Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Steampunk Chapeau

Forgive me dear friends, for having been away for so long. The whirlwind that is university has started once again, and my time has been spent running from desk to library, library to desk, and back again... But! I have found time to add a little more steam to my life.

You may remember from a previous post, that I purchased a lovely top hat a few weeks ago. Well, I finally got around to making a suitably Steampunk hatband for it. Here's the finished result:

Before I even began making the band, I had decided that I wanted it to be detachable in order to allow me to switch between bands in different colours, so as to be able to coordinate with whatever outfit I happen to be wearing. To do this I simply added two small press studs to either end of the green jute ribbon, allowing me to remove and reattach the band at will. This particular band is designed to go with a fabulous, emerald-coloured underbust corset I have. After rummaging through a local craft store in search of anything and everything green, I bought a couple of large peacock feathers to add a little drama. Their colours complement the jute ribbon and copper wire perfectly, and although they are rather ostentatious, they have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I like to show off... *whistles innocently*

The wire wrapped metal washer was actually something I found lying around - literally. It was shining on the pavement one sunny May day, and having picked it up and brought it home, it's been lying in a drawer for months. In order to make it more Steampunk-esque, I wrapped thin copper jewellery wire around it; covering approximately one-third of the circle, with a small amount on the opposite side to add a little 'visual balance'. Using the washer to obscure the join in the hatband, I looped several strands of good, strong thread through the wires on the back and sewed it directly to the ribbon itself. To further hide the ends of the jute ribbon, I made a few loops of garden wire and wraped some strands of the leftover jute ribbon around them to create a kind of 'avant-garde accoutrement' which I placed poking out from behind the metal washer as a finishing touch.

I'm so pleased it turned out well, as it was an absolute nightmare to make. Having never done any kind of millinery work before, I approached it from completely the wrong angle in terms of construction. I attached the feathers last, despite their being behind the metalwork (an elementary mistake, my dear Watson). I had to significantly change my plans to wire-wrap the washer. Dust and fibres from the jute ribbon covered the hat in a light green film, which I then had to pick off by hand. Coupled with this, a staggering amount of university work, meant that I also ended up making it at 1am...

However, for all its faults, in retrospect, making it is probably the single most useful lesson in 'how not to do it' I've ever had. A lesson extremely well learned, believe you me.