11. October 2016 · Comments Off on Another Bit of Millinery · Categories: Domestic, Random Book and Media Musings

Dressing in period costume for book events has turned out to be a very effective attention-grabber; much more effective than my admittedly half-hearted attempt to wear cowgirl/western get-up. I’ve always rather enjoyed costuming, making doll outfits and all that – so why not make a splash, sartorially-speaking? In a group of thirty or forty other authors, one has to stand out somehow, so a handful of us at TAA events have given it a go this past year or so by wearing a costume of sorts, relating to our various books. The closing of the Handcock Fabric store chain let me purchase the yardage for some period outfits at extremely reasonable prices, so there are a couple more planned period ensembles in the works: a purple evening gown, a plain black dress in the style of the Harvey Girls, a navy-blue walking skirt with a fitted bodice, and another Edwardian walking suit – this one in brown and cream woolen tweed. I got diverted in making a pair of hats to go with these last two, by a Butterick pattern which became available.

I did two of the four hats which the pattern included; a small 1880s style, with lavish embellishments of flowers, netting, ribbon and a plume, and a plainer, Edwardian one in brown velveteen, with a brown satin drape and large bow, and a simple trimming of two light blow flowers. I did not follow the directions exactly when it came to trimming the hats; the kind of netting required in the instructions for the Edwardian hat just was not available for a reasonable price, and the way the veiling was arranged on the late Victorian hat just didn’t look right as specified. And I added way more flowers, because – hey, lavish is the way to go Victorian.

I couldn’t find heavy woven millinery buckram, or 20 gage millinery wire locally – but very heavy-weight Pellon interfacing and 18 gage beadwork wire make workable substitutes. I found it simpler and less messy, working with a needle and heavy thread rather than fabric glue to make the hat frame, as fabric glue takes forever to solidify. But I think they came out quite nicely … and now I have to make the rest of the outfits to match …

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