Monday, 30 December 2019

1815 High Crown Hat - Margot Hill

Pattern: The 1815 Ladies' hat, produced in 1/8th scale in The Evolution of Fashion, by Margot Hill and Peter Bucknell

Fabric/Materials: 100% silk taffeta, black. Heavy weight cotton buckram. Cotton flannel for mull.

This style hat perches on the head rather than fitting down snug, so sizing is really OSFA adults.

The hat is made with a base of heavy cotton buckram, double layer. The frame is wired around the brim, the top and bottom of the crown, and vertically around the crown in 5 places. The outer fabric, lining, and ribbon ties are all the same black silk taffeta. A decorate black rope is fixed around the crown and tied in a bow at the back.

The hat is entirely hand stitched. I only used glue to apply the flannel mull layers to the buckram, which is historically accurate.
The Pattern
For those unfamiliar with The Evolution of Fashion, it is a very succinct book organized into noticeably divided fashion "eras." Depending on how quickly fashion was changing, it could a century break or a decade. Each time period is given a line illustration on the right, with one page of information on the left, followed by two pages of 1/8" scale pattern pieces for the men's and women's costumes.


(Above) cropped images of the 1815 illustration and corresponding pattern pieces for the hat. As you can see, the final result of the hat is pretty close. I would say the illustration gives the impression that the crown is wider at the top than at the base, which does not pan out in the actual pattern. But, other than that, it's pretty close.

When scaling up patterns from such a wide grade as 1/8th, you should expect some sizing flaws. Just using a pen with a too thick point can add 3/4 of inch to your final pieces. So, I recommend making up a heavy paper or cardboard mockup first just to be sure all your pieces will meet up properly. Or you can measure the connecting areas with a string and compare.

All of my changes were corrections to the upgrade, as mentioned above. Upon my first draft, the crown ended up being an inch too narrow to meet up properly with the brim. This meant the crown was also too narrow to fit the crown top properly. It was a simple correction, just expanding the crown width to fit.

Also, the brim ended up being slightly asymmetrical. Call it a flaw in the printing, I suppose. I recommend drafting half of the brim, then just cutting it as a mirror to make sure both sides are even. 

The Hill book contains no assembly instructions at all. They assume anyone using the pieces to make actual garments is already skilled in using pieces with no markings or guide. As I have made hats before, I was able to use the three pieces just to get the shape right. Everything else having to do with hat construction--wiring the brim, applying mull, drafting the gathered lining, etc.--I learned from using hat pattern by Lynn McMasters. They come with very detailed instructions and are great for someone getting into buckram hat making.


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