Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Heritage Festival and an 1870's Floofy Summer Straw Hat

 After several years absence thanks to one thing and another, I finally made it to the Heritage Festival in my hometown again this year!

I didn’t volunteer, as my schedule for that weekend was up in the air when the volunteer sign-up found it’s way to my inbox, but just attending again for the first time in years was delightful!

My best friend and a friend of hers joined me, and, between rain showers, we ate from the food trucks, toured the big house, visited the weavers guild, and wandered through the vendors tents.

Despite not volunteering, I still decided the Heritage Festival was worth dressing up for. (After all, 9 years ago it played a roll in my fall down the historical costuming rabbit hole.)

I decided to wear the 1870’s gingham summer dress I made two years ago.

 As the main house on the property was built in 1877 the era was just perfect!

I blogged about the dress itself in detail last summer - you can see part one here and part two here - but never did share about the hat, so I’m going to take this occasion to do that.

Believe it or not, you’ve seen this hat before. And no, I don’t mean its appearances in this dress blog post. I’m talking about its original form, and its second rendition.

It’s the hat I wore for my Sophie costume back in 2016. The hat has been used in several plays since then, and was certainly showing its age.

After looking through English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, and Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harpers Bazar 1867-1898, and taking a proper amount of inspiration from Pinterest, I decided that there was enough salvageable straw left in the hat to make a cute little 1870’s headpiece.

So, armed with ribbons, a scrap of silk, and an old bridesmaid bouquet (left over from my brother’s wedding) that’s what I did!

I started by going through my mom’s kitchen to find a hat form.

A cereal bowl seemed about the right size and shape!

I stuck the cereal bowl in the crown of the hat, put the combination in a plastic tub, and boiled a kettle of water. 

Once the water was ready, I poured it over the hat and cereal bowl. 

I used silicone covered tongs to shape the hat around the bowl.

There was quite a bit of extra brim after using the bowl to make a smaller crown.

When I was satisfied with the shape, I trimmed off the excess brim - thankfully most of the damaged straw was in the portion that got trimmed away!

I used a rubber band to help the newly re-formed hat hold its shape, and set it out in the sun to dry.

Once the hat was mostly dry I zigzagged around the edge of the brim to keep it from unraveling, and set about trimming the thing.

I decided the line the brim with a scrap of green silk shantung. (The same green silk I used for this petticoat, to trim this caraco, and to trim this ensemble.)

I sewed the silk to the edge of the brim.

Then sewed several rows of machine gathering stitches.

For gathering it up. . .

To fit neatly inside the crown.

I tied off the gathering stitches, 

And hand sewed the silk in place inside the crown.

All neat and tidy! 

And the stitches are hidden on the outside of the hat.

With the brim lining sorted, I had to decided on a brim binding. Petersham ribbon was my first choice, but finding some the right color in my stash wasn’t easy.

Finally, I found a bit of white petersham, which I tea-dyed to ivory.

And that worked just perfectly! I machine sewed it on.

Next up was all the floofy, pretty, outside trimming.

I tried out several different ribbons around the crown, 

Before finally settling on a navy velvet band, with an ivory velvet bow in the back.


Ribbons settled, I filled the brim with the disassemble bouquet.

And sewed all the flowers in place!

After just a couple hours one Saturday afternoon, I had an adorable little 1870’s straw hat!

Which perches just perfectly on the back of my head like some of my inspiration fashion plates!

Not bad for the third rendition of an almost worn out costume hat!

The perfect finishing touch for a delightfully floofy costume!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Frolicking with my Sister in 1780's

 Before my sister left the state for Bible college at the beginning of the school year I really wanted to do another photo shoot in historical clothing with her.

Well, we ran out of time.

So I went to visit her and brought the historical clothing with me!

My brother, who’s going to the same Bible college, agreed to be our photographer and we were all set!

Well, almost.

We still had to find a place to take the pictures.

The area where my sibling have moved is in a major drought, so finding a place that was somewhat picturesque (green), in an area we don’t know very well yet, was. . . daunting.

After a weekend spent running around, trying to fit a week’s worth of activities into two days, my sister and I took an hour to drive around and scout out locations.

We found a park with nice green soccer fields surrounded by green trees.

It even had the cutest little stone bridge!

This would do!

We hurried back to the house to get dressed and collet our photographer, Mom, and the dog.

The main purpose of our trip to visit my siblings was to deliver my sister’s diabetes alert dog to her.

They missed each other an awful lot during the weeks they were separated so it was a joyous reunion on both sides!

And it seemed only fitting to get a few pictures of the pair!

For this photo shoot my sister and I decided to do early 1780’s

I had a new ensemble I’d made over the summer and wanted documented.  And, now that my sister has a proper set of stays, we needed to see how her gown looked with the right foundation layer.

Quite well! 

We definitely need to make her some proper accessories (a fancy apron would be fantastic!), but her 18th century look is coming along!

Maybe we can work together on some more projects for the ensemble when she comes home for Christmas break.

Meanwhile, it was just fun to dress up with my sister again and frolic in an open field!




Showing off our dresses!

My sister's dress has been blogged here.

I’ll share all about my dress later this fall.

(Bonus points if you can identify in the comments the inspiration behind my dress!)

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves until the light completely faded and it was time to return to the house.

My mom and I would be leaving early the next morning to return home.

And my siblings would be up early to see us off and head to class.

Some fun pictures together were the perfect way to finish off our visit!

Now to decided what era we’ll dress up in for our photo shoot next time we’re in the same state!