Fagoted Bonnet

fagoted bonnet


Before the name “fagoting” was deemed politically incorrect by some in the heirloom sewing industry, well known designer Kitty Benton published several patterns named for this technique. There were patterns for fagoted bibs, bonnets, round yoke dresses, collars and more.

Fagoting, or “bridging” as it is now sometimes known,  is the joining of lace to lace, lace to ribbon, or the joining of any two finished edges with any one of several handwork stitches. By enlarging the above photo, you will see that several different stitches have been used to join the pieces.  To maintain an equal distance between the two edges, the pieces are hand basted to a paper pattern with lines defining the space to be filled with the stitches.




After taking a class from Kitty, I was intrigued with fagoting and intended to fill my grandmother’s hope chest with a multitude of fagoted items. After our home sustained major damage from Hurricane Charley in 2004, this bonnet is the only surviving item of the few I did complete.




As the joined pieces are held only by decorative handwork stitches, the item is potentially fragile. Often, bias tubing is used for the pieces to be joined (see photo below) and stitching done in heavier thread makes these items more durable.  The back of this horseshoe bonnet is self lined and turned with the raw bottom edge caught in the seam of the bottom binding.




Last fall when I taught in Puerto Rico, I was delighted to see this beautiful two year old wearing a fagoted yoke dress. Her aunt had made it for her and it couldn’t have been lovelier.  Notice that her hairbow is a perfect match to the soft gold color of the dress.

Now, I’ve put a similar dress on my grandmother’s hope chest project list, because I still hope for another granddaughter.

13 responses to “Fagoted Bonnet

  1. Hi Janice from Puerto Rico! I feel joy when I can read an excellent article on fagoting. Are those patterns from Kitty Benton available somewhere?

  2. Ahhhhh…what sweet memories I have of my teaching trips to Puerto Rico. I love the island, I love the people. And I love knowing that you are a fagoting fan! I did a quick google search for Kitty Benton’s patterns but could find none for fagoting. If I ever get my “store” up and running, I think I have some I will sell. Kitty’s designs and directions are great.

  3. Hi Janice! I found two patterns from Kitty Benton and I bought them so I’m waiting for the mailman. But I couldn’t find the bonnet pattern. Yes, I’m a fagoting fan. Also, I’m a fan of crochet, hand-embroidery, smocking, Irish Carrickmacross lace, bobbin lace and Tennerife lace. I need more time and space! I told my sons (8 and 10) that I need two rooms when I get old if I live when one of them: one for me and one for all what I love to do. 🙂

  4. Hurrah! I looked on-line for you and found nothing. You must be a pretty good googler! When I get a free minute, I’ll check my patterns to see if I have any duplicate that you might not have located. I did a fagoted baby daygown years ago, a style much like the bishop shown in that post with fagoted bias strips for the yoke. Do you have that pattern? I might be willing to part with it if you need it.

  5. I learned fagoting using Battemburg (or is Battenberg?) lace. I need to learn fagoting using bias strips. I would like to learn! Thanks a lot for the offering!

  6. Hi Maria, Did you receive the patterns you ordered yet? You sound like such an eager student of needlework. Battenburg tape is great for fagoting as it is much sturdier than lace. Ribbon works well if you are working on a straight piece. On several of my antique garments, most commonly baby dresses, gathered lace is fagotted to either insertion or a collar. In an earlier post, Bargain Baby Dress, http://www.janicefergusonsews.com/blog/?cat=5, a yellow daygown is featured. It has a very sweet fagoted collar. Bias tubing really works well. If you are interested, somewhere in my stash I have several yards of pastel blue as well as white with red dotted Swiss. I purchased this several years ago, specifically for fagoting. Now, you have renewed my interest!

  7. Hi Janice! The patterns have not arrived yet. I have a book (or booklet of 12 pages bought on eBay), 1984 by Hayman Associates, Inc in Alabama (originally published in Belgium): How To Make Brussels Lace (only instructions). Several years ago I bought (eBay again) McCall’s Crafts 3426: A Touch of Lace/ Un Rien De Dentelle. This is a multiple pattern sheet for Battenberg Lace. The instructions are for making Battenberg Lace with the sewing machine. I have never done that. I don’t know if I will.

  8. Hi Maria! I just checked out your web site and WOW!!!! You really are an accomplished needleworker in so many areas! I absolutely love the precious crocheted booties. From needlelace to machine embroidery, you do it all!
    I hope your patterns come soon. It’s hard to wait for something like that. I’ll be anxious to hear about your fagoting with Battenburg. I have some patterns around here somewhere that I should send you. Is your address on your website?

  9. Oh my God! I don’t know what to say (or write)! I love needlework so much, but a lot of my works are inside Rubbermaid boxes because I don’t know how to sell. I used to work as a school teacher inside a prison, but I quit because of my children. I became a mother late in life because of a pituitary tumor. I began crocheting when I was a child, because my father taught me! He knows how to make nets for fishing. He is 71 so I need to tell him to teach me before he goes to heaven with Jesus. Yes, send me the patterns. MIne came today but I need time to see everything because it was a lot! 🙂

  10. What an interesting lady you are, Maria! With all your experiences and late-life blessing of motherhood, you must have a special perspective on the joys of needlework. Get your father to teach you about net making ASAP so that he will still be around for many years to answer your questions. Unique skills and techniques like that should be passed on through the family. I wish you luck selling your needlework. When I was teaching in San Juan I purchased several pairs of crocheted baby booties at a shop in Old San Juan. I wish I had known you then–I much prefer to know about the person whose needlework I buy! Send me your address so I can get those patterns to you as soon as I have a chance to dig them out.

  11. Hi Janice! I will talk to my father about net making. Thanks for all your beautiful words! They make me smile of joy! artesaniasherencia@gmail.com
    Happy Easter Day! The Lord is risen!


    I live in Puerto Rico and I like all types of sewing and craftmaking. These days I am taking a faggoting class and I love it. I have to get me some patterns for my grandaughter who is four. Thanks

  13. Oh, Milagros, I LOVE Puerto Rico! And I love fagotting. I sent some patterns to another PR fan of fagoting, Maria, but I have never heard from her again. I do have a few more that I will post for sale so you might want to check “A Store” category. Your little granddaughter will be lucky to wear your creations.

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