Monday, 19 November 2007
Convict women's cap
Another current project is to design and sample a convict cap which might be suitable for a kit to sell at an upcoming exhibition late next year. The organisers are proposing to market the kit with fabric pieces cut out and instructions to complete the bonnet. The difficulty is that the authentic bonnets were all hand made in the 1820-30's. I can see why Christina Henri of the Roses from the Heart Project (see sidebar for link) chose an 1860's bonnet as her basic sample, by then the bonnets were much simpler shapes. I don't want to copy her sample too closely, so I've been looking at the designs in "The Workwoman's Guide" published 1838 which is now available online, thanks Google books. I'm leaning towards this basic style, although possibly with a little less gathering at the back. It is in one basic piece, with an optional frill. Even the most wretched girl would have tried to make a bonnet with a little frill if the fabric was available, it might be her only reminder of home before she was transported. Of course, some of the convict women were able to rise far above their station in life after coming to Australia, becoming notable citizens in the new country and never returning to Britain.