This is a small project I made to complement the turn-of-the-century walking suit I was wearing at Fintage's fashion show in Vapriikki last Sunday. The suit's jacket has rather wide mutton sleeves, so it needed a wide-ish brim hat to go with it. As many of you probably know, findind an edwardian hat is rather difficult, so I decided to try to customize a repro one out of some other hat.
I have noticed I have difficulties finding hats that fit (even modern ones), so my best hope was to find one made of felt, which can if needed be made larger to fit me. Lassi found this 1950's vintage zorro-style felt hat from a thrift store called Fida, and it instantly felt like a good candidate. The poor hat was never top quality to begin with, and the felt was a bit broken in some places, so it actually felt like a good idea to recycle it.
I also used some scrap fabric pieces from the local fabric store Eurokangas, one cotton velvet and two different kinds of silk satin in different shades of brown. I must say I'm absolutely in love with the darker shade of brown satin! The weaving is crazy tight (it's actually entirely made of just emerald green and beige threads, but you would never believe it until you actually cut the fabric), and the texture is absolutely delightful. On top of that, I also got to use one of the vintage milliner feathers Lassi found in our latest fleamarket trip to Urjala.
The first thing the hat needed was of course to be made a bit bigger, which is usually rather easy if you have the right tools. Unluckily enough I don't, but my dear friend Tiitta Räsänen works at the Opera House in Helsinki and got it stretched for me <3
The next thing that needed to be done was shaping the hat into a bit more of an edwardian shape. My main concern was making the hat wider, because the original hat was longer than wider, and I wanted it to have a rounder brim. Again, I lacked the right tools for it, but I decided to try to use some water and an iron, and this is what I came up with. In the begining I was planning to hide the folded edges of the brim at the front/back of the hat, but after having a look at it I decided I actually quite liked them and decided to keep them.
As I already mentioned the hat wasn't in a prime condition, so I decided to add some wire to the brim's edge to make it sturdier. I didn't have milliner's wire at home, but I did have some wire leftovers from some other crafts I've worked on in the past, so I decided to use that. The felt being rather frail though, I opted to secure the wire to the brim by using some leftover satin ribbon I had at home. It started to feel like a new hat even before I was done with securing the wire!
So far I had basically just molded the hat into the right shape, and made it sturdy enough for wearing. The next step was to actually start making it look pretty! I started by adding the cotton velvet fabric on top, and trying to make it nicely wrinkly in order to hide the uneven surface I got from shaping the hat with an iron, it quite worked! And then added the nice dark brown silk satin underneath, trying to also wrinkle it nicely to fit the period's style.
At this point all I had left what the "fun" part, a.k.a. decorating! I did some research looking at hat catalogues and ads from that period, and came up with the conclusion that it was all about: feathers, big ribbons and flowers. In the begining I was planning to use a combination of all three of them, but unluckily enough I didn't manage to find appropiate flowers in Helsinki (the colour you need is never in season! :-D ), so I decided to stick to the big bow and feathers. For the bow I used mostly the beige silk satin (which is in truth less pink than it looks like on the pictures), whith small details in the dark brown silk satin. I had mixed feelings about whether I should iron the silk before doing this or not, and in the end I decided not to, since edwardian hats I've seen always look a bit shabby and wrinkly. Still not sure about it though, I might still iron it at some point.
The last missing details were adding a brown cotton trim to the edge of the brim and adding the feathers, for which I used one of the vintage black feathers that had a nice curvy shape, and one big fluffy brown ostrich feather I had left from the feathers I ordered for my upcoming burlesque act (more on that some other time!). The outcome was a nice discreet hat (for edwardian standards, I didn't want to go too over-the-top with this one) that seemed to fit the outfit it was meant for quite nicely. I will add a picture of the full outfit as soon as Atelieri O. Haapala publish the pictures they took during the event, but until then here you go a few pictures of the outcome: