Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fez Friday: I love monkeys

A day early because I'm on the road tomorrow, going up to Portland to visit some (what else) hat stores.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Ho9s Style: Carlotta

Another hat inspired by the most recent photo shoot, this straw hat I'm calling 'Carlotta'.

It's made of balibuntal straw, very high quality material with a beautiful ribbed pattern in the weave.

The cockade is pleasingly huge.

I love the way these turkey feathers form an arc. Hand cut into points.

A band of pleated ribbon is hand-stitched around the edge.

Available now on etsy.

The Making of a Boater

So, last week a stylist friend of mine asked me to make some hats for a photo shoot, and sent along a series of pictures to serve as examples of the chosen 'look' for the shoot. To my delight, the theme was royal portraits, and most of the pictures were from the 18th & 19th centuries. The images she chose were so inspiring to me that I felt supercharged and had a great time making several hats. One of the pictures that struck me most was this one, by the artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788). Titled "A Woman in Blue", the subject was the Duchess of Beaufort, and painted circa 1780.

What I like about it, besides the fabulousness of her enormous hair, is the combination of the white hat, the blue ribbon band, and the curling white feathers. I don't usually go for overtly feminine styles, so it was fun to try on for size. The hat itself is probably a straw, as they were very popular during that time.

It reminded me of this picture, from about 125 years later, when natural colored straw with ostrich feathers were also popular.

But, these hats are a bit soft looking and I wanted something with sharper edges and less fuzz. And what could be sharper, or more dapper, than a boater hat? There's just nothing that says 'summer' like a boater.

A lady cyclist, 1899.

A gondolier, all in summer whites.

And of course, Maurice Chevalier wore his tux with a boater. Why not? He looks smashing.

I'd been wanting to make boaters for a while, but their time just hadn't come yet for me. So, in a flurry of blocking and stitching, I made one each one in white and black, all in one day. Here's how they turned out.

I made this one with a slightly wider brim than usual, which allowed me to give the front of the brim a slight dip. I love it!

I went a bit crazy and added more tails and loops than usual to the cockade.

As you can see, I opted for curled coque feathers instead of the too-fussy ostrich.

Boaters are often made of fairly thick straw or chip, and can sometimes look heavy. I wanted something lighter and more graceful for these hats, so instead I chose a lacy, eyelet-patterned straw. When the light shines through from above, the holes make a beautiful dappled pattern of points of light on your face.

This black one has the same size crown but with a stingier brim. It looks boxier, but the feathers soften it up a bit. I used a combination of emu, ringtail pheasant, and peacock feathers, all dyed black.

Both of these hats are available now on etsy.

I think that, with some alteration in colors to suit the occasion, either of these would be great for bridal. I'm going to make up some all white and ivory samples soon.

Hat of the Week: 'Napoleon' Straw

I'm kind of obsessed with this crazy straw hat. In back it's a simple cap, but the front cocks up, reminiscent of a Napoleonic bicorn. Navy straw braid, with spiral sewn construction. Navy and pink ribbon trim. Makes me want to buy one of those special straw braid sewing machines!

The owner guessed that it was from the 1920s, but in all my years buying & selling vintage I've never seen anything quite like it, so I'm not sure either. However, something about the shape of the cap section, and the fact that it has a thin elastic to hold it on, says late 1930s or early 1940s to me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cocktail hats!

A few ribbon-tastic cocktail hats have just been added to my etsy page.

I'm currently making these and other new styles in bridal colors, so watch for those coming out soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Some One-of-a-Kind hats for sale

I've just finished some new one-of-a-kind hats. Available now on etsy in the following styles.

Capitol Cloche


Metropolis Cloche

See my 'One of a Kind' flickr set for more photos.

New Hat Style: the Ingrid

Announcing a brand new hat style from House of Nines Design.

This vintage inspired ladies fedora is high in front with a slightly dropping brim. Inspired by 1940s film noir, it's the perfect topper for any date with romantic espionage.

Shown here in wine colored long-nap fur felt with a wide black ribbon band and bow, but it can be made in many different color combinations. Available in sizes 21.5-23.

Available now in my etsy shop.