Historian and author living in the north
This entry was posted in 18thc and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The cheats costume guide ,A very easy and quick Regency bonnet or hat

  1. Pingback: Regency Bonnet Hack | Part Time Lion Tamer

  2. Gretchen Jacobsen says:

    I just made a bonnet using your cheat. My post about it is “Regency Bonnet Hack”. Thanks!

    • Hello
      thats wonderful I am so glad you found it useful ,so sorry for this late response I have been offline ,I will check out your post ,I am hoping at some point to add links at the bottom of posts to peoples pages were they used it as I thought it would help other people

  3. Tomas Flores-Denny says:

    I made this yesterday using your guidance. Wow it looks great. Thank you greatly!

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