Making a Hat From a Bigger Hat – 2

October was insane.  I had a two week extension on a deadline for a picnic dress, and I still almost didn’t get it done.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the even at all, except I had a concert in Dallas the night before I was not going to miss.  All in all, the ensemble turned out nice:
The ins and outs of this dress were legion, so much so it killed most of my writing/blogging time over the past few months. The most I can say about it is… make sure you cut your skirt panels the right length for your height!
Anyway, it needed a hat.  A cool hat.  Something tall.  A nice late Victorian walking hat.
But I’m lazy.  And time-pressed.  And breaking out the buckram did not sound like fun.
So I tried something new, and it worked pretty well.  I also got more photos of this hat than the last one, so I think we can consider this a proper tutorial!  Best of all, it’s completely made with items you can buy at the big box stores.

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Making a Hat From a Bigger Hat

When I started on my 1880s polonaise, I knew I needed a bonnet.  I also knew I didn’t have much time – two weeks is an eyeblink when you’re trying to deal with millinery.  I needed something fast, quick, and period appropriate, so I turned to the straw hat stash in the craft closet.  
(Yes, I have a straw hat stash.  For reasons exactly like this.  You never know when you’re going to need one!)
And it turned out pretty good!
Easy, fun, and period correct!  And the best part is, I did this without any special supplies at all.  Including the time it took to block and stiffen, this was a three day project (a day to block, a day to stiffen, and about six-seven hours to finish up). 
Below the break is a sort-of tutorial on how I made this bonnet.  I do apologize for the paucity of photos; I had very little time to get this done!

Fun With Apportioning Rulers – Bodices

I’ve been so busy this month I’ve barely paid this blog any attention at all.  And to make matters worse, my computer died on me.  Ugh.

Anyway, we’re finally clawing our way out of the summer humidity here in Texas, so it’s time to prep for fall and winter costuming events.  In honor of that, and also because I’ve finally got a semi-steady paycheck after over a year of unemployment and contract work, I bought myself a copy of Frances Grimble’s Bustle Fashions 1885-1889.  I’ve heard some good things about this book, and for the number of patterns you get, it’s an excellent price.

Also, I’ve been perusing the National Garment Cutters available online, and wanted to understand the secret of these apportioning rulers. They seem like mysterious, secretive things, but at the same time, they seem like a geometric solution to pattern making. I’m all about geometry in sewing.

I figured these would be some super complicated tool that required in depth, detailed instructions to put together and use, but as it turns out, they’re literally just rulers.  Rulers with different units than a normal ruler.

In other words: ratios.

(Although Grimble has multiple books on the subject, many of the National Garment Cutter books are available online for free, so I do not consider this breaking any kind of copyright.  It’s publicly available, which is another reason why this is so cool!)

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Afternoon Yoked Petticoat

I like doing things the “right” way.  Hemming by hand, stroking my gathers, proper seam finishes, blind stitching waistbands, all that jazz.  In fact, petticoats have proven to be a great place to practice skills like that.

However, I’m also a quilter.

The days of piecing together little tiny blocks by hand are long gone.  We live in the age of rotary cutters and jelly rolls.  Quilters, by nature, are constantly on the prowl for the next creative way to cut corners without sacrificing the structural integrity of the finished product.  And that brings me back to petticoats.

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