|The hat in progress.|
Let's end the overlong analogy. I had a girls' evening out with my sweet friend Polly, and helped her get her costume ready, and started the hat that's to be worn with my 1795 morning ensemble, along with the muslin cloak and the wrap-front dress, planning to finish by evening's end. Hah.
The Hat Design
|June 1794, Gallery of Fashion, detail.|
From Bunka Gakuen Library.
The design I am using is from the Gallery of Fashion, June 1794, "A Peep into Kensington Gardens: Morning Dresses". My design takes elements of figures 10 and 12, viz.: the hat itself from figure 10 and the trim from figure 12.
The hat I'd planned to use was too small brimmed, said Polly. Oh dear. That hat went back into storage, and I took off last year's hat trims from the same old hat I've owned since 1981, the first one ever bought with my own money. Am so much the model of Jane Austen herself, frugally retrimming what she already has :}.
I even removed the original trim that had been long hidden, to find that time had faded the tobacco brown hat and band to latte. Hmmm, there's an essay on entropy and mortality there, but later. This is a light-weight post.
The design calls for a fancy, quadruple bow with quadruple tails, a puffy wonder of a bow.
My silk ribbon being new and me being money conscious, I feared to cut it, and so played for a hour making floppy bows that lacked body. So Polly and I tried millinery helps, sinamay ribbon (fabulous stuff), horsehair cord (whoa!) and I even built a petersham backing bow behind and starched both, and, so scary, cut the fancy ribbon.
The resulting hat trims were just BAD. Royal blue is easy to make chintzy, and I certainly succeeded there. It looked both overthought and underworked at once. Quite an achievement, but alas, the camera refused the shot, for it was so horrid;)
Went home with a failure, didn't I?
Yet, I'd had such a good time with Polly overall that I woke happy to a hummy soft sunny day, and like a bee, made something sweet from the most basic materials.
Our first lesson is, use fabric and ribbon you don't fear to cut and you'll relax and create something nice.
Our second lesson is, puffy constructed bows don't work with floppy single faced silk satin, even starched.
Here's what I did to make the hat design work:
- Used scraps of the same bolt of white duppioni silk I've used for the last five years for other projects, including the living room curtains.
- Pinked long fat pieces of it.
- Cut those into shorter pieces and made four tailless pseudo bows: two loops crimped in the middle with thread tacking.
- Starched them.
- Made sets of pseudo bow tails.
- Mounted all atop each other at angles, tacking them together with thread. Required strength and I bled on a tail. Proof of effort, I suppose.
- Faked a bow center with a loop of fabric on top.
- Made a tuck on the underside of each bow loop to puff out the loop.
- Used a long piece of pinked fabric for the hat band and back bow and its tails.
What's Left to Be Done
At this point need to make a mount for two plumes from two long pins fixed to the hat crown, and tack all to the hat itself, and make a tiny ruche from gauze around the underbrim edge.