With its ease of construction and the availability of materials bonnets, made out of cottons and calicos were the main head covering during most of the 1800’s. Made for more than just “ to look pretty”, these bonnets served to protect the wearer from the harsh sun, wind and rain, as well as to keep them warm.
Unlike its’ cousin the poke bonnet, the button bonnet was not as common. Button bonnets are much plainer, more serviceable and require a larger piece of fabric. It uses buttons and buttonholes to give the bonnet shape. This bonnet is a much more close fitting bonnet. The one major benefit to this style of bonnet is the fact that when unbuttoned it lies completely flat and open. This makes washing and ironing much easier. Bonnets of this style would have been stiffly starched and ironed. Starching not only aids in the appearance of the bonnet, but it makes the bonnet stain resistant and helps to make it waterproof. Being flat, this bonnet was very easy to pack and store. It would come out neat, and ready to wear, unlike the poke bonnets that often looked creased and rumpled. The Button Bonnet was used mainly as a work bonnet, and was not dressed up and used for good
Other features of the button bonnet:
1. Rounded edge to the brim does not give you the “blinder” effect that some other styles do.
2. The tie and casing at the back aids in fitting the bonnet to most head sizes.
3. The single layer of the body of the bonnet and its curtain makes this cooler to wear than those with double layer construction