New Project – HSM #7: Accessorize

The Historical Sew Monthly Challenge for July is Accessorize – The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.

I need a hat that’s appropriate for my upcoming Edwardian event. 1912 is a great time from which to “shop” because hats came just about any way anyone could want. Hat, toque, tricorn, bicorn. Vertical, horizontal or wicked slant. Ribbons, bows, feathers, flowers. Lots of drama everywhere you turn. Here are a few examples that got my mind turning.

Woman's hat, circa 1908-1910

Easter Flower Hats 1912

124, 1912, pages 119 and 124, from Winterthur Museum Library


The base I’m using is a floppy white paper straw hat I bought at a local thrift shop for $8.95. A band of natural color runs around the edge of the brim. My head is way bigger than the mannequin’s, but you get the idea.

Big ol' floppy thrift store hat.

Big ol’ floppy thrift store hat.

Since trying to pick a favorite hat from all of those extant examples to reproduce is next to impossible, I am blending the concepts. I love “making” hats. This is gonna be fun.

First, I used a stapler to lift the right side a bit. Not only does this lend a fashionable air, it also helps to stabilize the floppiness around the brim.

Can you tell I'm miserably hot? Sorry about the spots on the mirror. Worst selfie ever. But it shows what just two staples can do for the shape.

Worst selfie ever!!

Can you tell I’m miserably hot? Sorry about crummy photo and the spots on the mirror. But it shows what just two well-placed staples can do for the shape. If I have to, I can always run some millinery wire around the brim. But for now it’s looking good.

Now it’s time to start adding the goodies.

The event theme is roses and the color of roses. This is the fabric I’m using for the dress and the antique Edwardian brooch I’ll be wearing with it.

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I want scads of flowers. When I was at JoAnn’s I had four coupons and a lot of their fabric flowers were already marked down. I got the rose-pink satin blanket edging at the local mercantile. I know that in many cultures, chrysanthemums are only used for funerals and memorials for the dead. But that’s not the case here, so I got two bunches…lots of volume at a great price

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Here’s what the flowers look like on the dress fabric.

2007-03-15 00.19.19

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Big Edwardian Hat without a couple of big ostrich plumes.

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Play time! Now…where are those wire cutters…?


17 thoughts on “New Project – HSM #7: Accessorize

  1. My hat is usually the LAST thing I get around too, and surprisingly I love decorating them, just not finding the base. Sadly in the end, they mostly just get thrown together, as I’ve spent all my time on my dress.
    But they are so pretty!

    • I do love the hats. They don’t have a particular place in the schedule – I just dig in when the fancy strikes. I’ve been researching and gathering images to ponder for weeks. My brain likes to have time to mull things over and decide which parts to “steal” and what the overall goal is. It’s been so hot (for up here, that is, not compared to what you’ve been seeing in SD) I decided to take a break from fabric-wrangling and make the hat before the dress this time. 🙂

      • Gasp! It’s gorgeous! Nice textural contrast between the straw, the leaves and the velvet. We must find out where she gets her base hats. I’ve been using cheap thrift store hats for bases, and they’re OK but they only work so well and there’s only so much one can do with them. If I find out she braids and forms them herself I’ll throw my hands in the air and admit defeat. Temporarily, of course.

      • Apparently she makes them herself, and sometimes sells them on her etsy page. Dig around on her site for the link. Alas, no flowepot hats at the moment. I could really use one for my pink polka dress. I’m running out of time to make anything myself.

      • My one go at making a hat from wire and buckram was enjoyable but too hard on my hands. I may resort to making another one if I’m really inspired by something I just can’t find elsewhere, but I have to be seriously enamored with it. In the meantime…I troll the etsy pages. 🙂

      • I’ll give it a shot when I have some time. It never fails I want to do this stuff last minute before an event, and it aint’ happening.

      • Yeah, I’m looking at a deadline bearing down on me like a high-speed train. My fault entirely. But this always seems to the times when I start getting the urge to be creative..which slows everything down. My Edwardian hat is making me nuts at the minute…but at least I have four whole days to go and it’s only a hat. 😉 Making the dress by August 8th is a whole ‘nother matter, though. 😦

  2. Very nice, and I quite like the selfie. 😉 I am now making a hat/bonnet for this challenge as well, since I am still stuck with the corset and needed something quick for this one.

    • You have my deepest empathy for the corset. It seemed like forever before I managed to finish mine. Can’t wait to see your hat/bonnet! If I could find a willing elf to do the buckram work I’d happily take up millinery finish-work – the fun, decorating part – as a home business.

      As for the selfies, when my iPhone was working and I had the front-facing camera they weren’t so difficult. My new phone, however, only has a rear-facing camera – and it’s a whopping 1 megapixel, to boot. Pretty worthless when it comes to photography.

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