Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lonely Heart - Martha's Hats

No 1949-1950 setting is complete without hats. Wearing hats, for both men and women, is one of the things that distinguishes the earlier 20th C from the last few decades. If we leave them out of this show then most people would not notice, but they may have a sense of it being "not quite put together" and unfinished.
Ray has a grey fedora that he is rarely going to wear as most shots are interior, but having one in his hands is an important anchor. I just hope that Nick has been rehearsing with it.
Martha has two hats, both made my moi, partly because it is really hard to find hats that old, but also because I love making hats and they don't take all that long to do.

Hat 1: Navy heart shaped hat. This shape was really popular around the time of our play. Whether the brim was heart shaped or round, the effect of a halo rising behind the head was very popular. The crown is made from a commercial hat shape given to me, the brim out of buckram. Whole thing covered in cotton jersey knit (so easy to shape and its dull, thickish texture is reminiscent of felt) and the method an adaptation of my wide brim hat tutorial. The bow is from a scrap of shower curtain nylon I bought at the opshop for 20 cents, as I have no blue in my stash! Trimmed with ivory satin and navy cotton commercial bias bindings.

Hat 2: Red leaf hat. This cloche style hat hugs the back of the head and I love it. I made the base from buckram - cutting a big leaf shape, snipping the long edges and stitching little overlaps all the way around to give it shape. I then covered the outer side with thin cotton quilting batting to soften the shaping lines, then shaped the ruched, bias cut fabric over it. Sew around the edge, trim and sew bias around it to finish it off. The three loops are straight cut fabric with stiff net inside so as to keep their shape.
Small error - the ruching should fan upwards, not downward, but I realised I liked the loops better along the topline not the bottom so it is actually upside down. Such is millinery experimentation.
Thankyou Madame Ornata for modelling. Madame O has been such a great help with this show - coming over for hours to unpick, resew, make me laugh, try things on, make cups of tea, you name it!
Update: it's dress rehearsal this evening which is why it's taken me a few days to get this post completed. And the things I have to tell you about...I don't have time to tell you about! I will very soon, however... :)


  1. I'm quite smitten with the little red one too! It's so fabulous!

  2. :) I think I have a lot more hats in me yet. Adventures in Buckram... hehehe

    1. I think they are both lovely. I really need to get my hands on some buckram. A couple of years ago I looked and couldn't find any so just used 'heavy duty interfacing' as it was called on ebay.
      I might have just enough black woolen material and burgandy lining to give it a go.
      Oh, question how did you get the bit of the blue hat that sits on back of the head so bowl - like? Do you need a hatblock?

  3. Lady D, I use the really heavy vilene too, it's much the same so far. The crown of the blue hat was a preformed shape I was given. Many moons ago when I was a teenage costumier I made hats out of buckram by wetting with very hot water and shaping on a form, and that worked, but the buckram I have doesn't seem to have the starch in it. And I haven't had time to find out yet :)

    1. I did wonder if I could get away with buying a cheap hat and...adapting it (cutting off brim etc.) Problem is I buy hats thinking I'll cut that up and then I like them too much. lol!
      Would probably need to make myself a cheap papier mache form to do it though.

  4. You've just given me an idea for a post. I shall lay out my whole hat collection. Take some nice pics.