How To Make
A summer 1890's Flower Toque

Create the Mood

taken directly from The Ladies' Home Companion of June 1890

"Flowers are in great favor, and form the chief trimming for both hats and bonnets. Favorite colors are shades of heliotrope, bright scarlet, green and amber. Among the flowers introduced are violets, single and Neapolitan, pansies, lilacs, cowslips, roses and forget-me-nots, the latter being a good deal used with moss-green velvet and tulle.

The fashionable flower toque is made on a wire shape with roleaux of ribbon velvet or piece velvet joined in strips and tightly twisted, if preferred. A wreath of flowers is arranged to fall over the second roleau, the center of the crown being finished with a spray and bow of ribbon velvet.

Any of the flowers before mentioned are suitable for this hat, and are suitably combined with black ribbon velvet, while coronets, sprays and clusters of flowers can be had ready mounted for use. Colored velvet, if the flowers are nicely blended, is in good taste, as for instance, brown velvet with pink flowers, forget-me-nots with a soft shade of olive green, pale violets with deep violet velvet, etc. Some very dressy hats are made with the rouleaux of contrasting shades. One is in exquisitely soft tones of green and helitrope velvet, with pansy wreath and spray. One pretty hat of this description has rouleaux of green velvet, and in place of flowers a jet coronet above; on another, fans of black lace and a jet butterfly fin­ished the crown. The shapes for these hats are made of ribbon wire or round wire; the former is preferable, as it holds the stitches best.

1. Wire shape for toque.

Begin by covering the wires neatly with velvet, sarcenet, ribbon or anything handy. In doing this, take all long stitches on the outside of the shape; there will be no head-lining, and so the inside should be kept as neat as possible.


2. Showing first twist (or roleau) in place.

Now twist the velvet on the shape to form the first rouleau. This will take one and one half yards of ribbon velvet.

Begin from the back, and try to make the twist as soft and careless as possible; to look stiff will spoil it. Do not turn the velvet over the wire inside the shape; this takes up the room inside the crown, but twist it over and over entirely on the outside, and sew firmly here and there between the folds to the wire.

Show as little as possible of the satin back of the velvet, and when twisting over make a plait in the under part of the twist which comes next the wire; this helps to make it fold looser. At the sides the velvet should fall over the shape from about three fourths to one inch, at the back not quite so much. In front, a pretty finish is made by forming the velvet into three short loops to stand out a trifle from the shape. The center loop must, of course, come exactly in the front.

3. Second roleau in place.

The second roleau or twist is formed in the same way, but without loops in the front. When this is done, catch the top part of these loops to the upper roleau so as to keep them in place.

4. Flowers on crown.

Look at the illustration while arranging the flowers; you will see that they stand up nicely above the crown all around; at the back the wreath is, of course, quite narrow.

Next, sew on the spray, which should be mixed with foliage. It is sewn on towards the back, some of the flowers to stand up high, while others bend to­wards the front.

Victorian Hat
5. Bow for back of toque.
Make a stylish bow of ribbon velvet, like the illustration, using about three-fourths of a yard. Fish-tail the end and double it over a trifle, plait the loops tightly at the base, and twist the cotton around and around several times after sewing, to make them stand up
Victorian velvet bow

Refer to the illustration of the finished hat, and sew this bow on the crown, let the loops mix in prettily with the flowers in the spray, the two sloping towards the front. Catch them down to the wires crossing the crown, but only sew them at the extreme edge, and be careful not to flatten them. Catch the high part of the spray to the ribbon velvet and about half way down.

Lastly, pull out the flowers and make them look as graceful as possible.

Victorian Hat
Flower toque complete... from The Ladies' Home Companion, June 1890  



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last updated 13 November, 2012