Thursday, April 17, 2014

1855 Summer Bonnet and Pattern Review: Juliana Rose

Finally trimmed and finished the white crape bonnet I started last summer:

White crape bonnet with lilacs, lace, and vintage ribbon.

The pattern is the Timely Tresses Juliana Rose, which I've made twice before.  This time I followed the mid-'50s cutting line for the brim (instead of the early '60s version, which rises higher over the head).  The base fabric is an ivory-colored silk chiffon--meant here to look like period crape; vintage lace makes the 'cap' inside the bonnet, and also overlays the outer brim and edges the bavolet; vintage silk ribbon and lilacs from Nancy's complete the trim.  The functional ties are a narrow silk ribbon (not pictured).  Modeled by the iron, and some scrap fabric:

Back view of "Juliana Rose" 1850s bonnet from Timely Tresses.
Bonnet made from the "Juliana Rose" pattern by Timely Tresses.
It feels weird to write a review of a pattern I've had for years and used previously; the exercise is also largely academic as the pattern itself has apparently been retired.  Nonetheless, a few remarks:
This is a good pattern.  I wouldn't have made it up three times and acquired two more patterns from the same company if it weren't.  All the previously noted high points of a Timely Tresses pattern--including illustrated step-by-step instructions, references to original bonnets, trimming suggestions, and sewing advice--are present. 

That being said, this pattern doesn't have the same level of 'polish' as the Julia pattern did.  Perhaps that's why it's not currently available.  The illustrations are mostly drawn rather than photographed, for instance; only one period picture is included where the Julia pattern had four; there were fewer color illustrations showing different trimming options, etc. The essentials, however, are all present.

The Juliana Rose is a two-piece bonnet (crown plus a one-piece brim) for the mid '50s into the early '60s. It has three cutting lines: a low one just over the head for the mid 1850s (shown above), and two progressively higher brims for the late '50s and early '60s which anticipate the high spoon bonnet.  I should mention that the bavolet in my new bonnet is longer than that given in the pattern; I cut it out intending to overlay it with lace, only to realize in the middle of construction that putting the lace along the bottom gives a more '55 look.  At some point, I should probably shorten the curtain to compensate.  I also used net instead of blocked buckram for the crown, making a flatter back than the bonnet really should have.  My black and pink bonnets both have blocked crowns (one purchased, one molded at home over a cereal bowl), which give a more rounded and less abrupt look to the back of the bonnet.  

Beginning seamstresses take note: this pattern requires a fair amount of hand-sewing.  I sewed the whole thing by hand save the bavolet edge; that and wiring the brim were the only steps that could really really employ a machine.  Stitching the wired crown and brim pieces together is always an adventure, but gets easier.

Pattern Score: 4-4.5 Stars
Difficulty: Intermediate+
Accuracy: High
Strongest Impressions: Can be frustrating to assemble the wired buckram pieces, but comes together well and makes a cute bonnet.

Original bonnets to admire:
Tone-one-tone decorations and lace effects. An apparent one-piece brim.  I originally meant to trim the bonnet after this original, but changed my mind after finding the lilacs.
Sketch from Peterson's Magazine (July 1855), showing the lace-edge bavolet:
Two fashionable bonnets from Peterson's Magazine, July 1855.

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