Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thoroughly Modern Millinery - 1820s

My second year is coming to a close, and I had the opportunity to take a (21st century) millinery class a school, for which I've made several hats in a variety of new ways.  We had to wear one of them for our final assignment, a class tea.  I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to make the kind of hat that I've always dreamed about - the comically big late 20's early 30s pieces.  I absolutely adore them.  They're weirdly avant-garde and modern in some of their shaping, they're unapologetically fun, but they have a defined equation for construction.  I thought that it would be a fun challenge.

And of course, if I make the hat I also have to make the dress for the final.  So I made that, as well.  The dress ended up being more effort than the hat (not by much, given that I decided halfway through that yes, I did have to bind the brim edge, not just hem it).  I've always loved the sheer 1820s-30s dresses with the delicate whitework and gathering, so I took inspiration from a few original garments and paintings.  The underdress is plain, unlined white cotton (I was debating - all the references I could find were silk, but I found several original garments made from cotton; cotton was cheaper ad more available, so I went with that.)  The gown itself is unlined cotton voile with cotton whitework.  I used my basic 1830's pattern, slashed and spread it to allow for shirring and whipped the seams to the whitework.  Time consuming but straightforward.

Anyways, here's the actual hat itself.
Unfortunately, the humidity killed my nice, tight curls... But, you know, it was a look, so to speak.
The hat turned out fine, although I'm wearing it a bit far back courtesy of my subpar hair dressing skills.  In all the fashion plates that I looked at the ties fell behind the hat instead of being used as actual ties (and when I did use them as ties, it tilted the hat far too far back anyway.)  I used the same silk that I used for my petticoat, lined it with white silk (I couldn't find any references to a colored hat being lined with white silk, only white with white and colored with colored, but I ran out of pink silk.)  I hemmed the remaining silk for ribbons, some of which I wired.  I ordered some cheaper rayon ribbon as accents and found a big old feather plume at Michael's for a finishing touch.  I love the finished product, although there are things I'll remember to do differently next time.
The neckline of the gown's a little weird, since I intended it to be more of a boatneck style then it ended up being, but that's easily fixed.  The one thing I would change is that I wish I could put another panel into the skirt - it's a little sad looking, but the sleeves ate up so much fabric that I didn't have any left (not that I mind.  I love the sleeves and will defend my artistic choice to the end.)  A simple single faced silk satin ribbon from District 99 fabrics (thanks, Fort Fred!) finished off the look.  I would have loved to have gotten my hands on a belt buckle, but there were none to be had.

This is probably my favorite piece I've ever made.  It looks pretty much near perfect, constructed with proper technique and materials, and it's very understated and simple.  I'm really happy with it!
I'll post my other hats when I get the time.
Photo credit - the inveterate Stacy!!!!!!

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