Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Duchess's Milliner - Georgiana in Progress

This week has been about trimming Georgiana's jacket and giving her hair. As well as starting work on her wide brimmed hat.

At first I tried plaiting enough braid to sew around the edge of her jacket, but it looked to fake somehow. Just sort of floating on top of the fabric rather than being a part of it.
I dug out my stitch books and practised with a few different embroidery stitches until I found one that fitted well as a substitute for the fringe on the original costume, and I've used that on her jacket instead. This type of Picot stitch is woven onto a row of small back-stitch making regular loops that overlay each other. It sits nicely against the edge of her jacket now, and I like how it looks different from a standard chain.

I gave Georgiana her hair in my usual way, layering the fronds from marabou feathers to build up a full wild head of hair, and then it was time to start her hat.

Now I really enjoy making hats, but this one has been a big challenge for me as it's very different from my usual basic shapes. First I had to play around for a while with shapes until I found the shape that would create the wide curled shape of the brim. I cut buckram to my final shape along with the two pieces of fabric to cover it as this brim needed to be stiff an hold it's shape, and not floppy. It's an odd shape to work with as it won't lie flat, and I had to be very careful when attaching it to the hat body to make sure I got a straight neat edge.

I use all sorts of things as bases to make my hats, from bottles and storage tubes to cardboard packaging. I already had a base for a gentleman's top hat that was the right size, and as you can see it's a tube that once contained sweets :)
I used an awl to make a number of holes in the sides of the tube and strong thread to sew threads between each side so I could pull the tube into a more oval shape. It's nice and strong and I've used it for lots of hats, an I started the body of Georgiana's in the same way as making the body of a Topper.

First I add the circumference of the lining, making sure that the finished side is against the tube, then add the top. I push the brim onto the base then and get it positioned before sewing it to the hat body lining. I have to take it off the base to sew it firmly together after tacking it. Then put it all back onto the base. Then I add layers of buckram around the hat until I get the stiffness I want, and add ovals to the top tacking them all into place. This is the stage I've got to at the moment, and next I'll ad fabric to cover the top before covering the sides and adding the decoration :)

I'm one of these sewers that can't throw away the scraps. I knew that I'd use them all one day and decided it was time to look into a way of using them up.
We passed one of those beautiful little gift shops that we all like to drool over, and in the window was the cutest fat round creature. He wasn't anything in particular, but had big round eyes just like I love under the brim of his floppy hat, and a big round belly. I knew that I would love to have a shape like that to embroider and applique onto, so I'm going to try my own version of a fat little creature. It may work and it may not, but if I don't do something soon my scrap box is going to throw off the heavy books I have on top of it keeping it closed and explode all over my dining room. So we'll see what happens :)

1 comment:

  1. You'll never recover from a scrap box explosion. My sewing room is proof of that!

    Thank you so much for the walkthrough on your hat making. I love the tipped brim. The embroidery on the jacket looks just right, exactly to scale and part of the whole design. Looking forward to seeing her finished!