Calling this a demo might be a bit optimistic, since I don’t seem to have as many pictures lying around in iPhoto as I remember taking, but what the heck? ;) (Frankly, it just feels good to take a minute and write again. Who needs content?) Anyhoo… This is a fast and easy way to make a decently regency looking bonnet, a la Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.
It’s a sad commentary about my life that I am sitting here in mid-December still trying to finish writing all the demos I did photo work for during 1776 last spring. Life’s been a little crazy lately. Great/fantastic/amazing (grantasticazing?), but crazy. Anyhoo… One of life’s great mysteries seems to be “How do you alter a hat?” I’ve talked about straws, which are basically a “just add water” operation. Reblocking felts is slightly more
dangerous exciting, because you get to play with steam. Ready?
Not all feathers are created equal. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. You go to the craft store, looking to feather your cap with some amazing, lush plumage, and you find yourself confronted with an array of vacuum sealed ostrich plumes straight out of Flatland. So, what can you do?
The world is full of straw hats. They are almost never the size and shape you’d like them to be. (That’s a known effect of the Law of Universal Irony, along with how the thread already in the needle is never a color that will work for your current purposes.) Fortunately, reblocking a straw hat is pretty gosh darned simple.
This is one of my favorite Elizabethan era hats. It has style and panache, and it’s often completely over-the-top in stature. You can pull the wired brim into a lovely arc, which has always seemed to me to be the Millinery equivelent of a raised eyebrow. It’s a smart hat, extremely suited to the prosperous merchants and casual nobles. Women should be careful to make this hat a bit small, so it sits on the hair rather than the head and allows the caul to be seen.
The Floppy Pleated Hat, which I’ve heard called a ‘Muffin Cap’ is a hat comprised of a Soft Brim and a Pleated Crown. When made from a softer fabric, this hat has a very unstructured look apprpriate to lower class characters. From stiffer fabric, as above, it’s a rather charming style formiddle class characters trying to make their fortunes.
"Floppy Toque" is not the correct name for this hat. I don’t know what is. It’s a slightly untidy look that’s great for characters who are a little down on their luck, generally dishevelled, countrified, or who generally wish to convey that "aiming for fashion but missing" appeal. The following instructions assume that you have already made your Basic Brim Patterns. If you have not, you’ll want to follow the link and do so.
The Toque was a popular style in Spain and Italy. (Hence, “Spanish Toque” and “Italien Bonnet”.)
This is a smart little cap for characters in the middle class and beyond. It can be work alone, over a simple coif, or for women, over a caul. Again, ladies (especially of higher rank) will want to make this cap a little smaller so that it sits on the hair rather than the head. It looks much more dainty that way.