Sunday, January 5, 2014

HSF14: #1 - Make Do and Mend

The Challenge: Make Do and Mend
Fabric: cotton batiste
Pattern: none
Year: unknown exactly. Victorian
Notions: thread, 1 ostrich plume
How historically accurate is it? unknown
Hours to complete: probably about 3-4 hours total (1 1/2 movies and about 3 episodes of Antiques Roadshow)
First worn: not yet
Total cost: $40.35 total ($2.35 for the fabric, $3 for the ostrich plume, & $35.00 for the hat.)

Last year I only managed to complete 2 challenges for the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge. Mainly because I already had things planned out and it was a bunch of non-historical stuff. This year I was able to plan ahead. I made my To Do list of everything I wanted to sew and not I just have to find the piece that works with each Challenge.  For the first challenge of the new year, Make Do and Mend, I decided to finally repair a (possibly) Victorian portrait hat I bought at Heart of Ohio Antique Mall almost a year ago.

This was originally the inspiration for the blue 1875 ball gown I made last year, but I need to make a long sleeve day bodice to go with the skirt so that I can wear the hat with it.

As beautiful as the top side is, the underside is... lacking.

Yes, that is, I think, pattern paper sewn to the inside, presumably to help it fit better.  Now, certainly it is possible that the hat is not actually antique, maybe it was made for a theatrical production of some sort quite some time ago, or maybe this is the way hats looked back then. I'm not sure, I haven't done enough research to figure it out. I thought it was pretty, so I bought it. 

The crown had been crushed at some point and it just looked too shabby so I did a little research and came up with the steam method of restoring crushed hats. I put on a kettle of water and when it was boiling nicely, I held the hat over it, rotating occasionally. Once it was pliable, I stuffed the crown with some craft-type paper and let it sit for a couple of days. It looks way better now (the first picture at the top is actually after the steaming).

 I purchased some black batiste (I really hate that Jo-Ann's refers to this as Daphne now) to make a new lining.  To line the crown I just laid the fabric over the hat and pushed it into the crown, pinned it in place, then stitched it down.

Then, I made a long strip and put a gathering stitch on one side. The side that would not be gathered, I stitched the velvet. The gathered side was taken in the fit and stitched to my inside lining.

I know it's not the prettiest lining job ever, but it works and now I can wear the hat without that underside screaming "Look at me!".

On the outside, the plumes have seen better days, but it could be worse. There was a bit of an empty space between the black and the light blue plume. Maybe there was something else there at some point. Maybe a bow?
As luck would have it, I had just picked up some black plumes at an antique show a few weeks ago and one of them was fluffy with a slight curl and fit just perfectly into this space to help fill it out.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, especially considering I have never worked on a hat in this manner before (i.e. without a glue gun in hand).  I can't wait to make something to be able to wear it with!

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