Tuesday, October 23, 2012

April 2012 - The Titanic 100th Anniversary

We are nearing the end of 2012, and I am reflecting back to earlier this year.  In April of 2012, the world recognized the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic.  For the Costuming Community, Edwardian Fashions took "Front and Center" as never before.  Coupled with the popularity of several Edwardian Era TV series, such as "Downton Abbey", and the "Beauty of Belle Epoch and Edwardian Fashions" were on everyone's sewing tables in preparation.  One of the key elements of any Edwardian Era ensemble is the "Hat" - a woman's crowning glory if you will.  I am going to share a couple of quick blog overviews of two or three hats I pulled together for some of my Costumed Events, and I hope you enjoy them and much as I did!  I am starting with my Ivory & Coral confection:

Edwardian Hat and matching Corsage Belt
I pulled a wide brimmed Ivory colored hat out of my stash.  I liked the wired brim, but the crown was too high and was the wrong shape.  So, first step was to cut off and remove the crown (see photo).  I then selected a vintage taupe Pillbox hat from the stash to become the new set-in crown.  It had a lower profile with a flat crown, which was perfect for the look I was going for.  I hand stitched the pillbox to the Ivory wide-brimmed body.

Next, I had to gather in decorations for my design, starting with feathers.  I hand curled ten 15-18" ostrich feathers.  In the photo below, the feather on the left has been hand curled.  This curling is what gives feathers that fluffier look, more like what we see in the vintage hat photos.  The process is easy, it's just like when you use curling ribbon.  I used a pair of sharp scissors, and I would isolate a 1/2" section of feather, and very carefully pull the scissors edge against the grain of the feather.  Too hard and you will just chop off the feather.  I would find a feather you can practice on before moving to your main feathers.  I had pulled five white and five coral colored feathers for this hat.  Sad note, I left my carefully curled feathers on the sofa table one evening.  When I came home, my dog had eaten half of them and destroy the other half.  I was devastated!  The time, the money, the effort - all gone!  Finding that particular coral colored feather was almost impossible!  I had to make a special trip back up to the LA Textile market just to purchase more feathers.  I only found three coral colored feathers, and then opted for less white feathers for balance. 

Next, I hand sewed a beautiful 4" floral lace around the top of the wide brim.  Once the lace was tacked on, I moved on to a coral colored striped chiffon.  Edwardian Hats have that super wide crown.  While I could not duplicate that look exactly, I was able to add the "look" of fullness with the chiffon around the crown (see photo). 

From there I when with a super wide strip of the coral chiffon and worked it into a gigantic bow for the front of the hat.  I had to stitch in some wire into the bow fabric to give it the body needed to hold it's shape.  I then started to add in the feathers, each was hand-tacked.  Some silk flowers in coral and white added a great focal point both on top of the brim and on the underside of the brim, and finished off with ivory colored horsehair, as I could not find the Egret feathers I wanted.  The horsehair was a fun alternative, and I liked the overall look.  The hat is well balanced weight-wise, and I use two to three hat-pins to hold it in place.  The other key issue is the hair.  I used some "rats" to roll my hair into the big Gibson Girl hairstyles.  These hairstyles help hold up the weight and shape of these hats, as well has giving your hatpins something to hold into!   I will be posting pictures of two more hats, so check back again soon if you enjoyed this post!

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