So, here it is! Am very pleased with it. Thanks to Lynn McMaster's article on 1790s turbans, in which she uses part of a coat hanger on which to put the ostrich plume, I was able do something similar to not only make these plumes really stay put, but be able to remove them without effort or damage so that they can be employed in evening wear.
As always, please click the images to see them larger.
Here below is how this all was achieved.
Last you saw, the hat lacked plumes and the trim was just laid on to see how it looked...
Oh, here are the model hats, from June 1794 Gallery of Fashion. As you may recall, I am doing a combination of the leftmost and rightmost figures' hats. The only thing I am not entirely happy with on mine is the size of the composed bow; it's a little small. I thought it should be as tall as the crown, but really, it's an inch taller and perhaps contains yet another bow, although I have four and the thing is some inch and a half thick! So I added a small coque feather aigrette to add fullness and cover and to provide some snap, crackle, and pop to otherwise single-color trim. After all, I am not so rich in good plumes right now to consider dying any as on the originals.
A typical costuming error, to go too small. Ah, next time, eh?
Attaching the Ostrich Plumes
- Curte used strong wire clippers to cut the end of a wire coat hanger into a sort of "U" shape.
- I bent the wire such that it followed the front curve of the hat crown.
- Using strong linen thread meant for stay making, I overcast the wire on to the hat, using plenty of stitches to hold it securely. The extra amount of wire serves as extra security.
- I left three quarters of the vertical wire unsewn.
|Plumes attached to the wire holder.|
- The plumes are actually four quality wing plumes, bought last year. To me, it's worth it to purchase good feathers. Well taken care of, they can last more than a lifetime, and be used on countless hats. Plus, those plumes are almost the first thing you notice in a 1790s ensemble, or on an Edwardian one, for that matter...
- Each final plume is composed of two feathers, the back of the front feather's quill shaved and properly sewn along the quill to attach them to create one very full plume. Lynn McMasters has an excellent tutorial about this on her site.
- The plumes are wired together heavily with thread, and then jewelry wire.
- The connected plumes are then pushed down on top of the wire holder, such that the wire holder goes between them. Had I but one plume, I'd have pushed its hollow center down over the wire holder. They are tacked a bit above with thread to keep them from swivelling.
- I added a group of black-green coque feathers from my friend Polly. The feathers come in long strings attached with thread near their bases.
- I fanned them out, and inserted their bases into a little pocket made of silk ribbon wrapped round and round and sewn together, then sewed them into the pocket and made a little constructed bow in front to hide the handiwork. This coque aigrette may be removed and used for evening wear, too. However, it's tacked to the hat with sewing thread.
- The hat band was slipped round the crown. It's not tacked, having enough cling in it to hold, I hope.
- The puffy constructed bow is tacked dead center on the hat front.
- One-inch wide lengths, selvage to selvage, of silk gauze are cut with pinking sheers, lightly ruched, and tacked to the under-brim of the hat. Since silk gauze frays like mad, I should have cut on the length of grain, but forgot in the heat of things. So I starched it, and as it was still fraying, after attaching it to the hat, I hair-sprayed it (gah!) Severe issues require severe measures. Yuck; well, I'm sure to retrim the hat before the spray yellows or stickifies the ruche, which is worth perhaps two cents total, anyway. In the day they may have treated the gauze in some other way, such as dipping it like crazy in gum arabic or something.
Time estimate to complete: 6 hours. Good grief, who knew? Of course, that counts the failure hours, and the rest was done in wee smidges of time, between everything going on. Phew...
For those of you interested in feathery details:
- Plume source: Plumes N' Feathers
- Creating Full Ostrich Plumes
Edwardian plume research notes on blog
- All of Lynn McMaster's articles on millinery, plus her patternsClick on Articles link in left navigation bar
Next up, last bits before the festival. A quick self belt for the evening gown, the evening gown's lace tucker to tack in, hair, packing everything...
This evening I leave you with a typical cat pose: on top of feathers, Ladybug is almost asleep.
A very happy Fourth of July to those of you in the States, and a very happy weekend to those of you across the ponds!