Over a period of time I've been searching for French whitework baby bonnets. They didn't have to be finished, as in a finished bonnet. In fact, most of them have not been finished bonnets. These hand embroidered baby bonnet cap backs were all made in France.
I can't imagine the practice, practice, practice that must have occurred prior to the stitching of these bonnet backs in order to get them to this level of expertise. Some arrived in the mail a little worse for wear due to their age. Some were missing some connecting threads. Some had obviously been stored away for years in boxes or drawers and they had the "patina" of vintage. But with a little delicate hand washing in Retro Clean the "patina" disappeared.
Some of the bonnets came cut in a circle. Some were in a square. I knew I wanted to combine 5 of them to make a small wall hanging and I really didn't want to piece them using new fabric. I only wanted the "new" to be the underlayment that they rested on. So with some very careful trimming, squaring up, and adding a vintage whitework lace that I was also lucky to find, I managed to piece it all together. Somewhat successfully.
I say somewhat only because the gauze type linen that these have been embroidered on is extremely thin and very difficult to work with. It moves - EVERYWHERE - and every which way. And I only had so much to work with. All but the middle bonnet had to be the same size! As you can see, with the embroidery done in a circle, it was very difficult to "square" them up. I think I held my breath the entire time I was trimming. And so I trimmed. And what I trimmed added to others. Oie......what have I gotten myself into?
So here is a photo of the 5 bonnets as they came to me (after I had washed them).
And here they are after I pieced them and added the vintage whitework lace:
As you can see I used a silver gray Radiance silk blend fabric as my underlayment. I then used a boutis inspired pattern, the blueberry fleur, as my quilt corners.
I traced this 4 times using the light box. Then the quilting began. Below is my finished project. Enjoy!