And so it begins. I had the silk purchased for the hat. I had the concept sketch done for the hat. I had the pile of peacock feathers which inspired this whole project. The time has come to put them all together.
I started by laying out the feathers on the cardboard base to see exactly how many I would need. I cut them to length and left the rest of the shaft in tact. I plan on pulling off the rest of the barbs and using them for a portion of the Masquerade ball mask and possible additional embellishment on the hat.
Wasn't exactly sure which color of the silk to use where. I wanted the whole peacock theme to tie together with the hat. Two colors would be the base which would be underneath the feathers. The other two colors would be the square surface which would sit on top of the feathers.
I tried laying out the colors side by side to determine which colors paired up the best. Ultimately I decided to put the blue/purple together and brown/green together. I wanted the center of the hat to be darker and similar in appearance to the center of the "eye" of the peacock feather.
What you don't see is that I stitched a piece of wool over the cardboard to cover the edge. Had to use a leather need to pierce the cardboard and wool more easily. When that was finished I hand sewed for panes together and then tacked them down with pins on the bottom. This view is going to be the top of the hat.
Here is the bottom portion of the hat. I gathered the panes in equal (as equal as possible) intervals and pinned them in place.
After the silk was sufficiently tight across the opening I trimmed the excess material off. I then moved the pins about a little and tightened some up to make sure that I was happy with the overall spread of the folds.
I started sewing through all of the layers. Had to use a very heavy needle, heavy leather thimble and still ended up with very sore fingers. I stitched the folds down through the cardboard using a back stitch. Wanted to get enough layers of heavy cotton thread through to hold it all into place so that I could remove the rest of the opening in the center.
I cut the center open all the way through and then added some more stitching to ensure that the silk would not run, split, rip etc. Before progressing it was time to look at myself in the mirror. I really hate photos taken in the bathroom mirror, but my daughter wasn't around. Yup. That is a HUGE hat.
I took a piece of wool from the same coat used for the doublet and used it to fill in the center hole. The hole is not nearly as large as a "normal" hat. The platter had really only sits on the crown of your head and so fitting this portion was really tricky and a bit odd. I stretched the wool a bit into a dome like shape and kept moving pins around to hold it in place and I stretched, shaped, pinned, unpinned and pulled and stretched again... Eventually I ended up with a smooth dome like shape which was ready to be permanently fastened to the hat.
Here is the top of the dome. Yes, my camera sucks and the color of the silk seems to change as I photo from one room to the next with and without a flash. Oh well.
Yup, still fits. Now ready to add a bit of a "rim". Not sure what this is called, but I've seen them on wood cuts. Just wanted to add a bit of the same "roping" effect I used on the doublet to tie the look together. I wanted the hat to be brighter, so I used the same effect but with the mint colored line this time. Before I could do that I had to role three layers of wool together to make the band. I pulled and shaped this band from a straight hem off the jacket. Pinning was key to hold it all in place. I didn't want any bias cut on this as I didn't want the band to stretch or change shape as I was rolling it.
Started stitching it all down with the very heavy cotton "thread" which is really a light string. Was going well except for the fact that it was 2:00 in the AM and I was tired. Had spent about 10 hours on this hat during the day. I know it doesn't look like that much work, but all the silk was hand sewn and there is a lot of pondering time to create something like this from scratch. Nobody can say I don't bleed for my work. I ended the day stabbing myself for the third time in about 30 minutes. This one was a good stab which quickly made a small mess of the hat. Ick. I have blood on most of my hand sew projects, but this was a bad one. Still hurts now, a few days later.