Sunday, July 22, 2018

Embroidering a bonnet

I recently got the loveliest request.  In a round-about-way, in lieu of payment for something I had asked my friend to buy on my behalf, she asked me if I could embroider a calico bonnet for her.  It will be part of an ongoing display at the Female Factory in Hobart, celebrating the lives of women convicts.

The bonnet had been made by another of her friends and it arrived in the post ready for me to add my bits. The job was to embroider the woman's name on one side; and the name of the boat she arrived on and the year, on the other side.  On the inside I was to embroider my friend's name.

So I sketched out a few ideas, wondered about how I would actually embroider the words - my handwriting or a fancy font?

I do love those magic new pens where you can draw on fabric, then rub it out when you don't need it any more. Also note to self, ironing will also remove the pen marks.

I trialled some fancy writing on a remnant and tested two colours of thread - cream and white. And decided on cream.

So I traced a fancy font onto the fabric.

And before committing needle to fabric on the front, I thought I would head to the inside and stitch my friend's name in my handwriting.

I pressed the bonnet a bit where I had done the hand stitching; turned it over only to discover that the ironing had happily removed some of the magic ink on the front! Laugh.

 But onwards. The hand stitching over the purple pen.

And then once, it has been pressed, the purple pen has disappeared. As mentioned - magic!

I thought about how to add a little bit of something. Originally I planned to do three rows of running stitch along the bottom edge, but once I had begun, I thought a single row of running stitch down both sides and along the bottom was just enough.

And just in passing, all I can say is that photographing a bonnet is almost impossible!

I look forward to it being on display in Hobart and am so thrilled I was able to help my friend's family history investigation take a tangible form...


  1. I am working on a similar project right now and can't help envying your beautiful hand. More than likely I'll be cribbing off a computer-generated font traced with magic ink ...

    1. Liz - I used a computer font too! I tried to write directly onto the fabric and went horribly wobbly and unpleasant, so headed for the computer and traced it thru the calico - go for it I say! How fun that we have similar projects on the go.

  2. Replies
    1. Not necessarily the neatest Mo, but it seems to work - thank you!

  3. How lovely this is, and that single row of running stitch is just perfect.

    1. Thanks Margaret/Charlton - it just adds something/enough i think. Go well.

  4. I, too, am impressed by your lovely hand... your friend was right to choose you, what with your affinity for script

    1. Thanks Dee - words, writing, stitching - does sound a bit like me! Go well.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks C! It was a wonderful thing to be asked to do.


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