>Edwardian Hat

>I started this hat to be a hat for my going away outfit for my wedding as well as to go with all the light colored or lingerie dresses I have from the Edwardian era.  Previously to this one I only had black hats, ones from a later period, or one that I made and sold
I decided to be adventurous with this one and try my hand at blocking straw.  I ordered the blank from Judith M Millinery Supplies and made the block simply from a bowl turned upside down and covered in plastic wrap.  I soaked the hat for a while under water to loosen the fibers, then eased it down to the shape I wanted, wrapping a large rubber band around the bottom to hold the shape.  I pinched the crown with my fingers into the shape I wanted, then set it outside to dry.  If you have a cactus in a pitcher it helps. No, not really, but it looks funnier.

After it had dried I decided the color was too dark so I went to the craft store and picked up white spray paint.  After spraying I left it outside to dry, then did another coat and let it set for a while.
The next step was to zig zag millinery wire to the edges of the hat on the sewing machine.  I left tails on the ends to overlap and strengthen the join.  Then I went in and hand sewed around them, whipping them together with double thickness of thread.  To cover the edges of the hat I wanted something like a fancy bias tape, but then I remembered I had a vintage lace that had been sitting in the stash for… oh… ten years or so.  Perfect!  I hand stitched around the top, then started around the scallops on the bottom and got lazy so decided to hot glue it.  We’ll see in time if that was a good idea, but it was a heck of a lot faster.

The thing that really bothers me about trying to do Edwardian hats is that our crown shapes are just not the same as theirs.  Ours tend to be so much shorter, and theirs are wider on top.  On every hat I’ve made from this period (and this is only the third) I end up putting a trim or fabric around the hat to make it look larger.  It does the trick, but in this case I ended up covering it up after I went nuts with ostrich plumes.

Next came all the flowers.  I recently hit the jackpot in floral discount- 75% off original price and 20% off that, so these little beauties cost me next to nothing.  Even if I didn’t know what I was doing, it’s good to pick them up- in fact I got some darker colors for future hats as well!  I contemplated for about .25 seconds hand sewing them, then decided that since the hat is a) spray painted b)already has glue on it c)I have a hat from then that was glued with trim, that hot glue was the only answer.  Sometimes fast is better.  I took the heads from the florals and a few sprays of leaves here and there and played with them until I liked the look.
Next came the ostrich plumes.  I recently bought a lot wholesale and knew this was one of my projects for it.  I also want to eventually make these for sale, so I stocked up.  I got out my curling iron and, thanks to Vanessa, found that they look best when the shaft of the feather is curled.  Not only does it look pretty and otherworldly, they get more bang than a straight feather!  These started at about 22″ long, and I only used about ten of them on the hat, but it looks like a whole flock met their match when I added them to the hat.  Nearly all the feathers were hand sewn on, with the exception of a few- I just couldn’t get them to lay right with stitching.
And here’s the finished product!




With it on my cat looked at me like his favorite feather toy had just multiplied and was attacking my head, but I feel very Elise McKenna from Somewhere in Time, so I am satisfied.

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