In Calico Chronicle, by Betty Mills, she talks about the sunbonnet…. “Owning a fancy bonnet was important, but owning a sunbonnet was a necessity. Some were both fancy and functional. Designed for outdoor wear, the sunbonnet boasted a ridged brim, often with a ruffle around the front and sides and a cape like portion, called a bavolet, or curtain, to protect the neck.”
women who often could not afford, or did not have access to the shaped wool and straw bonnets and hats, made these bonnets and added fancy trimmings and ribbon to dress them up “for good”.
These bonnets have a very stiff brim, which can be decorated with or without a ruffle. The back of the bonnet is gathered using ties and casing at the neckline. The look of the bonnet is completed with the attachment of a bavolet, to the lower edge of the bonnet. For women with short hair, bonnets are wonderful choices to wear to conceal ones lack of hair.
Other features of this bonnet include:
1. The tie and casing at the back aids in fitting the bonnet to most head sizes.
2. Stiffening in the brim prevents bonnet fro flopping gin you face, even when it gets wet.
3. The curtain or bavolet can be made as long or as short as you desire. Bavolets can vary from 2 ½” to 14 ½” with the standard being 4 – 6”.
4. By your choice of fabrics and colors, and the addition of the brim ruffle, you can dress up or down you bonnet making this item truly versatile.