Vernet 1814: Hat

The next piece of the puzzle might just give it all away.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, I suppose.  Let's take a look at my Vernet fashion plate hat, beginning with some fashion plate inspiration (Vernet not included, of course.)

The shape of the Vernet hat could have been interpreted two ways.  The body of the hat could have either been dome shaped, or circular with a flat ramp on the the top.  After much trial and error, and a strong desire to give up, I decided on the flat, ramp-like shape.  Both shapes can be found in contemporary fashion plates.  See below:

1811 Costume Parisiens
Dome-shaped- Center column, row 1 and 2. Right column, row 2
Flat top- Left column, row 1 and 3. Center column, row 3. Right column, row 1 and 4.

1811 Costume Parisiens
Dome-shaped- Left column, row 3. Center column, row 1, 2, and 4. Right column, row 1 and 4.
Flat top- Left column, row 2. Center column, row 3 and 5. Right column, row 2.

1813 Costume Parisiens
Dome-shaped- Left column, row 1. Center column, row 2. Right column, row 1, 2 and 3.
Flat top- Left column, row 2. 

Also...because of the ostrich feathers, the hat in the Left column, row 3 could either be domed or flat!  This small, uncertain hat, was a huge inspiration for the shape of my Chapeau de Levantine (Silk satin hat) with ostrich feathers!  

Please forgive me if my description is not perfect...a milliner I am not.  I have done my very best to be historically accurate with the shape, material, and construction of the hat.  I found myself many times during this process wishing that this was a gown, or chemise, or reticule, or glove, or anything other than a hat.  I'll never say never, but I do hope that this is the last hat I make.

I started by making a small, doll-sized, paper hat.  This helped me to understand the scale and construction of the different pattern pieces I would be using to make the hat. The tabs are important for holding together the individual pieces that make up the whole.  The same tab technique was used on the real hat.

The brim and the side of the side of the crown of the hat were made of buckram, and the flat top was made of a light-weight cardboard.  The tabs from the brim and the flat top, fit inside of the crown. It is not shown, but I stitched a wire around the outside edge of the brim, and along the top edge of the crown, in order to hold the shape of the hat.  Each pieces was individually covered with silk before assembling the whole hat.  The secret to getting the silk to be smooth is glue...use a glue stick on the buckram/cardboard, and then lay the silk on carefully.

Salmon pink silk-satin was used for the exterior of the crown, and for both sides of the brim.  Pink linen was used for the lining.  After each piece was covered with the silk-satin, I attached the pieces together with a hidden stitch.  The lining was put in last. The brim turned out a little flimsy, and if I were to do it over again (which I won't) I would use a hardier, more stiff buckram for this part.

I gently curled each feather using the back of my scissors, and I made a base out of a wire coat hanger and some of the left over silk-satin.  Then, I stitched each feather onto the base.  The base is can be shaped to allow the feathers to fall forward over the crown of the hat.  It is also easily tacked onto the back of the hat for removal later on, if I decide to change the decorations on my hat.

Silk ribbon was added as trim, and a chin strap was sewn on one side, which closes with two hooks and eyes on the other.

Feathers were attached, and the hat was done!

If there ever was such a thing as a labor of love, this Chapeau de Levantine is it.  I don't even like myself in hats...but I love the Vernet project!  So, there you have it!  C'est fini!


Sue Haney said…
Thank you for showing how the feathers are attached. I know what you mean about hats being a labor of love- I just made one myself and it took hours!

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