The Florence Diaries: Women's Bonetto
based on Vecellio Tuscan Woman 30-45 years.

Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.
For some time, I have wanted to make a bonnet/hat/bonetto. According to Moda a Firenze, Eleanora's gardaroba recorded several hats.  There are not many pictures of this, however. One fresco in the Vecchio does have a late picture of Eleanora wearing a bonetto; it is very small and in a crowd, so no details are visible).

Vecellio has a figure of a Tuscan Woman of 30-45 years of age, showing a bonetto. It is reasonably plain with wide pleats and little decoration.
Some sumptuary laws, mentioned in Moda a Firenze, are noted to restrict the use of feathers in one's cap....
As I was finding it difficult to find buckram to make the base, I decided to (cheat) use a cheap flocked 'cardboard' hat which cost me $4.70. I cut the brim to a mor appropriate size and stripped the hat of its decorations.
Next, I made a pattern for the brim, from velvet and pinned it ready to sew. I used an elastic band to hold the velvet in place, over the top, while I made large pleats to roughly match that seen in the Vecellio drawing. I used a curved needle to handsew the top onto the base.
After sewing the velvet brim pieces together, I pinned them to the base, on the top and underneath. Top: I first folded under the edge to make it neat. I did not do the same to the under part, as it will be covered by both the lining and the hatband.
I used the curved needle to handsew the brim piece to the top velvet (as seen on the left below). I made a pattern of the inside of the hat and made a tafetta lining. 

The lining was sewin using small running stitch over a flatfell seam, to reduce the bulk. It was sewn to the inside of the brim velvet piece.
Lastly, the hatband was sewn over this, inside the brim. This was made from petersham.

On th right is the final bonetto, with a gold braid trim over the seam of the top/brim.

  • Anlezark, Mildred. Hats on Heads. Kangaroo Press. Singapore. ISBN 0 86417 303 2
  • Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La Moda a Firenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN: 88-8304-867-9
  • Rosenthal, Margaret F, Jones, Ann Rosalind. Cesare Vecellio's Habiti Antichi et Moderni: The Clothing of  the Renaissance World. Thames and Hudson, London. 2008. ISBN: 978-0-500-51426-9.
c. K Carlisle, Feb, 2009.

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(c). K.Carlisle, 2009.