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Friday, April 26, 2013

This is Cloche to my heart

While there is a lot of interesting information on the web about what types of hats suit which types of face, personally I just try them on to see if I think they suit me.
If it's a vintage hat it needs to be big enough for you to try on and a good number of hats may be too small. But hats can be resized as well as retrimmed and generally refurbished. Which is why I am now refurbishing a late 20s/early 30s black horsehair cloche that has the most adorable old lace brim. 
As it's been stored for years it has fold lines and the crown is all pointy.
It also has a very floppy brim, in fact, it's far floppier than it looks in this picture because it's supported by a hatblock with a brim. It was probably intended to be that way but since I don't look good in a floppy brim,  I've decided to give it some body. 
First I removed the 'sweatband' from inside and applied some gentle steam through a thick towel to the crown and left it  for a few days and it's vastly improved.  I might do it again just to ensure it's set.

But for now I'm working on that very floppy lace brim. (Sorry the photos aren't great but I took them with the phone.)
Initially I tried using clear line (like fishing line) but it doesn't mould so it really needed to be wire. Which meant more challenges to overcome. Good thing I like a challenge. 
Cotton covered millinery wire comes in either white or black. Both of which would show up like a sore thumb through the lace. 
So I watered down some brown dye and did some tests - after three very pale coats I have millinery wire that pretty much disappears under the lace! Yay!
I may also have to wire around the side wings of the black horsehair to get the right slant on the brim! Fussyboots aren't I!  
But I figure a hat that is almost 100 years old deserves all the respect and care I can give it.
Now I have the wire pinned in place under the lace. 

Fingers crossed it will work.  
I found an identical hat on a google search - it was listed with the term Mam'selle - whether this was a label in it or not I don't know.  Mine didn't have a label.
I'll post some photos once it's finished. I'll also try to get some photos of the construction of the hat which is pretty fascinating in itself.