1880s (or 1870s) Bustle Era Hat

A beginning millinery class to complete your Victorian ensemble!

It's time to complete your Victorian ensemble with a fantastic hat!

Through 4 complete lessons, we’ll cover all the steps needed to create a buckram hat frame with formed crown and brim then cover with fabric and decorate with trims.

Each lesson has detailed videos along with an accompanying PDF handout complete with homework assignments to keep you on track with your project.

This class is for intermediate-level crafters.

You’ll learn exactly how to complete each step but you should understand basic sewing techniques including hand sewing stitches like the whip and stab stitch. This is more of a crafting class rather than sewing and for the most part we’ll stick with simple instructions for easy project completion.

The priority of this hat class is for you to understand how a buckram frame hat goes together. Once you understand the basics of putting a frame together and covering it, you’ll be able to tackle other hat and bonnet designs. They are limitless.

Together we’ll focus on the specific topic of making a buckram frame hat project so we can saturate the knowledge and improve our millinery skills. We’ll explore the various parts of hats from the 1870s and 1880s including the varying crown height and shaped brim and that most important of all – trimmings!

Detailed Tutorials:

  • Lesson 1: Discuss millinery supplies & tools, pattern selection, hat designs, recommended fabrics, & possible trim ideas
  • Lesson 2: Cutting buckram and fabrics; applying millinery wire; forming the crown section
  • Lesson 3: Adding a mull layer to the frame; covering the crown and brim sections with fabric
  • Lesson 4: Joining the crown to brim; adding trims; adding a lining; tips for wearing your new hat (including hairstyles)

Although making a buckram hat can seem quite complicated, we'll walk through each step in detail so you know exactly what to do.

You'll find a variety of hat patterns on the market. However, for this class we'll be using the Truly Victorian #550 & #551 hat patterns (sold separately in our Old Petticoat Shop). Several other pattern options will be provided, but please note that what you see in the videos and lesson handouts will cover the above patterns specifically.

Choose which decade you want to make: Early Bustle 1870s or Late Bustle 1880s. Or make a hat that works for both! The techniques you learn in class will carry you far beyond the Bustle Era too.

Valuable Skills & Techniques You'll Learn:

  • Fabrics specifically recommended for 19th C. millinery projects
  • How to sew wire to buckram by both hand and machine
  • Why you should add a mull layer to your hat frame
  • Cutting buckram the easy way
  • Learning how & why to use a thimble
  • How to get the tip to fit into the formed crown section
  • How to cover a hat frame with fabric
  • Working with a curved needle
  • Types of trims & their placement suitable for late Victorian hats
  • How to apply trims to hats

Start learning and creating today to be properly attired for the next Victorian event!

One final note - this class was initially hosted on my blog, HistoricalSewing.com. Any reference to emails, different lesson pages or logins, and even timing between release of lessons should be disregarded. You have access to the entire class lessons here on this site with progression on your own schedule.

"Jennifer, you have to be detailed when writing sewing instructions…. One of the reasons my project is coming out so successfully is that you write very detailed instructions."

~ Diane Ullman


"I tried to make the hat on my own, following the pattern instructions. Your class made the difference between a costume and an historical hat which I can now wear with pride. I can’t recommend your classes enough."

~ Becky Millinger


Your Instructor

Jennifer Rosbrugh
Jennifer Rosbrugh

Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles from about 1780 to 1920. Dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Daughter of the King.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the class start and finish?
The class starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online class - you decide when you start each lesson, complete the sewing, and when you finish the project.
How long do I have access to the class?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this class for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Can I get personal feedback and help with my class project?
Of course! We are here to see you succeed in creating historical fashions you love. We help you every step of the way through conversational comments in each tutorial and through email, if desired. We create a joyful and safe environment for you to ask any question about your project and receive answers and feedback that can be used immediately.
What if I am unhappy with the class?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and give us the opportunity to address your concerns.
If I change my mind, can I request a refund?
Due to the nature of the materials and intellectual property presented in the class, all sales are final.

Start learning and creating today to be properly attired for the next Victorian event!

The class lessons are self-paced with no specific day or time required to be online. You work at your own speed and schedule. Read the lessons and watch the videos when it’s most convenient for you. Post your questions in the class for additional assistance on your project from Jennifer. All lessons remain available to you with no expiration.

Get started now!