Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HSF '13 #7: Accessorize

August 2, 2013

The seventh challenge, Accessorize, was due on April 8, so once again I am cheating OUTRAGEOUSLY and completing the challenge not only later than the due date, but not even planning it until well after the fact.

(You guys won't tell, right? Thanks :D You're the best!)

The same year I made the cream-coloured Victorian gown (2011), I also had the whim to make a hat. I'd used Truly Victorian's hat pattern, with plastic canvas and felt instead of buckram, as given in the Elizabethan patterns by Margo Anderson. The result was quite pleasing, even if I'd made a rather serious error in judgement and started making it the day before I wanted to wear it. I sat at my aunt's BBQ for several hours, hand-sewing a hat in three layers without a thimble. My dress the next day was largely pinned together, as I literally could not push a needle through fabric anymore to attach closures. I had to sew the last four buttons on my bodice in the car on the way to the event.

Photo by M. Gibbins

Last year I did not wear a hat. I regretted wearing the dress I'd made at all, as it was incredibly hot and humid (for Alberta) and I ended up taking off as many layers as I could, plunked myself into a shaded area, and just tried to survive the trip back. We declared one member of our group the "madam" and my sisters and I (all rather scantily dressed, for Victorian times) were her "ladies of the night".

Big Valley, 2012

This year, I wanted another hat. I'd lent my pattern to my mum, and the gnomes have wandered off with it. I'm also lending my bustle to my sister this year, so I'm doing more mid-period, non-bustled looks. Trying to find information on hats is somewhat daunting to this non-hat maker, so I did some digging and I found a pattern by Lynn McMasters I'd never seen before. I ended up ordering it off of eBay and after a very pleasant transaction, I received the pattern in today's mail :D

Since I had nothing else to do, I got out my trusty plastic canvas, 22g floral wire, and a roll of felt and set to work. By 11:30 pm, after approximately two and a half hours of work, I had the canavs cut, pieced, sewn, and wired together with yarn (why yarn? I found it before I found my upholstery thread). Tomorrow I will pad it, and then I will have to decide what fabric I want to cover it with.

September 15, 2014

I know I've said it before... but have you noticed a theme? How much I like to procrastinate and lack focus? That is one reason why I love the HSF, it gives me enough of a framework and a deadline that I can push myself to work within. Otherwise, I am FULL of ambitious plans and zero motivation to work on them, and then I end up sewing right before the event, deep into the wee hours.

I dubbed the bonnet Thing. When I posted a picture on Facebook, I titled it "I made a Thing!" Thing sat, wired and padded with felt, fashion fabric (black satin) cut out and the crown attached to the base. It just sat. Patiently. Waiting. Eventually I moved it onto a mannequin head, where it languished again.

I thought I wouldn't be able to go to this year's train trip, being as it was quite late in the year and coincided with a festival I'd agreed to perform in. I only found out 5 days before the trip that I would be able to go after all. Some hasty arrangements were made and a ticket was available for me. Fantastic! Luckily I had a dress I hadn't yet worn on the trip all ready, I wouldn't need to hastily make anything. Except for a bustle.

But I also really wanted a hat. I found Thing's fashion fabrics easily and pulled it off the mannequin head. I finished the bustle around 9:30pm or so, and sat down to work on the bonnet. I did need to put it on hold for the evening, and picked it up again in the morning and busted my fingers getting it finished. It needs different trimming, most of this is just pinned in place, but in the meantime, I am just THRILLED that the basic bonnet is finished!

The Challenge: #7 Accessorize
Fabric: polyester satin, polyester "silk"
Pattern: Lynn McMasters' Natural Form Bonnet (view A)
Year: 1870s
Notions: plastic canvas, felt, yard, tons of thread, some fake flowers and a length of ribbon
How historically accurate is it?: In shape only.
Hours to complete: Far far too many
First worn: September 13, 2014
Total cost: Probably close to $40. (Pattern for sure was $25, plastic canvas and wire were purchased for other hat projects, the satin was leftovers from another project, and the flowers had been used at my sister's wedding, but to buy all of those pieces would easily cost the other $15)


  1. It's cute as a button. Plus it's not real historical costuming unless you are sewing buttons on in the car on the way to an event and making a bustle the night before. :)

    1. Thanks! And gosh, it is SO true. I just can't go to an event without making SOMETHING last minute :D


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