I recently acquired an antique Edwardian lingerie dress (translation: a lacy white cotton dress suitable for afternoon wear) that I plan on wearing to an afternoon tea. However, how can one go to an Edwardian tea without an appropriate hat (particularly when one has no skill at Edwardian hairdressing, making the hat even more necessary)? So when I saw this wide-brimmed straw hat in a local store for only $1.99, I snapped it up.
You can see that it actually has a slightly fluted brim– I liked that detail– and a relatively small crown that would have to be disguised to get the right shape. I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to look like in the end, so I turned to the internet for inspiration.
For the proper Edwardian look, it appeared that I would need a bunch (a BIG bunch) of flowers and feathers to decorate. I made a trip to the craft store to locate some appropriate silk flowers– big and fluffy and pastel– and a spool of extra-wide embroidered ribbon. The ribbon is a pale metallic gold on one side and matte ivory on the other, and I used the more muted ivory side for the appropriate period look. A rummage through my stash of supplies yielded some feathers I could use for plumage.
The crown of my hat is rather small for the period, so I decided to make it look larger by surrounding it with puffs (rather than a straight band) of ribbon, kind of like Cora’s hat pictured above. Then I made a massive fake bow, which was aided in volume by the wired edges of the ribbon and the tulle I stuffed into the loops for shaping, and glued it down to the side of the hat. I added flowers and leaves, then some ostrich feathers sticking up at the side and some bleached peacock feathers curving along the wide brim of the hat. I tacked down the flowers and ribbon with a few strategically-placed stitches, just in case the glue didn’t hold.
To allow for a little shaping of the hat, I whipstitched a length of copper wire around the bottom edge of the brim (the copper wire was bendier than the brass wire I had). I’d intended to cover the wire with some ivory bias tape, but it was barely noticeable when the hat was worn and I was running out of time, so I skipped that part.
I think it turned out rather well! The crown is far too small to fit over the massive hairdo I will be wearing under it, but I figure that with a hatpin or two it should be all right…
UPDATE: I’m so annoyed– I took this hat with me to wear for the very first time at an afternoon tea event… and accidentally left it on the train! I called the lost and found (literally 5 minutes after I got off the train) and asked after it for several consecutive days, but they said it never showed up. Who would steal a feathered, flowered hat??? (sigh) I guess I’ll have to make another one someday…