How to make
Create the Mood

1912 afternoon gown
(under construction)

page 4

the hat

This hat is based on a modern straw that was damaged.
I salvaged part of the crown as it was a good shape.




    quertyquerty querty
hat sides

The crown was soft and not wired. So the first thing I did was to use plastic 'straw' to wire top and bottom to help it keep shape when being taken to and from events.

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crown wire pinned under lip

wired around head edge.

inside - the join
top crown fabric layers

All fabric layers have been waterproofed by either soaking in, or spraying with, waterproofer as the hat is to be used outside.

oval cardboard template:
used as basis for all layers; 'seam allowance' marked

polyester wadding layer:
to soften the look of the top of the crownquerty
cotton, to give colour behind devore velvet top fabric

circular design cut from shawl
lining: for inside the hat

millinary buckram cut with 'seam allowance' marked


To support all the layers I wired the oval millinary buckram layer with 'plastic straw' 1cm from the edge.

wire pinned in place

wire pinned

wire sewn

wire sewn

wadding placed on top



I stretched the velvet circle on the cross to make it an oval over the maroon cotton under-layer.

By finding the straight grain of the velvet and placing it at an angle of 45 degrees onto the underlayer, the fabric can be stretched slightly in a north/south direction.

The oval shape was maintained by pinning from opposite sides in turn and smoothing the velvet over the base layer. To keep the 4 layers together I sewed large tacking stiches from the centre outwards, from opposite sides.

There is not an exact fit as heads are oval, not round.
top crown fabric torquoise decoration

Turquoise jewellery was very popular at the time. So right in the centre I applied a turquoise flat-backed decoration and glued it in place with PVA glue using this method [see gluing peacock feathers into bunches].


Leaving the glue to go tacky, I made the outer ring of beads.

I placed beads onto thin wire, having checked first that my chosen beads had large enough holes. Alternating the colours makes the beads look more delicate.

The final bead was wired from both sides and the wire pulled through to make a circular shape.


The two ends of the wire were bent at right-angles using jewellery pliers and pushed through to the other side of the fabric.

[I had to cut the knots on the tacking stitches as I had left the knots too close to the centre]

This beading can be done with the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop. However as I was using velvet I was concerned about marks being left in the velvet pile.

ring of beads in position
beaded ring; sewn down between every two beads,
working fromone side to the other to hold it in place accurately


The underside is messy, but this will not show.

After the wire ends are shortened using wire cutters they disappear into the sewing.

wire ends get caught up in the sewing

Now the velvet/cotton layers could be placed over the wadding/buckram and all 4 layers pinned together.

The crown top can be placed inside the crown sides for a final check. A little space had to be left for the side's pleated covering.

crown top complete
crown top inside the sides, checking for size and position
hat sides covered with fabric

I had a length of antique pleated silk that was a suitable colour. Unfortunately the pleats were no longer in good shape, so I had to restore these before using the fabric to cover the crown sides.


The top and bottom edges of the pleats were aligned as I sewed them down with long machine stitches and then ironed gently with a cool iron on the wrong side

pleats sewn down one edge

pleats ironed
pleats sewn down both edges

The fabric was pinned around the crown sides along one edge, having checked that there was enough fabric left to be tucked underneath on top and bottom.

The fabric was smoothed over to the other edge before the second row of pins was inserted. A third row of pins tucks the pleats on the underside.


pleats pinned to hat

edges of the pleating tucked in and pinned

The pleats were sewn down on the outside with a small stitch taken inbetween each pleat, then sewn again on the inside to hold down the excess fabric. This was done on top and bottom of the crown sides.

underside being sewn, bottom

inside stitches, top

to be continued

feather decoration

decoration support:
fabric ironed onto backing fabric and wired with invisible millinary wire.

The wire was pinned then left for a couple of hours to take on the shape of this tight circle.


Circle wired


Black bias binding sewn around the edge using the methods shown here.
[see feather and flower decoration - base]

velvet top layer

add pics of decoration of feather base


The velvet with beaded decoration was placed over the base support.

Pins were added from opposite sides as the velvet fabric was gently smoothed over the support.

The raw edges were then tucked under, also working from opposite sides alternately.

top pinned

fabric tucked under

On the underside the fabric was glued onto the millinary buckram by ironing with the tip of a travel iron, going from opposite sides alternately.

Spare fabric was trimmed away so that the remaining loose fabric could be ironed flat onto the buckram.

pheasant feathers added

The feathers were added to the decoration using the methods illustrated here.


dyed pheasant tail feathers

Flatten the back of the feather base by cutting off some of the shaft (calamus) and cutting off the after-feather (fluffy bits at the base).

Use a cutting mat and craft knife and cut away from your body for safety.

Using the smaller circle of millinary buckram, a lot of glue was painted on and left to go tacky.

Feathers were placed in position on top of the glue and more glue progressively added their base. This was left to go tacky again so that the glue would not slide off when the buckram was turned over. The feathers and buckram circle were then flipped over and stuck onto the back of the beaded decoration.


I backed the decoration with pink cotton fabric (rather than black) which is easier to see in these photographs. Leather, felt or other non-fray material can be used too.

The circle, of whatever material, should be slightly larger than the buckram it is to cover.

I always use three press studs to attach decorations as this is secure.

[I made a mistake as I was tired, did not check it, and so my circle is slightly too small.]

I stitched through all the layers with black thread, following the design on the velvet front so that the stitches would not show.

These back stitches hold the layers together and, by crossing the feathers 2 or 3 times, permanently secure them in position.

17 mm press studs can be closed in poor lighting conditions and when in a hurry

completed decoration front and back

to be continued

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last updated 30 October, 2012