Conservation Treatment of 17th Century Calash Bonnet

Picture1As part of the culmination of my Master of Arts degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I performed conservation treatment on an eighteenth century calash bonnet. This was then developed into my dissertation and titled, Conservation treatment and re-creation of an eighteenth century calash bonnet, published by the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2008.

Additionally, the project included an initial condition report, treatment proposal, treatment report and assessment of treatment.


The Graduate Studies Collection at the Fashion Institute of Technology owns an eighteenth-century calash bonnet. This bonnet was found in a flat state in fragile condition: shattered silk, broken support reeds.  This paper researches the history of the calash bonnet and how it was worn by fashionable women of the eighteenth century. The construction of FIT’s calash bonnet will be compared to other surviving similar bonnets in other collections. Problematic issues of condition, support and storage shared by extant calash bonnets will also be discussed.


Picture2Conservation work was executed to stabilize and support the bonnet so it can be permanently mounted and stored in an open position (to minimize future movement and handling). A modern recreation of the bonnet was created as a study object made to the original bonnet’s specifications.