Sunday, July 14, 2013

Attempting an Edwardian Summer Hat

Last summer, in my thrifting to find materials for my summer steampunk picnic ensemble, I stumbled across this attractive straw hat in Value Village.  And since all my existing hats were felted warm monstrosities, this looked perfect.
However, the straw brim edge was in rough shape, fraying and starting to fall apart in areas.  If I was going to do anything to this hat, I needed to reinforce that brim edge, or it would only last me a couple of wearings.

So off I trundled to find proper petersham ribbon, which is a tricky thing to find in these modern days of cheap imitation grosgrain.  Real petersham can be worked around a curve when steamed, because of how it is woven.  The fake stuff cannot.

I got my hands on some, beige rather than the cream I'd wanted, but it was all I could find.  I wasn't sure how to get petersham into a curve (I just knew it's what you're supposed to use).  So, I improvised.  Since the hat was so fragile, I couldn't work it into a curve directly onto the hat.  But I did have a large melamine plate.  So, I soaked the petersham briefly in very hot water, and then worked it around the diameter of the plate, folding it as evenly as I could over the two sides of the plate, so I would be able to envelop the edge of the hat in it.  As I went, I clipped it in place with bullclips, and overlapping it some, so I had enough to go all the way around the brim.
 I left it to dry thoroughly for a day.  Then I unclipped it, and voila, curved folded petersham.
And then it was a relatively simple matter of machine sewing it in place as evenly as I could.
I sewed it in a bit from the ribbon edge to secure it, then sewed another seam at the outermost edge of the petersham, so it wouldn't pop up. 

I removed the white cotton ribbon from around the crown (it was a bit stained in places) and voila ... a straw hat all ready to decorate!
So I pulled out all my potential hat-decorating stuff - and I do mean ALL - and started playing!
Here are an assortment of my ideas, as I mixed and matched:  
 I even grabbed a lace bridal hat I'd found in a thrift store, while looking for stuff for this outfit, and threw some stuff on that.  (it was a lot of fun just trying different stuff).
I decided against the lace hat for the time being, and opted for covering my straw hat in the gold gauzy stuff, so that it just dangled over the edge a bit, and pinned in the back with the pearl-circle brooch.  I added the tawny velvet roses, and voila.  An easy hat.  I'm not sure it will remain this way, but it worked for the entirety of Summer 2012.  Below is a photo of it, at the Steampunk Picnic in the Royal City of New Westminster in August 2012 (now the Gears on the Green Annual August Picnic).

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