Sometimes there are things so beautiful that we cannot help, as craftspeople, to want to make them ourselves. We become afflicted with this syndrome, and run off to learn how to do these things, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing.
I would consider historical sewing one of these things, in a large way. How many of you can recall the first time you saw a historical gown (at a faire, a dance, some event), and felt the salivatory glands in your mouth go into overdrive and your heart begin to thump, and some insane part of your brain begin to exude dopamine and lock into place an overwhelming, primal urge to MAKE THAT DRESS? Yesssss….
I have recently experienced that special craving in relation to another area of costuming: hats. We all love hats, but I’m sure we can agree that they’re HARD to MAKE! There are two ways to make a hat; sewing it, or blocking it. Sewing hats seems the most comprehensible to people who regularly sew. We get some pieces, we sew them together, out pops a hat. It is by no means simple, though, takes many experiments, materials, and lots of time. I’m proud of the couple of hats I’ve made in the past, but something has always been missing, and that is the beautiful, curvaceous design of a perfectly blocked felt hat.
Not too long ago I came across House of Nines Design, a blog about hatting. Tricia makes the most INCREDIBLE hats I’ve ever seen! I can’t afford one to save my life, though I’d buy them all tomorrow if I could! In addition to the blocked hats, she makes insane ribbon cockades, with feathers too, and lace, and veils, and oh it just almost HURTS to look at them!
I never quite know what switch in the brain it is that turns on (or off?) and causes me to want to MAKE MY OWN instead of buy. Surely the cost of learning to make these kinds of hats will greatly exceed the cost of buying a perfect one, already made. Still, I am so intrigued that I must try it in some way, at least, especially after reading Two Nerdy History Girls’ article on What Made the Mad Hatter Mad. Anything to do with fur and dead things always excites me anyway 🙂
At any rate, I shall keep you updated on my adventures in hatting (and failures, of course!). And hey, maybe some mini tricorn hats and ribbon cockades will come out this!