A new hat to start the new year

Happy 2021 everyone! With the new year, it’s time for the looking back & looking forward posts, but I thought I’d start with my first finished project for 2021. A new hat!

I started this 1830s bonnet after finishing my 1830s dress, which I took pictures of with my Regency bonnet. The styles are similar enough to work, but hats did grow a bit more in the 1830s to match the wider skirts and bigger sleeves. For my bonnet, I wanted something that’d work with both my green and my gold dress, and I settled on a white/brown combination of fabrics.

And, I actually used a pattern! That was quite helpful, as bonnets are complicated. Mine was the Romantic period bonnet pattern by Lynn McMasters.

My main inspiration for the trim and look was this bonnet from Costumes Parisiens (1834)

I found some ribbon which was perfect for the style, and set off to work. That took a while, as I don’t particularly enjoy making hats, so I worked on it on and off since October. I made the frame, wired it, mulled it, and covered it, and these last past days I stitched on the trim to finish it.

My bear kindly tried it on for me before I covered it

So now it’s done, which means I have a full 1830s outfit to wear to outside events as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to take these out on a picnic sometime this year!

1780s Silver round gown

I posted about the bodice of this gown before, but it’s now officially done!

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This was my big project for this year. A completely hand-sewn 18th century dress, out of silver silk.

It was my first foray into 18th century dressmaking, and I used the American Duchess book as a guide. The pattern is strongly based on the Italian gown in the book. I made some slight alterations to the back neckline, and to make it fit me. To turn it into a round gown, I simply added an extra skirt panel center front.

The bodice construction was done as described in the book (blog post here), and also the main reason I wished to do this by hand, as it’s not quite possible to follow the same techniques when sewing by machine. For instance with the shoulder piece, which is attached to the outside.

 

The skirt was fairly straight-forward, just 3 panels of 150cm wide, with slits on either side of the front panel and pleated at the top.

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Pleating the back skirt, here basted together with red thread. I basted both a couple of cm above and below where the bodice would be attached, so the pleats would stay properly in place when attaching it to the bodice.

 

The skirt was attached to the bodice by top-stitching through all layers from the outside. I then removed the visible basting at the bottom

 

The front panel is attached to a waistband which is tied around the waist before putting on the bodice, while the back panels are stitched to the dress.

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The top of the front panel of the skirt, attached to a waistband

 

Spot the hem! The hem seen from outside (left) and inside (right)

 

The dress is currently untrimmed, and so relatively simple on it’s own. To complete the outfit, I planned to have a sash, fichu and a hat.

The sash was simply a vintage blue ribbon, and the fichu a triangle of very thin white cotton, which I hemmed by hand.

The hat was more work, and the biggest hat I’ve ever made. I based the proportions on a portrait, drawing lines through the face and hat to see how wide the hat was relatively to the head.

One of my main inspirations, and the one I used for scale, is this portrait. Her hair is deceptively wide, just look how it extends almost as far on either side as her head is wide. The hair definitely makes the hat look ‘not quite as huge’.

Portrait of Susanna Gyll by John Hoppner.

 

I’ve long admired the hats made by the Modern Mantua maker, and she really inspired me to look at fashion plates for hat options. In the end, I settled on stripes at the bottom of the brim, and ribbons and bows around the crown.

This fashion plate was one of my main inspirations:

Hats from 1787.

 

I didn’t have striped fabric, and not too much of my base fabric (the dark grey). So I got some paler ribbon, and cut strips of the fabric, and stitched those together to form the covering for the bottom of the crown. I finished the hat by adding two ribbons around the crown with little bows. My method was a bit of a mix-up between the one from the Modern Mantua maker, and from the 1790s hat in the American Duchess guide to 18th century sewing.

 

To finish the full ensemble, I styled a wig. I have very long, quite thin hair, and the idea of untangling it after doing a hedgehog style was slightly terrifying. So wig it was. When I wore it, I curled the front of my hair and blended that into the wig, which worked quite well. The hat really needs the huge hairstyle to give some proportion to it, and I’m quite happy how it worked out!

 

This dress will have a second outing in November, for a ball this time. I have some beautiful antique cotton lace, which I plan to use to trim the neckline and sleeves. Stay tuned for version nr. 2 in a bit over a month!

For now, pictures of the whole thing worn!

The dress from the back and sides.

 

With the sash:

 

And some portraits of with the hat!

 

Sewing – Edwardian Hat & Jacket

My Edwardian outfit is now really done! I finished my hat last week, but didn’t manage to get the hairstyle completely right on the first try. This weekend I tried again, with a little more success. I also managed to finish my jacket last week, so I now have proper images of both! Hopefully, I’ll be able to wear the entire outfit in 2 weeks, provided it doesn’t rain that weekend.

The plan for the hat was ‘big’, and I was strongly inspired by this hat in the met:

I already had some black ostrich feathers from antique shops, and leftover black velvet.

I started with taking the dimensions from the inspiration and making a paper version. I then cut down the height quite a bit, because it looked strange, and ended up with this paper version.

 

The next step was to cut the buckram. Because I bought it in LA and had to take it home on a plane, it was folded:

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The brim of the hat was cut across some folds, and the buckram wasn’t flat anymore. So I wetted it, and placed it flat to dry in the hopes the folds would dissapear. Only problem: I needed something to keep it down which would still let it dry. So all the tea-lights I never light finally got a purpose! It looked a bit funny though…

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It turned out a little wobbly, but good enough. Next step, construction!

I folded the sides of the crown inwards and outwards by cutting slits into them, and then stitched this to the crown and the brim.

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Around the brim I put steel thread to strengthen it. This I attached by machine, which took some careful sewing, but I managed not to break my needle!

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So now I had a hat, but not a very pretty one. I covered the hat with black velvet. First the crown, which I stitched to the buckram around the sides. The side of the crown and the brim I sewed together, then putting it on by sliding it over the crown. I turned over the raw edge at the top to the inside, and turned the raw edge around the brim to the underside.

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The bottom I covered with black cotton, following a similar process as for the velvet. around the brim I turned over the cotton and sewed it to the velvet. Inside the crown, I just cut a rectangle strip and made a bag-like inside with a cord, so I can adjust the size of the crown on the inside. (clearer picture will follow).

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So now I had a fully covered hat! It’s still a bit plain though, so this is where the feathers came in. I had 2 of batches, one bigger than the other. It took some careful placing, but I managed to sew them all to the hat. I covered the end of the feathers with a velvet ribbon bow.

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So I now have a finished hat! I really love how big and dramatic it is. Even though it’s not perfect (the fabric around the crown isn’t as tight as I’d like, I’ll probably attatch it differently next time), I still think it’s a pretty good first hat!

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The inside can be made smaller with a piece of string. I don’t really need this with full Edwardian hair though! Pictures of me wearing it at the end of the post!

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I also finished my Edwardian jacket. I drafted the pattern myself, the plan was a jacket which was open in front to still show my blouse. I wanted it to reach just to the top of my skirt, have 3/4 length sleeves and velvet details. I didn’t plan on the lapels, but when drafting the piece of cotton I was using happened to have the perfect shape, so I kept them! I used a similar sleeve pattern as in my blouse, just with a little less width and a little shorter. I also pleated the sleeve caps instead of gathering. Pretty happy with how it turned out, I now have a proper walking costume!

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I hope to get pictures of the whole ensemble on me in a couple of weeks, but for now a picture of the hair/hat test!

 

 

This was the second attempt, as my hair needs to be pretty big to support the hat properly. I only had a hair rat for the front of my hair at first, and the hat kept sliding off. I also tried just back-combing, but my hair really doesn’t have enough volume for that to work. My attempt was for this hairstyle:

Wearing History Blog | French Gibson Girl Hairstyles, 1908 | Mirror Des Modes, May 1908:

I ended up buying 4 bun-filling rings for a sock bun, like these:

I cut all of them open and sewed them together into a big ring. This allowed me to put this on my head and use as ‘filler’ for the rolls. My hair is pretty thin and sleek, so I need filler. This worked quite well, and made my hair big and sturdy enough so I could put my hat on it and make it stay in place.