A new bonnet

I have been wanting a real bonnet for a while, the flattering face framing kind. The traditional Lancaster County bonnet with the scallops is lovely, but too ethnic-specific. And the Wenger style driving bonnet is like one I made myself, which is great in the summer but not snug enough for winter. I made my own winter bonnet, but it is starting to fade.

I don’t know how to get the great even gathers and the stiff back of the traditional bonnet, so I would like to buy one. But the source I was looking at doesn’t carry them anymore. And there is the issue of shipping to Canada. Some vendors just won’t do it.

So does anyone have a source for a more traditional, Quaker or Mennonite bonnet in black?


21 thoughts on “A new bonnet

  1. Magdelaina,

    all offer a range of bonnets of one type or another.
    Quaker Jane’s and Quaker Anne’s websites also have bonnet resources.
    If you would like a bonnet made in the colour of your choice, that is not overtly ethno-specific, (though their general lines wouldn’t be considered ‘plain’
    you can try
    I use the latter for my clothing needs and they’ve styles and fabrics that are very conducive to ‘Plainness’; they ship overseas and the ladies are fabulous to work with; plus their prices are right. Lillie’s apparrel will also make bonnets as I’ve mentioned but I am not sure of their international shipping policy.
    I had a little baby bonnet made by TKD for my God Daughter and i cannot fault the workmanship/ in Adult sizing and plain colour, this would most definitely meet plain needs without looking ‘kiddy’.

    May god bless you in your search; there are a few other clothierres out there that do bonnets but you may prefer to be going on with these for the time being.



    • I’m trying to decide between a Piker Mennonite bonnet – very full brim – or the Wenger style, with all its quakerly gathers. I wish I could find instructions on bonnet instruction, beyond the soft sunbonnet type, of which I’ve made many. Soft bonnets are just like a prayer cap, with a larger brim and fuller cap, and the capstrings are joined at the back of the brim, not the front.

      Since I’m not driving now (selling the truck, I hope!) I can wear a brimmed bonnet everyday.

  2. if you’re after a Wenger or Piker, ‘Plainly Dressed’ carries these; http://www.prayercoverings.com does also if i remember correctly.
    though their market is primarily historical reenacters and the like, http://www.smoke-fire.com/ may stock a suitable bonnet and/or pattern for making such. they also have other nice things such as 100% cotton stockings, fitchus etc that might also be useful in the plain wardrobe.

    I think
    has bonnet pattern instructions if I remember correctly.

    May God bless your search! šŸ™‚



    • Nicholas says “Wenger”. So when the ship comes in (soon, we pray) I think I will get one from prayercoverings. Kidron Town & Country used to carry them, but I can’t get their web catalog to load. I like what I saw at Smoke and Fire, may try them, too.

  3. the lady at Prayer Coverings does my lace triangles; her workmanship is beautiful. I also have purchased an Amish flat sunbonnet from her; can’t wait to wear it now Summer is drawing on quickly in the Southern Hemisphere; though the ribbon has a tendancy to simply work itself undone after a bit :-0 šŸ˜›

    You’ll be happy with her work; though expect a turn-around of 8-12 weeks.



    • What is it with ribbon ties? I love them because they are cheap and easy to replace, but unless you back-knot or double-knot them, they come undone. On my cotton bonnets, I sometimes tie them under one ear so that I’m not accidentally catching the loops so often.

  4. Ribbons are terrible for ties because they are usually made of poly-satin. Try to find grosgrain for your ties. I learned that when I was in the SCA. If it’s white you need, twill tape works well too.

    • I’ve hand-made cap ties – narrow doublefold, finished with blanket stitch and while they look good they took forever to make! Grosgrain does work better, but I couldn’t always find it. I’ll have to try twill tape – never thought of that! And I wonder how many of us have been SCA members?

  5. I’ve never been a member but went to a meeting or two in Canberra back in the mid 90’s; liked them – a lot!! hey!! You’ve just given me an idea; I must look up the SCA in my local area!! (I am done for now, well and truly! šŸ™‚ )



  6. Sarah ~

    That Smoke – Fire website is awesome!!! I love their selection of old time cookbooks the best. Will have to place an order when funds allow. =)


    I hope you find a bonnet that’s just right for you.
    I have 3 bonnets…1 winter one and 2 of the Amish-y type. My hubby says he doesn’t like the way they look on me.
    He doesn’t mind the kapp, but he said no to the bonnet.
    That’s alright though =)

    Happy 1st day of the week ~

    Dawn in Texas

    • I like the quaint way the bonnet looks hanging on a shaker peg in the hall! It’s a reminder of our covered life. I am so pleased to see the Smoke-Fire website. I will probably get some patterns from them.

      Nicholas likes my sunbonnet (plain white, made from an old prayer kapp with a new brim.)

  7. I just thought of a silly, yet practical and cheap tie option: flat shoe strings. If they stay tied on your feet, they will stay under your chin. Plus you can get different lengths and they can be dyed to color match. Has anyone tried it?

  8. I bet the SCA fills our need to wear feminine clothes and head coverings -before we have the courage to do it in “real” life. SCA life is anti-Feminist, we got to be ladies and had men acting like gentleman. Not easy to do in regular life.

      • It took a couple of months, since it is made by hand, and it was custom-fitted for me. When you see the work that goes into it, you canunderstand why it isn’t an overnight process!

        I wear a bonnet everywhere. I get shy looks from the local women who belong to a Mennonite group that wears black kerchiefs; they must wonder if I’m Old Order. I find it comfortable enough to keep on and sometimes forget I’m wearing it. I do remove it for communion, so the chalice-server doesn’t bump the brim. I also remove it if I am reading the lesson from the lectern. It hasn’t come up yet, but will soon, and I expect that I will remove the bonnet when in a formal meeting.

        Since I am wearing a prayer cap underneath, I remain covered.

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