1860s Embroidered Ballgown, Part VII: Floral Headpiece

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The last thing I made for this outfit was a floral headpiece to wear with it– during the 1850s and 1860s it was popular to wear floral crescents for eveningwear, so I got out my paper-covered floral wire from my daughter’s flower girl wreath and went shopping for artificial flowers. I purchased several different shades of blue, with some ivory thrown in for good measure.

First I made a ring out of wire, twisting the ends under, then figured out a general idea for how I wanted my flowers to be placed. After that it was just a matter of hot-gluing things down one by one!

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I painted the visible brown parts of the wire with black paint, just to make them blend into my hair color better.

When it came time to wear the wreath, I twisted my hair into a low-rolled updo, and pinned the wreath to the rolls.

 

 

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Flower Girl Hair Wreath

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My daughter is going to be a flower girl in my brother’s upcoming wedding– she’s extremely excited about it, of course! We decided that aside from the dress (which is huge and made of yards and yards of ivory tulle), what she really needed was a wreath of flowers for her hair. Because hey, flower girls need flowers, right?

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My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part VII: Tiara

 

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For one of the accessories for this outfit I had to find an appropriate small tiara. It was actually harder than it sounds– while there are tiaras galore on eBay, most are much larger than the delicate piece Eliza Doolittle wears in her gigantic updo. The few smaller ones weren’t much better– they were usually too rounded and none had the tiny dangles you can see in the original. I finally came to the conclusion that I’d need to cobble one together myself. Luckily, after much searching I found this comb, which had the radiating tines decorated with rhinestones, even if it was in the wrong color. I removed the heart from the front and snipped off the extra tines so there were only seven, just like the movie version. I had to bend them into the correct position to make them look like they were radiating from a wider base, as well.

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Making and Styling a Gibson Girl Hairpiece

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One of the things I always have trouble with in historical costuming is figuring out what to do with my hair. It’s reasonably long, which (depending on the era) can be a good thing, but it’s not that thick, so doesn’t provide the sheer volume that’s often necessary for historical hairstyling. But then again, many of the women back then didn’t have a ton of hair either, so what did they do? They made hairpieces, often out of their own hair. (If you’ve ever read a book and wondered what a “hair receiver” is, wonder no more!)

Well, I don’t have a hair receiver, but I do have access to plenty of fake hair, so when I was putting together my Belle Epoque/Gibson Girl outfits I decided to make my own hairpiece to provide extra bulk and volume to my pompadour. It really couldn’t be easier.

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