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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Accessories Challenge · Hats

The "Accessorizing Head to Toe Challenge" looked like a great motivator for me, so I've decided to jump on the bandwagon!  About two years ago I really realized the importance of accessories in making an authentic, realistic outfit, so I've been attempting to slowly improve myself in that regard. :-)  I don't have a specific outfit in mind for the project, just whatever era(s) need attention.  Since September's theme was hats, I had lots of grand plans!  After a last-minute, week-long trip out of state, I was a week short on my initial expected-time-frame for the project, but that's why it's a challenge, right?? ;-)

· 18th Century ·

 For our trip to Williamsburg this fall, I knew I needed to address my hat situation.  I tend to get distracted by new jackets, dresses, etc. when it's time to gear up for Williamsburg, but I only have one hat to wear.  As you can see, this situation was in dire need of rectification!  

We had 3 hats that didn't meet my sartorial standards for trimming, so my challenge was to trim them acceptably. :-)  I was rather overwhelmed by trimming these hats, because I didn't want to fall into the rut of making identically decorated hats.  A Fashionable Frolick was a great one-stop resource for some quick ideas- thanks Rebecca and Ashley! :-) I wired the edge of both of the straw hats with 16 gauge wire- maybe a bit overkill, but I unexpectedly discovered it a couple years ago, and I love how it gives the brim enough weight so that it is not as easily caught by the wind! :-)

I covered one of the straw hats with silk, since I wanted a dressier hat, and then trimmed it with 2 inch wide ivory ribbon.  Please don't look closely at this one.  It was *ahem* a learning project.  The next one will go better- right?? ;-)

(And, just in case you're thinking the same thing my family said.... I can assure you that all of the pleats are precisely even.  OK, maybe there's a margin of 1/8" for one or two of them.  The seams on the other hand....were not completely thought through first. :-P)

The felt hat was trimmed with 6 yards of coral ribbon.  I love the prolific fluff. ;-) 

 The last hat....well.  It's a glimpse into reality. ;-)  I was packing supplies to sew the hats on a car trip and my initial idea for the third hat ended up being changed once I got inspiration from making the other two.  The necessary silk organza and decorations were at home and unavailable before the deadline.  So, instead I just did all the "grunt work" of sewing on the tying ribbons and the ribbon covering the wired edge.  I'll do the fun, quicker decorations at a future date. :-)  

The jury is still out on whether or not these hats will ultimately be deemed acceptable- I am notoriously difficult to please, and colonial hats tend to be the bane of my existence.  I feel like I still don't know how to achieve the look I'm aiming for, but I hope I'll get there eventually and this challenge was a step in the right direction. :-)

The Accessory:  3 18th century Hats
Historical Period:  1770s and 1780s
Outfit It Accessorizes:  All of my 18th century outfits
Materials Used:  2 Straw Hat Blanks, 1 Felt Hat Blank, Wire for Edges of Straw Hats, Ribbon to Cover Wired Edge, Silk to Cover One Hat, Ribbon Trimmings for Each
Techniques Used:  Sewing

· 1930s ·

I really love 1930s fashions, but finding appropriate hats is so much more difficult than for the 1950s!  Add in the fact that I have a big head (literally, as well as figuratively. ;-) ), and finding affordable and available 30s hats to wear becomes frustratingly difficult.  My hope is that I'll be able to make my own hats, so this was my first venture into previously uncharted territory. :-)  I found this hat at an antique mall and after seeing all of Nabby's amazing re-makes, I thought it looked like the ideal candidate for reshaping!  I soaked it for a few hours, and then put it on my head and pulled it into the shape I wanted.  Super easy!  I used my Sears' Everyday Fashions book as my source for inspiration, and used wave clips to hold the ridge on the crown in place while it dried.  Those wave clips are just sooo handy!!  After a few hours, the hat had completely dried and I stitched a length of grosgrain ribbon inside as a hat band, to help it keep its shape.  I wired the edge and finished it off more cleanly than it was previously, and then attached the ribbon trimming to finish it off.  And yes, I used hot glue for the decoration.  I know- the horrors!  But it was finished so quickly!  Well, that is until I realized that I had made my hat band too small...  So much for finally having a hat that fit my head. :-/  Soooo, off came all that ribbon and hot glue (which, incidentally, takes about 500 times longer to get out of all the nooks and crannies of the hat than it takes to put on. :-P) and on went the correctly sized hat band and all of the trimmings.  The project was still done before 10:30 PM though, so I deem it a success. ;-)

The Accessory:  Straw 1930s Hat
Historical Period:  1930s
Outfit It Accessorizes:  In Particular, a 1930s dress I haven't shared here yet; but In General, I hope it will coordinate with future 30s outfits, too.
Materials Used:  Straw Hat, Grosgrain Ribbon for Hat Band, Wire for Edge, Ribbon for Decoration
Techniques Used:  Reshaping, Sewing, Hot-gluing

· 1950s ·

I've known that I needed a lemon-trimmed hat since I first bought some lemon fabric 2 1/2 years ago.  But, being the nit-picky and agonizing OCD person that I am, I never got around to it.  So, this challenge was just the incentive I needed. :-)  I had contemplated buying vintage millinery lemons on Etsy for over 2 years, but I never worked up the courage to hit "buy".  When I went antique shopping in July and came across some identical ones, it seemed to be a sign.  I wasn't sure what kind of hat I should put them on, as we didn't really have any that seemed to be quite right.  I must have overlooked this hat somehow, as it seems to be ideally suited to the current trimmings. :-)  The lemons didn't come with any leaves, so I commandeered some from a garland we had and then trimmed them to the appropriate shape. ;-)  A little bit of leftover ribbon became the perfect finishing touch.  I can't believe it took this long to get around to this- it's such a cute hat now!!

The Accessory:  Lemon-Trimmed Hat
Historical Period:  None in Particular, although I intend to wear it with 1950s styled outfits
Outfit It Accessorizes:  1950s Lemon-Print Dress I haven't shared here yet.
Materials Used:  Straw Hat, Lemons, Leaves, Ribbon
Techniques Used:  Sewing, Trimming Leaves


  1. Oh, I love how all of the hats turned out! Especially the 1930's and 50's ones. Those lemons are so perfect! I need to try my hand at reshaping a hat one of these days... :)

    The Middle Sister and Singer

  2. Eee! So fun! I love the silk colonial hat and the 30's one!! You always have the cutest trims!

  3. Oh my! I love the pleating on your ivory 18th century hat and the safari hat! But the lemons on your '50s hat totally made my day!!!! Wonderful! Just wonderful!



  4. I want to raid your closet! That lemon hat is fabulous and the perfect accent to the dress!

    Loving the new 18thC hats, too - can't wait to see them featured in some "action shots"! :-)

  5. Oh wow pretty! I just found your blog through an email a friend sent me. Love those hats! :D

  6. Brigid, Thank you! :-) My very limited hat-reshaping adventures have encouraged me to improve my skills and attempt something more difficult! I'd love to see any projects you tackle. :-)

    Kathryn, :-). I'm glad you like the trims and I think you can guess how long it takes to agonize about the minutia of each one. ;-)

    Gina, Thanks! I'm so happy with how cheery the lemon hat is! :-)

    Rebecca, Thank you for all your 18th century inspiration. :-) Your hats always look amazing!

    Ruth, Thank you! :-)

    Tara, Thanks! Now you have to come see them in person! ;-)

  7. This might be such a cheeky request, but I am so inspired by your gorgeous hats, and they are refashioned! I currently have a smallish hat collection, but would love to try my hand at some hat trimming... So I was wondering, is it possible to get a tutorial on hat trimming, wiring brims, reshaping, ect? Thank you, love your blog! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    1. No, that's not cheeky at all! ;-) I don't currently have any plans for tutorial posts, but I'll definitely think about the possibility. :-) Thanks for the idea, and thanks for your comment!



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