Saturday, August 12, 2006

Millinery: Summer Cocktails

The idea of cocktail parties interests me, not so much because of the idea of martinis, but the idea that a party can be given for lots of people, where a drink and maybe three or four one bite size items are available for eating. This is easy on the hostess, and easy on the guests.

My understanding is people drop by after work, mingle and chat for about an hour, and leave while the evening is still young. And the function of a cocktail hat is to add a witty eye catching detail to one's attire.

The cocktail hat is by definition small, only covering one's crown, no brims to bash into people in a crowded setting. Plus it is an evening need for brims to shield your face from the heartless wrinkle and cancer inducing solar glare.

I got this dress, a linen print, for a song at Ross. Perfect for a summer cocktail party. And certainly not for work, or church, what with that tell-tale martini glass in the print. (At least that is my cultural standard, maybe some more progressive houses of worship would think that motif is just fine!)

My first outing in this dress was to an afternoon fashion show. None of my hats quite delivered the feel I wanted, big brim looked beachy, small brim looked uptight. About an hour before I was to leave, I decided to make a cocktail hat for it.

This is what the "one hour" version looked like.
I later changed the pink velvet edge to a white silk dupioni edge to match the center.

This hat is so easy to make: Cut two buckram circles. I used a saucer as a pattern. Steam the buckram together at weave right angles (that keeps the shape from curling). Put a bit of a bump in the middle, like the back of the saucer, using a steamy iron. Stitch millinery wire to the edge of the buckram. Overlay the buckram with a circle of light batting and fabric on the back and front.

Cover the edge with bias.

Double the measure around the circle, and cut wire with an additional two inches. Shove the wire into velvet cording, or some other tube, configured like a figure eight.

Fold the eight in half, so the top and bottom circle sit on top of each other. Stitch one of the circles to the back of the fabric circle, and the other part "end" slides into the beginning of the eight.

The eight shape clamps the hat to one's head. Do a try on before cutting the wire and cover tube to make sure you have enough length to cover the back of your head comfortably.

All kinds of ideas work with this design. Here's a link to a whole page of hats using this shape.

An easy cocktail if only more people would realize how easy it is to give a cocktail party...and invite me! Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Ladygrande said...


You never cease to amaze me! What creativity!