As I mentioned in my last post, you can stiffen your brim with cording, slats or quilting.
Cording is very visually attractive and makes a nicely stiffened brim, once starched. The corded bonnets I have made in the past do, however, have a tendency to collapse in the rain.
|One of my early attempts at a fancy corded bonnet. This worked well until the first humid day, then it wilted. The brim could have benefited from double or even triple the amount of cording. (the more cord you use, the more starch it can absorb!)|
Slat bonnets hold up well in all weather but they cannot be folded back so you are left feeling like you are wearing a mailbox on your head (which is nice when you are doing, say, garden work and only have to look at what is directly in front of you).
I am quilting my brim, so here is the next step once the pieces are cut out.
Unfold your brim piece and insert the rectangle of cotton batting in between the layers of fabric, placing one long edge of the batting along the fold line. Fold the other half of the brim over the batting to cover it, like so:
Now it is time to quilt! There is no right or wrong way to do this. You can quilt by hand or by machine. You can quilt in simple straight lines or do a fancy pattern with zig zags and such. For mine, I chose to quilt in diagonal lines using my presser foot as a spacing guide.
Once the brim was quilted diagonally one way, I went back and quilted it diagonally in the other direction, creating a diamond pattern. For quilted brims, it seems the closer the quilting the stiffer the brim will be.
The finished quilting:
If desired, you can pipe the long raw edge of the brim, which will be sewn to the crown in the next step. This is optional, but I personally like the finished look a piped seam gives. For mid-19th century, go with self fabric piping for the best look.