In one of Jane Austen’s letters to her sister, she writes, “next week I shall begin operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.” She also wrote about some decorated bonnets she saw while visiting Bath. “Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers’, but I have never seen any of them in hats.”
Last Saturday we had an industrious time trimming bonnets and creating luxurious and exotic turbans! (The turban was most popular in European women’s fashions in the 1790s and very early 1800s, and they were perfect for balls and evening events). There was a wide array of fabrics and ribbon from which to choose, along with other miscellaneous embellishments and personalized instruction. The room was bristling with talent as the ladies trimmed away. The workshop was led by Diane Gorham of Augmented Austen, who was quite impressed with the diligence and flair of the hat makers!