Saturday, 2 May 2015

HSM 15 Challenge 4: War and Peace

When I posted my sewing plans earlier this year I said from the start that this was the HSM challenge that I had no inspiration for, coupled with the fact that April was all about Celebration I felt that this was probably the challenge I was most likely to skip.

Still when I was at the hat making party one of the organizers was really kind and gave me her pattern for a tricorn hat, in three sizes. That seemed like a suitable project, that wouldn't take too much time when I got home from Celebration. Well, I got home from Celebration suffering from severe jet lag and in the last days in the US I had gotten an acute inflammation in my shoulder, bad enough that I couldn't lift my arm up for two days. So I missed the deadline of April 30, but I have finished the challenge, only two days late.

The tricorn started out as a military hat. Worn by soldiers who cocked up their widebrimmed hats. In Sweden it was part of the military uniform from the 17th century. The fashion with cocked hats spread and in the 18th century it was worn by all classes, and also by women. My quick search seems to suggest that women wore the tricorn mostly as part of a riding habit. Its popularity diminished during the second half of the 18th century, and was later replaced by the bicorn as part of military uniform. In Great Britain the fashion for women to wear tricorn hats faded around the middle of the 18th century, but remained for some decades longer on the continent.

For my tricorn I decided to go for a fashionable 3/4-sized hat. This means that it will really be quite unusable as headwear, but might look good when anchored on top of a big hairstyle. I once again went back to the blue cotton velvet that I've used for quite a few challenges now.

This is the pattern that I used. After having finished the hat I think if I want to do a more fashionable hat again, then I woiuld make the brim a bit more narrow.

As a base for the hat I used a stiff fabric that I've had in my stash for a long time. I think I bought it when I first tried to make a bustle back in 2006. I have no idea about fiber content, but it feels pretty similar to buckram, but it's a bit flimsier than that though.

I first sewed the crown together of the stiff fabric. Then I glued the velvet top part of the crown onto the fabric. I sewed the velvet side of the crown on to the top. I also added a piece of millinery wire at the bottom of the crown, to help keep the shape.

The I covered the stiff fabric with velvet on both sides and sewed them on. This was the only place where I used the sewing machine. I had planned to use it more, but it was too fiddly so in the end it was easier to do the hat by hand.

The raw edge of the brim was covered with blue cotton tape, and then I sewed it onto the crown, using buttonhole thread. Then it was simply a matter of folding and pinning the sides of the hat until I felt that it looked good, then I used a couple of stitches to make the brim keep its shape.

As you can see on this picture of myself it definitely needs some big hair to look good. I have also sewed in two thread loops on the inside so it will be easier to pin it in place on the hair.

What the item is (and how it is a product of war or a lengthy period of peace:
A tricorn hat, a fashion that went from military uniform to being worn by both men and women in the 18th century.

The Challenge: 4 - War and Peace

Fabric: 0,5 blue cotton velvet, 0,5 m of some stiff mystery fabric

Pattern: Handed to me by a friend

Year: Middle of the 18th century

Notions: 1 m of blue cotton tape, blue sewing thread, buttonhole thread, 30 cm of millinery wire

How historically accurate is it? Except for the stiff mystery fabric I think it's pretty accurate. A proper milliner would use more layers to make it into a proper hat, but I would say 75%

Hours to complete: 8 hours, could have gone a lot faster with a healthy shoulder.

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: It was all from my stash, but if bought new the cost would probably have been around $15-20

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