Saturday, 17 May 2014

Hat analysis

So on Sunday, after having finished the gaulle, and gotten a bit more confident in my hatmaking skills after I restyled the straw hat it was time to start with the monstrous mega hat for my revolutionary outfit. The hat was one of the major parts of my inspirational fashion plate that I fell in love with, and I knew from the start that I had to make it myself, there was no way I would be able to restyle and existing hat.

First some things about references and materials. The references have all been found by browsing Dames a la Mode

This is the original reference picture. The things I've figured out from this picture is that it's big, duh!, the brim looks to be upturned. There are red ribbons forming a double bow at the front, with some feathers, and you can also see ribbons and some other red fabric at the back of the hat. Then there is some monstrous and crazy red blob at the top. I was a bit stumped on what the hat might look like from the side or back, and figures that I would just wing it. I had an idea that maybe the red blob was actually a bunch of red flowers. I even ordered some really nice millinery peonies before realizing that I was on the wrong track. Thankfully the peonies match my living room perfectly so I've put them in a vase in my sewing corner.

Then I found this plate, and it's a really similar style to the first one. It's the white dress with a red shortsleeved jacket and an enormous hat. Since the lady is turning her had it's possible to see a few more details tough. The ribbon that makes the big brow in the front goes all the way to the back, where it also forms a big bow. The extra red thing that you see in the hat I want to copy is probably a similar bow at the back. The most important thing though is that it's clear that the big blob on the head is a fabric cap.

Having recently seen the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility I definitely remembered Mrs. Dashwood wearing a similar style, though with a straw brim instead of fabric.

Some further looking around for research and tutorials I also found that Kendra over at demodecouture has made this kind of hat, also using Mrs. Dashwood as an inspiration. It's apparently called a capote hat.

I'm going to differ in my construction though, even if I'm really happy to find out how to get the big, poofy shape of the cap. I'm going to make my brim out of fabric covered buckram, not straw. Since this is the first time I've ever made a hat from scratch I've also decided that I am going to construct a fabric covered buckram crown as well, and then put the fabric cap over that. It means a couple of extra steps, but I really want to learn how to make a hat, also if I change my mind on how I want the hat I have more possibilities to restyle it if remove the fabric cap and still have a proper crown under it.

As for materials I'm going to use double buckram and millinery wire for the form, then simple felt for the mull and for the covering fabric I was really happy to find a gorgeous blue cotton velvet on ebay. It behaves more like proper felt, so I will definitely have to brush it to make it look good. For the cap I'm going to use a silk/poly blend silk taffetta. I wanted a stiff fabric that could almost stand on it's own, I am thinking about reinforcing it with some poly tuille that I have in my stash. This is a piece where accurate fabrics don't feel as important as the look, since I don't know if I'm using accurate methods for assembly either.

Then of course I will need a lot of red ribbon and some ostrich feathers.

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