Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More French/English Hood exploration

I've been having TOO much fun with these Elizabethan hoods.

By too much fun, I mean that I was up last night till 3:00 finishing this one, just so that I could see how it looked!  All mine have been all black till now, but I had a request for a dark red velvet one, so I did a bunch more portrait research to make sure I knew which parts should/could be red, and where the bling should go and what shapes really exist in the bling pieces....and then i stayed up super late making one.

Here are some shots of the results, on a wig, since at 3:00 AM, I was not photo worthy:

(Click make big on all shots.)

Fabrics are white silk shantung, burgundy red cotton velvet, and black wool crepe.

And Bling.

Really, this whole late-night-hooding came about because I'd ordered some awesome new bling, and I really REEEEELY wanted to try it out to see if it worked the way it did in my head, so I had to make the bling a hat to wear. Like...right then. (Yeah, I know.)

Here's a close-up of the bling, which is made from metalized (gold plated) beads, glass pearls, and these super cool gold metal links with SQUARE glass stones in them.

NOTE: Do you know how hard it is to locate black SQUARE stones in gold settings that can pass for Tudor rather than Victorian?? Do you??

HINT:  It is hard.

 Other than the result, which I have to say, I ADORE, there is another exciting thing about it.

The veil and upper billiment are one piece, separate from the front pieces. They are currently attached, quite securely, with two straight pins.  This means that they are easily removable and could be put on other headpieces to change up the look with minimal investment.

This brings me to the questions of "how might OTHER people want these hats":
  • Should the upper billiment/veil assembly be removable/reusable or does that sound like a failure waiting to happen or maybe too much trouble? 
  • How much design input would YOU want or expect to have if you found a shop (let's just say...MY shop)  at an event selling these? Would you want to pick out all the layers and have me assemble it for you, or would you prefer to simply choose from finished ones on the shelf.
  • Does a BYOB (build-your-own-billiment) station sound like SO much fun to you? Might you want to pick out and string your own billiment beads on a wire if all the bits were there to play with, and it could be ready to be attached to the hood in about half an hour with no glue?? (or should that be a workshop/class instead?)
  • Do you like the idea of keeping ALL the layers separate so that you could mix, match, change styles, decades, colors, billiments, etc and potentially have a wardrobe of pieces to play with, or would you want it all attached so that all you have to do is style your hair and put it on and go?
I'd really love your thoughts on this. I know what sounds like fun to ME - but there may be a difference between what sound like fun and what someone might want to own and wear.

(Plus -I'm kindof super deeply into headwear...and I may not be the NORM)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pleated hat, the first

Sometimes it's easier to just blog about the questions rather than email them.

My customer, (let's call him Joe)  Has a really gorgeous suit, for which he wanted a new hat. After looking for more of the trim he used on the suite, and finding nothing, he sent me the hatband from off the old hat.
This is some gorgeous trim, folks.

However, the piece is a teensy bit too short, and had a stain on it that I couldn't get out. :(

He also sent me some in-CREDible looking gold braid, which matches the golds in the trim really beautifully. I had a piece of chenill-y braid that had the exact base color in it that was needed, but had a navy blue stripe running through it. (Which did NOT work.)
I seamed the trim down the middle,and put the gold braid over the seam, eliminating the navy from the playing field. Here's a closeup of the result:

here's a non-close up of the result, adjacent to the old hatband for color comparison.

We'll see if our Joe likes it or not.

Now. Feathers.
I also have a single, bluish feather, which is only a little bit more "live" than the trim, especially at the tip, which is all I plan to show of it.

Here's a funky sideways shot of the hat, with the suggested trim pinned on, with the feathers propped on, to show how much of the bluish feather shows.

Similarly funky angled shot of feathers without the suggested bluish one.

This is a fun project with some really pretty options.
(It's also the first pleated hat for a customer, and I'm LOVING it, and it won't be the last. So far - no changes needed to the process or materials!)

I also want Joe to take me to where he shops....since it clearly has some fan-tabulous options.
If the chenille band is a no-go - I have other suggestions. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Combining for the bling

I almost named this post "Cool shots of recent random pretty thingies that make me more than a little impressed with the camera capabilities on my cell phone"


A. That had the air of that Vogon poetry classic:  "Ode to a lump of putty I found in my armpit one midsummer morning."
B. I noticed that all three of these shots had something in common: they were all combinations of elements that I put together to make into far groovier bling. Kinda like, you know, the recipes from the food baskets on Chopped but without any canned yucca root.

Item the first:
Request for trim that has the "general air of ermine" but with red in it:
(Haven't heard the customer's reaction yet - but I LOVE it)

Item the second: I picked up the jewelled round thingies at the Beaver Brand hat auction last month. Wasn't sure what I was going to do with them at the time, but now I know. I sure do LOVE the way it came out. I also love that I have these round thingies in about six colors. :) I just added it to a regular gold filigree stamping, and it looks much broochy-er.*  (Broochier? Broochich? more Broochy?)

* My spell check is going to have a PARTY with that one.)

Item the third: Put three very basic elements together to make this really sweet, curveable hatband:

that needed to coordinate-with-but-not-match THIS trim:
Looks like a win, and the customer was very pleased.
I will get to see that one at the Minnesota Renaissance Faire this Sunday. We'll see if we can get an action shot :)

Incedentally, whose spell check doesn't know the word Bling?
(hint: mine)

Anyway - that's all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cavalier Bride hat order

Just got an order for a pretty cool project, and wanted to share it with you.
(no "finished hat" photos in this post - this is just inspiration, concept, colors, and materials - but they are cool :)

My friend Gia did such a great job with the instructions that I wanted to share that, too.
First she sent me the name of the portrait she is using for inspiration for their cavalier themed wedding, so I had an idea of the general look.
Not sharing the link because SOME wedding things should remain a surprise
She said I could blog about the hat, though :)

She also sent me swatches in the mail: a lovely gold damask for the gown and a bunny brown* cotton velvet for the overgown.

*my friend Katherine coined the term "Bunny Brown", and I likes it, so I uses it, but I credits it, too.

The first task was to see what felts I had that would work with her fabrics.
I had nothing that did justice to the gold that had a sizable brim, but was very happy to find two perfect choices to go with the brown velvet.
The dark one is on the left, and the lighter one on the right:

Depending on which way I turned the velvet, the nap read very differently in the light. Above, it is turned so that it looks the darkest. (As I recall from my Alley Theatre costume shop days, we called this 'theatre nap' or, more amusingly "against the kitty.")

Below it is sideways, showing how it matches the dark brown blank in the shadows and the light brown blank in the highlights.

She chose the dark brown fur felt, partially because it boasts an extra-large brim that will be perfect for the style she wants.

Then there were the choices I showed her for the hatband trim: Again - had two good ones:
choice A, which looked lovely with the gold damask and leaned it a little toward olive, which brought some fun feather options into the mix:
And choice B, which was true, non-metallic gold in color, and offered great contrast to the dark blank.

She went with A since the green will coordinate with other outfits of hers in the post-wedding days.

 She asked if the curl of the brim could be at a more forward angle, like in this AWESOME inspiration image:

Uhm - Yes. Definitely.

And if the feathers could be more like in this image (not just on one side):

All of which was so completely helpful for me in knowing exactly what she's looking for. It's going to be one amazing cavalier bridal hat, and I can't wait to start!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Improved French Hood

I thought I would share some shots of my newest model of a French Hood. It's version number, like 9.4 or something.  Because it's black velveteen and black wool (and I certainly didn't have anything resembling decent lighting) I've had to get artsy with the exposure to show you the shapes of the layers. 

 To be honest, I'm still new enough at photoshop that I kinda dig the artsiness.

The layer shapes are based on the hood on this awesome effigy lady, though it's obviously not an absolute replica with regard to the back half.

And the billiment (gold beady thingy) on mine is based on the one in this portrait:

Here's a slightly askew back view - with my new veil "solution", which is I still need to revise....but at least I know HOW I want to revise it. There are two separate pieces on there right now, a wool one and a velvet one - which I need to make into one single fall.
Cool - This artsy exposure really shows off the awesome stripey fabric I used on my gown sleeves :)

And finally, a side view, showing my shocking barbie pink kirtle. (The veil was accidentally tucked into the back of my loose gown. :S
It still passes muster, in my book.

SO - after wearing it for pretty much two days straight, here's the analysis:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Stayed put with NO problems, using only ties under my hair at the back
  • I could HEAR!!
  • Very flattering
  • Based on a number of historical images
  • Does not look Costume-ish. 
  • Quick and simple enough to make, and make well that I actually might add them to my website.
  • Veil solution covers the back of the hair entirely, making it really accessible for people with shorter hair, or who aren't all down with hair braiding/taping, etc.
  • Still a mishmash of historical images - not based on ONE hood.
  • Still have revisions to make to the veil
Hm. I thought there were more cons than that. Awesome. :)

That's all she wrote.