Making hats is one of my greatest pleasures. It turns out that I am from various lines of women who were either milliners or amateur hat makers, and as there have been deaths I have inherited quantities of antique lace, wax fruit, exotic feathers (shhh!) and half finished projects.
Over the years I have revived several vintage wedding dresses, either belonging to ancestors or from markets. This is the first in a line of hats which come from a bygone era, yet are comfortable and flattering to wear – steering well clear of fancy dress territory.
We all associate the cloche, i.e. bell shaped, hat with the 1920s. Well, this is the bridal version. A turned up brim was optional, as were the layers of frills and flounces, but they all fitted closely to the head and framed the face in a flattering way. Floral decoration ear muff style was common, and the veil would descend symmetrically from these points. Sometimes the headdress would be nothing more than a giant veil laid across the forehead and tamed at the ears. A little blousey for modern tastes, if you ask me.
Using a disintegrating lace cap from a box of Edwardian oddments I made a pattern for this hat. The main shape is from 2 pieces of vintage cotton lace hand sewn and blocked to form a good shape. The brim is lightly wired for silhouette and a piece of more elaborate trim stitched where the brim turns up. The floral decorations are made of cut motifs from the main lace stitched together so they have some texture, mounted on a rosette of trim. They are pinned on so it is still possible to wear a veil in the period style.
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