Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hats Off (Hats On!)

After much waffling, moaning, fiddling and fumbling, I've finally completed the 1883 hat for Tess.  It is loosely based on this vintage hat (also 1883).

Seems that I picked one of the most difficult shapes of hats to start with.  I agonzied over buying some 3/16" millinery straw to make this hat.  There was enough out there on the Web to choose from, just not enough cash to make it happen.  I was also worried about making a complete mess out of expensive straw.  Intead I found this 3/16" middy braid (cotton/poly blend) in my sewing machine stash draw.  Who would have thought I'd have a full package of red right there waiting for me.  It took two attempts to get started, but once I got going it was rather smooth sailing.  The use of a hat block is essential.  Fortunately I had fashioned a bonnet out of stiff "straw-looking" scrapbook paper a few days ago. 
Intially this was to be the finished bonnet whichI was going to decorate. Turns out it made the perfect hat block as I was able to pin down the braid trim directly to the stiff paper. 
The brim was a bit of a challenge.  It was to be a 90% angle to the main crown of the bonnet and also have a pointed peak in the center. 

The braid was quite pliable and very forgiving and has maintained the shape I had finger-pressed it into.  I think I may add a bit of fabric stiffner just for stability.  I am very pleased with the results, even though the stitching is a bit large (and anxious- looking).
Perhaps the bright red was not the most authentic Period choice, but it does match her bright outfit.  Now I have a full package of white braid calling my name.  I wonder what time period is next.  I feel a bit like Dr. Who!


  1. Wow, is there anything you can't do?

  2. You did a fantastic job on that hat! I wouldn't have even dared something like that seeing how I have the patience of a 4 year old. :-)

  3. What a pretty hat and it goes so well with her ensemble - Brava!!