I decided today that I deserved to make the hats.
The house was in reasonable shape, and Bernie was out of town.
So let the hat mania begin!
Below are the hoods before I began.
They are silver grey, navy, brown, olive, burgundy and black.
The sizing could be bought from a millinery supply place, but I find gelatin works great.
The sizing adds just enough stiffening to the straw that it hold it's shape, and adds a little gloss to boot.
I put two packages of unflavored gelatin into about a quart of boiling water.
I stirred the mixture really well so there were no grains of gelatin left undissolved in the water.
parasisal straw tends to bleed, so I dip the lightest color first, then the next darkest color and so on. I decided not to make the burgundy colored hood this time as I was making an olive green hat, a navy hat, a brown hat and a black hat after the silver grey, so there was really no good place in the line up for a reddish tone.
You can see how dark the gelatin water was by the time I finished dunking the black hood.
I let the hats dry slightly after I dunked them. To avoid dye drips on surfaces I try to remember to line the counters with newspaper, and to wear clothes that won't get ruined if I bump into the drips.
Hats are usually made on a wooden block so the hood can stretch on the wood and pin onto the wood while it dries.
I have some wooden blocks, but I wanted to experiment with "kitchen blocks."
My millinery guru Kate is a big fan of thinking creatively to find alternative hat blocks.
We both go through department stores trying on vases and bowls on our heads, while trying to get a glimpse at ourselves to see how it looks.
It is a wonder we have not been rounded up by the local nut squad and put away in a padded room.
My Dansk pottery deep casserole/soup pot had been whispering to me for awhile, so I decided to give it a try.
I thought it looked pretty good on my head as a hat!
I covered the outside of the pot with saran wrap so the hood's sizing wouldn't stick to the pot as it dried, which would effectively glue the hood to the pot.
Pulling it free would destroy the blocked shape, so it is always important to use saran wrap between the block and the hood.
The hood stayed on the pot until it was totally dry.
Once it was dry, I took the hood is off the block (aka "pot), and I needed to add a sweat band inside the hat.
The band will both make the hat more comfortable to wear, protect the straw from sweat, and most importantly in this case, be used to fit the hat to my head size.
I measured my head with what is called "belting", which looks like ribbon but has a saw tooth edge rather that a flat checkered looking edge. The belting will be used as a sweat band.
Most ribbons now days are polyester or synthetic, and are not usable for sweatbands.
I sewed the belting ends together, checked again to see that the size was comfortable, then divided the belting into fourths.
I pinned the belting equally around the interior of the hat edge, and then pinned it evenly around the rest of the way, and stitched the belting to the hat.
Usually I do that by hand, but today I used my sewing machine.
The sweat band can be used to made a hat fit larger or smaller, even though it is important to have blocks that match a person's head size.
In this case, I just eased the parasisal to my head size.
Bernie had discarded some silk ties when he cleaned out his closet awhile back, and they didn't make it to the clothing donation center.
I thought the tie fabric was too cool to give away, and that I could use them in hat making.
Awhile ago I had bought some trim up in Arlington, near Dallas (where the Weather Channel is telling me there is a tornado and rough weather right now....) back when I went up to Victorian Elegance with the two Junes.
The trim was expensive stuff, so I only got about 10 inches.
I had to be clever in how I used it as there wasn't going to be enough trim to go all the way around the crown as a band.
To design my trim I first played with the tie.
I wrapped the tie around the side of the crown of the hat until I was happy with the design, and then I pinned it into place.
Then I played with the trim positioning, and the hat "wearing" style.
I decided to wear the hat as a cloche, and arch the trim on the tie fabric.
In hat making you should work "light", that is, try to eliminate as much weight from the trim as possible. I should have discarded the tie lining to make the trim lighter, but eh, what the heck.
Then I decided the hat needed some feathers.
I tried a few that I had in my millinery supplies, then thought I'd use some of the turkey feathers my dad sent me from one of his successful hunts awhile back.
(That was the cat's favorite part of the whole process. They have been yelping and yowling around the house since I got the feathers out, clearly convinced that SOMEWHERE there is a turkey that they should be able to catch. They keep smelling the feathers, then go tearing around the house meowing like crazy. I finally threw them outside just to shut them up. If there had been a live turkey in the house, it would have beat the heck out of those two ridiculous cats. What were they thinking?)
I curled three of the turkey feathers, gently easing the shaft against the edge of pair of scissors and bending the shaft until it bent slightly, bending it every quarter inch to get an even curve.
I also trimmed down the flues on the downside of the feathers to make the feathers narrower.
Next I decided to flute the edge of the brim.
I measured three inch increments on the brim, placed a clothes pin at each mark, then held the brim over the tea kettle spout to steam the brim, and gently eased the parasisal into a fluted shape, like the edge of a pie crust.
Lastly I attached a vintage silk veil just under the edge of the tie fabric.
And here it is...the finished project:
The point or end of the tie is at the back of the head, and the rest of the tie wrapped twice around the hat.
I used the least amount of stitches possible to tack the trim to the hat.
Hat trim should look as if it could float off the hat, not like it is nailed down with loads of tight stitches.
I couldn't get the hat down into a full cloche level on Joan, as her hair was in the way.
I'll try to get a picture of it on me when Bernie gets home.
Laura requested that I make her a cloche, so if she likes this one, it's hers, although it is probably too big for her.
And I'll bet she won't like the brim...you wanted plain edge, right?
Let me know Sweetie!
Want to try your hand at millinery?
They also have traditional blocks and millinery belting.
They just don't have Dansk pots!