Oriental Plum Blossom Fascinator
I have always loved Oriental brocade fabrics and have collected quite a few to use on hats and fascinators. However, many are colors not normal in the simple spectrum of colors offered in feathers, which is why I began experimenting with dyeing them. If interested, you can see these experiments under tutorials.
For this piece I had to dye all the feathers but in the process of doing so, I once again felt the thrill of being a designer.
This is my chosen fabric which the shade of color is between plum and a deep fuchsia. It is beautiful and mindful of what the wearer will wear with it; I chose to add black as the second color. All the lady needs is to put this with a little black dress and she will be the belle of the ball.
Oriental brocade fabrics shine and are quite lovely. However, they do tend to fray and stretch if used wrongly so you have to gain experience from working with them. This design reminded me of plum blossoms, hence the name I chose for this fascinator.
I mixed two Rit dyes together to dye these coque feathers, the first was one purple and one wine and the second one purple and one petal pink. Both worked well but I preferred the first mixed with wine. I then dyed the biot feathers with one purple and one wine to match. The photo above shows one feather where I removed the lower fluff and one where I didn’t. To get the design I wanted, I removed all the lower fluff from all the feathers.
I normally do not use a flash when I shoot the photographs for my blogs because it tends to flare too much light. However, I could not get the color to show up without doing so. Here you can see an up close photo which really brings all the elements of design to light. I made my feather pad as always, separately from the fascinator base and I laid the biot feathers behind the coque feathers. I used six biots in all but brought one downwards after I curled it in a circle. I used a black lace motif that already had black seed beads but I wanted to add more color so I hand sewed a few plum colored seed beads to the finished piece. Not too much, not too little!
Once again I used the flash to show you how the biot and coque feathers work well with the Oriental fabric.
I have mentioned before that I was married in Singapore in 1970 and when our daughter was four years old, (1976) we went back for a second contract for my husband’s work. It was there, in the stores where I walked around admiring and touching the beautiful fabrics from China and Bankok Thailand. At that time you never saw them offered in fabric stores in either England or America, so for me it was a thrill to see them. However, we lived on a tight budget and I couldn’t afford any, and all I could do was wish. It was from my vast education from living in other countries and exploring other cultures, I gained both insight and a love of what they all had to offer. It is these experiences that bring design into my mind today.
When I finished this piece and took it to show my daughter, she said “Wow, that’s beautiful”. That summed it up for me. I don’t think women have enough glamour and romance in their lives these days and I want my hats and fascinators to make them feel both. Each piece for me is a work of art and I pour my heart and soul into them. I hope the wearer will feel all the love and joy that I feel when making them.
I turned the flash off once again to give you a realistic view of the true color. Natural colored Coque feathers are shaded and often have stripes, so when they are dyed, they give varying grades of color. These and biot feathers are my favorite feathers to work with.