Flamboyant Feather Top Hat

Flamboyant Feather Top Hat

I wanted to do a different technique to trim this tall top hat and use an assortment of feathers that stood out and yet became part of the design. This hat has all the bells and whistles of an extraordinary top hat design.

My inspiration for this piece was some beautiful eyelash fabric in a black and brown tiger stripe design. It was some left over fabric from a robe I made for my daughter as a gift, and I had put it with my hat fabrics because I loved it. You will see a close-up of the fabric in a moment but to explain how I work when covering a hat, I look through some fabric and feathers and put together a small pile of coordinating elements and then decide what the piece will look like as I go. Sometimes I use them all, sometimes I don’t. I do not work from sketches and prefer working from the vision in my head

Think outside the box.
You may have many left over fabrics you love that you would like to use on a hat, but they could be too lightweight or fabrics that would not normally lend themselves to covering a hat. I never look at a fabric and decide it will not work. I put it aside and then think about it until an idea takes place in my mind, of how I can use it. The following fabric is one of those.

My millinery blogs have now surpassed two hundred and the purpose for me writing a blog has always been to keep a diary of my journey as a milliner and share some of my experiences with other would be milliners. I have always thought outside the box and a few months ago I picked up some upholstery cord at a fabric store for an idea I could see in my head. You can see the strange looking cord on the right side of the picture. This cord is about one inch thick and is a soft fiber cord used to edge pillows with a second color. On the left side is the inside of the tiger stripe eyelash fabric and I showed this side so that you can see that I cut it diagonally on the bias, with enough width to wrap around the cord, plus some extra.

I pinned the fabric around the cord, right side out.

I then sewed it over the cord using my sewing machine. Please note that you cannot sew around a cord without it wrinkling unless you cut it on the boas. Now you can see the long eyelash hairs sticking out and I had to watch it did not get caught up in my needle.

Now I had a sausage. I made two of these, one a bit long than around the edge of the crown and the other to go around the edge of the brim.

I covered the top of the crown and brim first with black velvet fabric. Then I added these ‘sausages’ to the edge of both the brim and crown before finishing covering the rest of the hat.

I wanted to add to my black and brown theme and I had this wide faux sculpted black and brown leather and fur trim. Two rounds of trim would not cover the height of the vamp, so I put one round at the top and another at the bottom, then one around the center. The trim I called sculpted because the fur is raised above the faux leather in a pattern. It is a very unique trim and this piece shows you how to think of trims in a different way as well as fabrics. It was the perfect complement to the eyelash fabric.

For the tall feathers I laid together three feathers to see how I liked them. These would be seen from the front of the hat and would complement the fabrics I used to cover the hat and add more interest. I lay down a brown ostrich feather, then a black one I had stripped and curled to one side and on top a tall pheasant feather. I knew this part of the feather pad was perfect, so I sewed them on to the back of my hat. It is important to do all the sewing of trims on your hat before you line it so that you can cover your stitches.

The feathers became an instant part of the hat design.

I then made a small feather pad for the back of the hat using a few pheasant wing feathers. I liked it but not the bare center spine of the brown ostrich feather, so before adding it to my hat, I found a perfect guinea tail feather, that covered the bare spine and added even more interest. To complete the back I went through my jewelry pieces and found this one that my sister Norma sent me recently. I did not want to match the colors exactly with the jewelry piece because it would have been lost under the large feather display, but this one worked well and stood out so I sewed it on to the feather pad and attached it all to the back of the hat.

Now you can see how it all works together.

This side view shows you how everything is working well together and I was satisfied. I then added a rolled elastic strap that goes under the hair at the back and then lined the hat to finish it.

Another side view to show you how all the types of feathers add to the hat design.

If you are interested in making your own hat the pattern and tutorial is available for $19.95.


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