Fashion has always had its price tag and in the Regency was no exception. The accessory du jour was, of course, the bonnet and an army of platters and milliners kept the fashionable of the period in a numerous variety of hats and bonnets. Straw was a common medium and worn by men, women and children. Leghorn Bonnets, which you often hear of, were made in Livorno, Italy (the city was known as Leghorn in English) from straw specially treated to become a lovely bleached white.
Here is an excerpt on the craft from The Book of Trades or Library of the Useful Arts, printed by Jacob Johnson in 1807.
There are few manufactures in the kingdom in which so little capital is wanted, or the knowledge of the art so soon acquired, as in that of straw platting. One guinea is quite sufficient for the purchase of the machines and materials for employing 100 persons for several months. The straw-hat-maker, represented in the plate, is employed in the making up of hats only, after the straw is braided or platted.
The straw is cut at the joints and the outer covering being removed, it is sorted of equal sizes, and made up into bundles of eight or ten inches in length, and a foot in circumference. They are then to be dipped in water, and shaken a little so as not to retain too much moisture; and then the bundles are to be placed on
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