Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Silk-Covered Hat: Research and The Plan

I was jonesing for an 18th century project, and I really wanted to play with some silk.

What better than a silk covered hat?

I'd done one already, but I trimmed it rather specifically to match the Borderline Obnoxious Pink Caraco.  I wanted something that would match anything, and I wanted to use a hat blank I had on hand.  That blank happens to be large, and I didn't want to cut it because a) nervous and b) these hats are the cool sort of project that you can remake multiple times, so I wanted to keep my options open on this pristine blank.

So my first thought was:

The Fruit Barrow, by H. Walton, 1779 

Because it's *gorgeous* and the right size and black and covered in ostrich feathers and...

...and yeah, I have no clue where to find really nice ostrich feathers.  And what, black? Put a black hat on my head for our often-very-warm events?  Hi, head, step inside this oven.

Suddenly I liked it better in the painting than in person.

And then I found cream silk taffeta on sale for obscenely cheap.

So cream it was.

There are tons of images of cream and off-white silk-covered hats.  So many options for trimming and styling these, and I love the layered textures of the ones that are single-color.  (Though the Unknown Lady's blue silk is lovely, too.)

Portrait of a Young Lady with A Fan, http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2015/dillee-dynastie-experts-collectionneurs-pf1541/lot.119.html 

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by George Engleheart, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O82022/portrait-of-an-unknown-woman-portrait-miniature-engleheart-george/

From the collection at Williamsburg, http://thedreamstress.com/2013/03/terminology-what-is-a-bergere/

From the collection of the Chertsey Museum, http://chertseymuseum.org/search_collection?previous_filter=sack+back&filter=dress+silk&offset=475&item=19588

Mrs. Oswald, by Johann Zoffany, about 1763-64, The National Gallery

I have the top covered and am working on designing the trim--I am leaning toward the crown poufs of Mrs. Oswald and the Unknown Lady, and considering some knife-pleated brim trim, too.


Eimear Greaney said...

they are all so lovely but the first black one looks huge!......i dont know how these ladies got around with such hairstyles and dresses.... looking forward to what you make

Rowenna said...

Thanks, Eimear! How to get around...voluminously, I'd say :) I love making hats--it's comparatively quick but you really get to "play" with the textiles, if that makes sense.