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!
Evening dress ca. 1830From Whitaker Auctions
38 minutes ago