What The Heck is Buckram?


When researching my latest historical romance called A PERILOUS PROPOSAL, I came across the use of buckram. My heroine is a milliner’s apprentice, an ambitious girl who wishes to make fashionable hats. Buckram is a coarse linen or cotton infused with starch, which is softened in water and wrapped around a hat block made of wood. The hat block gives the hat its shape and size.

After the buckram dries into a hard shape, the block is removed and a lining is sewn inside the hat to cover all imperfections of the buckram including the raw edges. The result is the canvas on which the hat is decorated.

The buckram base was covered with all kinds of material, the most popular being velvet and chenille in the winter months and straw in the summer. Trimmings were made of velvet ribbon, silk flowers, and lace. Polished gems called cabochons were sometimes added. Feathers of all types were the rage during the age of the Edwardians. Ostrich feather festooned hats especially became a must for the fashionable lady.

Brims were sewn on the base, and in the late Victorian and early Edwardian age, the brims became larger and larger until the face was partially obscured, adding an air of mystery to the wearer. Certainly, a hat with an enormous brim was no good for courting. How could the hero steal a kiss?

Imaginations ran wild on what the milliner designed for her clients. The influence of French designers was very strong. Every lady wanted the latest style from the continent. The hats my heroine creates become the talk of the town when she defies custom and sometimes gravity with her designs.

It’s all in good fun to wear a hat that people notice and compliment. The women of the Edwardian age are pushing what’s acceptable in the social sphere which shows in their choice of a hat.

Read more about Edwardian clothing and hats in the Victorian Magazine at www.Victoriana.com

A PERILOUS PROPOSAL is available at Amazon.com. Just click: http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Proposal-House-Caruthers-ebook/dp/B01BOBISU2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1457546665&sr=8-2&keywords=a+perilous+proposal