Trimming an 18th-Century Shallow Crown Hat

Also known as a bergère hat, shallow-crowned, wide-brimmed straw hats were a staple of 18th-Century fashion. Every class wore this style of hat, so class distinction came down to styling and material quality: trims on these hats ranged from no decoration at all to ridiculously elaborate silk-covered, beaded, feathered spectacles.

Since I have zero experience trimming hats, I kept it very simple. In the future, I’ll do something more elaborate (I’m intrigued by silk-covered styling)!


Some simpler styles:

Oil painting of a woman in 1780's garb, showcasing a simply trimmed straw hat
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art
OIl painting of a young woman in a straw hat trimmed with wheat stalks
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Miniature portrait of a young woman in a simply trimmed bergere hat
Those puffs! Image Source: Victoria & Albert Museum
Detail of an oil painting portrait of an Englishwoman wearing a simply trimmed 18th-century shallow crowned straw hat
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Materials Used

Unadorned shallow crown straw hat on a canvas cork mannequin head


Ribbon, flowers and feathers! To ensure that the flowers I chose would look good together, I got a small pre-made bouquet from my local craft store and tore it apart so I could style it for a hat.

Plain shallow crown straw hat with ribbon, flowers, feathers strewn around it

For the crown, I chose to do simple ribbon poofs:

Finally, I attached the flowers using hot glue. Not the most period appropriate method, but since I’m already using plastic flowers, that ship has sailed:

Over head view of a trimmed 18th Century shallow crown hatClose up shot of the flowers and feathers used to trim an 18th-Century straw hat

Overall, I’m happy with the results!

Young woman wearing 18th century hat and clothing

What experiences have you had with trimming hats?


2 thoughts on “Trimming an 18th-Century Shallow Crown Hat

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