Monday, April 14, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #7 Tops & Toes (The Top)

What It Is:  1890s Equestrian-Inspired Hat
The Challenge:  Tops & Toes
Fabric:  Matelassé and cotton velvet
Pattern:  Denise Nadine Design Mina Hat
Year:  1891
Notions:  Brass chain, leather braided trim, ostrich feathers, pin, cameo, feathered bird, netting with chenille dots, vintage feather trim, bias tape and French elastic, millinery thread and needles (curved and straight), buckram, millinery wire
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  All techniques and materials are as close to vintage or replica as possible.  Except the bird.  A taxidermy bird would have been used in 1891 but this one is from a craft store.
Hours to complete?  8 hours
First worn:  Perhaps April 26th for a Victorian Fashion Show, definitely May 7th when I host a post Kentucky Derby Tea for ladies at a retirement community.
Total Cost:  Fabric scraps and stash

"Ladies wear a lot of hats and they deserve this."
Elizabeth Jennings
In the spring of 2011 I started to create an 1891 matelassé and velvet reception toilette.  Then I accepted a new position and everything went into a container and travelled with me for the next two years.  It is finally out of the container and waiting to be finished - which will happen for HSF Challenge #8!  I'm excited!  It is an equestrian-inspired costume and needed the perfect hat which I found in Denise Nadine Designs new release of The Mina Hat pattern.  While many 1890s hats are wide to offset the voluminous sleeves of fashion, The Mina Hat inspiration sits perfectly and prettily atop the head.
The hat design is basic.  A brim, sideband, and crown tip.  I've steamed the edges of the brim slightly with the steam iron and molded them into a light curl.  Millinery wire is stitched to the 3 pieces...
...the sideband is stitched closed and the crown tip stitched to the sideband.   Bias tape and French elastic cover the wires and a piece of flannel pads the crown tip....
The fabric is sewn in place.  A velvet upper brim and crown tip...
...and a matelassé under brim and sideband.

The crown is stitched to the brim and the hat is ready for decorating.
I have a box with every flower and feather, buckle, pin, and whatnot that I think would be pretty on a hat.  This collection yields a fun assortment of items.  Starting at the top is a collection of ribbon, buttons, a brooch, feathers, chain, leather cord, a bird, feathers from the sporting goods store that are used to make fly fishing lures, and in the center my two favorite pieces - a vintage millinery feather with the store tag still attached, and a cameo of a lady with her cart and horses.
Below is a photo of the still unfinished gown bodice which has a quilted satin equestrian-themed vest.  I start laying bits and pieces on the hat and see what strikes my eye.  All those pins are the upper brim velvet before stitching in case I change my mind before I sew.  I change my mind a lot when it comes to hats.

The chain and leather trim were a must have and I wove them together to create the hatband which hides the stitches where the crown is attached to the brim.

I also popped the button off the organza/brass brooch and added the cameo.
Decorating a hat takes me forever as I constantly move items around until the moment comes when I can say "Finished"!
And here is my finished Equestrian-Themed Mina Hat! 

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful spring blossoms in the pictures!
Love always,

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