Monday, 6 May 2013

The wasp hat is done!

For the first time ever, a sewing project took less time to finish than I expected.
I stripped all the cotton padding off the legs and covered them again with just the velvet.
The finished wasp. No more tarantula legs.
 I took a whole bunch of pictures of the wasp against a white background. Alas, though they looked fine on the little camera screen, they all turned out blurry. It didn't photograph outside very well either.
Here is the inspiration hat.
Velvet dinner toque, ca. 1912. The Met.
And here is the one I made.
Part of the Met's description says:

"Although the velvet appears to be draped in a casual and carefree way, it is in fact painstakingly manipulated over a complicated wired foundation to create a specific form."

I made the base for my hat out of the base from the grey fur hat that I used in my striped muff.
It's made of a fishing line like filament.
I pulled it into shape using wires and and cotton yarn.
Hat skeleton.
It didn't look quite crumpled enough after I covered it, so I pulled the folds in closer with more yarn.
It doesn't look as casually draped as the original, but it's close enough.
The fin-like projections on top have wires in them too. It was really hard to get them to stand upright.
They weren't very stable on the bottoms and kept flopping over when I was sewing them on. It would have been better if I had made the bases wider.
I lined it in a dark pink satin. I'm trying to use up my least favorite materials in places where they won't be seen. This is the same lining construction that I saw in both fur hats.
It is not quite this pink.
I like this hat. I like the way it looks, and I like the fact that it adds 7 inches to my height(I'm not short, I just like tall hats).

The wasp didn't look quite right sitting up there all alone, so I filled out the space with a tuft of almost black fur, which also counts as Fauna.
My only major complaint is that the mesh structure was a bit more fragile than I expected. Some of the little filaments broke and were poking through the fabric. Little prickles in velvet are not nice. I think I've trimmed them all off, but more of them could still break.

List Of Facts

The Challenge: #9, Flora and Fauna

Fabric: A large portion of the front of the bodice of an ugly synthetic velvet dress and a small piece of synthetic pink satin.

Pattern: No pattern. Just draping. Except the fins, which I drew with chalk.

Notions: Approximately 26" of nylon bias tape, a mesh form from a fur hat, an unknown length of  wire, some green cotton yarn, a few small scraps of cotton quilt batting, a small piece of extremely fluffy fur from another hat and about half a teaspoon of very tiny seed beads.

Year: The Met says 1912, but after looking at a lot of fashion illustrations I think it might be a bit later. The hats seem to be bigger and floofier at the beginning of the 1910's and get smaller and more simple towards the second half of the decade.

How historically accurate is it? Not too bad. The general silhouette of the hat is correct and the look of the fabrics is accurate, although most of the materials are synthetic, which is not so good. I don't have any documentation for wire wasps, but there were certainly bugs in Edwardian fashion. I have seen many antique clothing articles that included bits of wire wrapped around and around with thread(Hooks and eyes, for example) and a wasp like this one could have easily been made from the materials available in 1912.

Hours to complete: Unknown. I did most of the work on the wasp over a year ago and I didn't keep track of the hours. I just remember that the wings were horribly tedious because I formed them before I covered them, so I had to pull an enormous length of thread through the wing with every single wrap.

First worn:  Today.(Monday, may 6th, 2013)

Total cost: $0. Every single material was from my stash. A lot of it was left over, or recycled, from something else.

I apologize for not having any good pictures of the finished wasp. In every picture I took the beads turned into fuzzy spots of light, this thing just doesn't photograph well.
My eyes are squinting because there is too much sunshine. I must obtain a parasol.
Now I'll have to sew some more Edwardian stuff, yay!
I have got a black, beaded, tiered cape that I'm planning on reproducing someday. I think it's from around the same era. I shall have to do a post on it.

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