Friday, November 14, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly - Challenge #21- Re-Do of Challenge #7 Tops and Toes

From "Sherlock Holmes" 2009
“And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia, and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irene Adler, or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honourable title of the woman.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia
If you have been with me through the Historical Sew Fortnightly journey this year you might remember this jacket.  I made it in March and to my surprise and happiness it was loved by many and continues to be a popular post on this blog.  But with such a striking and memorable design, I was unsure about ever finding the perfect hat to top this suit.

Until I found this pattern:
The "Irene Adler Hat" by Harlots and Angels.  This pattern is the perfect blend of sophistication and uniqueness that I feel is also in the suit.  Not to mention a whole lot of attitude!  I think wearing this hat and thinking of Irene Adler would bring a knowing smile to any lady's face.  Perfect!
I have enough remaining fabric and some vintage ostrich feathers and just know that this will be the right hat.  I'm excited to get started!
I've made hats with patterns from many different sources and designed two patterns myself, but I've never seen a pattern or directions quite like this one.  The extreme tilt of the hat is created with darts sewn in the buckram and fabric.  This means that everything will be sewn by hand to follow those beautiful curves.
So I trace the pattern to the double-ply buckram and cut the brim, crown tip, and sideband...
...gather the tools and materials...
and sew the buckram darts and add millinery wire to the edges.
The curved needle is my favorite for attaching the crown tip to the sideband.
I covered the wired edges with French elastic, but bias tape also works very well.
The directions are great and the design is stunning!  I'm a bit obsessive about my hat planning and I trial fit my fabrics to make sure I really love the final effect as much as I think I will.  Laying out trims is also a trial-and-error process.

The first event for this costume was to be the Steampunk unLimited weekend at the end of September.  I attached some wonderful brass globes to the velvet flowers for my Traveler persona and was ready for the weekend.  Our Saturday morning visit to the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit was wonderfully longer than we planned and this costume went unworn for the weekend.  So today I took the mannequin outside, wrapped her in the jacket, and took these photos for you.  Please enjoy!

Historical Sew Fortnightly
What It Is:  The Irene Adler Hat
The Challenge:  #21 Re-Do/#7 Tops and Toes
Fabric:  Buckram, cotton matelassé and cotton twill
Pattern:  Harlots and Angels
Year:  1899
Notions:  Millinery wire, millinery thread, French elastic, vintage ostrich feathers, brass globe stampings, 2 velvet roses, coque feathers
How historically accurate is it?  Completely hand sewn and a design illustrative of the era.
Hours to complete?  10 hours
First Worn:  Taken for the Steampunk unLimited event in late September, but not worn.  No immediate plans.
Total Cost:  $40
Love always,


  1. I have just found your blog and have been reading it all. Your work is great and I thoroughly enjoy it all. This hat is gorgeous! It really goes well with the rest of the costume. Keep up the most excellent work!

  2. Heavens! You have truly made my day! Thank you for your wonderful comments!