1850s · Millinery · Reproducing an original

Reproduction quilted bonnet vs. the real thing

I briefly mentioned the handsewn quilted bonnet that I finished in my last post, but the gal who comissioned me to make it for her had an excellent suggestion to post a comparison between the repro hood I made her and the original that we based said reproduction on. So, this is that post.*

And for general background, in the mid-19th century, quilted bonnets (also called “hoods”) were used as an insualar alternative to the silk and buckram bonnets that, while fashionable and very nice looking, were not very warm or practical for the winter. You can see some really lovely original quilted hoods here.

So, the original hood belonged to Lettia Work Huggins and is in the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum collection (and as a result, all photos of the original hood posted here belong to Fort Nisqually). I just so happen to volunteer at this museum, as does the gal who commissioned this hood from me, so it was super cool to make a reproduction of an item that has such prominence in our neck of the woods.

And now, on to the comparison!


The original is made out of silk and printed polished cotton, and we made a very concerted effort to find silk in the closest color possible to the original.

In the case of the reproduction, we weren’t quite able to find a blue silk as muted as the one in the original (although this is also due to the fact that the silk is 150+ years old and has faded over time), although I do think that this blue is a good alternative.


I love the diamond-shape quilting design on the original! Interestingly enough, I didn’t actually see the original hood in person until I was about half-way through the reproduction, but when I did see the repro, I was shocked at how tiny the quilting pattern and hood were. As a result, this was probably meant as a child’s bonnet.

The quilting pattern on the repro is about 2″ long diamonds. I’ve never quilted the hood of a bonnet curtain before, but did so because I was following the original. I used wool batting, quilting all of the separate pieces before assembling the hood together.



This is my favorite comparison because I think I came the closest to reproducing the bonnet on the inside, not just with the blue silk turnback, but also the lining.

The original was lined with a printed polished cotton:

and my reproduction is a tan polished cotton.

So, that’s the quilted bonnet! As part of the payment for making this quilted hood, I also got supplies to make my own hood, so I have one in the works, to be made out of this gorgeous golden yellow silk. Now, if only I could find the time to quilt it. 😉

*Note: My deepest apologies for the tiny photos of the original! When I got the photos through e-mail, there was a picture viewer where you could see them much bigger, but for some reason, they stayed tiny once I saved them to my computer and then uploaded them to Photobucket.

6 thoughts on “Reproduction quilted bonnet vs. the real thing

  1. That looks stunning, Anna! Fabulous work! The thing I love most about quilted hoods is the variety of textures and fabrics you can work with.

  2. May I use the photograph of your quilted bonnet in a presentation I’m doing later this month for a quilt history group? I will give you credit for the work and the photograph

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