Category Archives: Hats

Super Productivity! Kinda.

So first off, an apology. I’ve been searching WordPress and my own brain for ways to do this, but I can’t figure out how to put a .pdf on a blog post. You know, for patterns. I’m stuck. So for now, I must apologize. I want to share some of the patterns I’ve taken but until I can figure out a way to get them here, un-warped and un-wonky, I can’t. ūüė¶

Other than that disappointment, I’ve been sewing like mad. Mad, I tell you! I just haven’t had the time to blog about it. Or take any nice photos.

Since early January, I’ve made:

1 1910s-1920s velvet hat (HSF Challenge #2: Blue)

1 1918 wool skirt

1 1900s cotton & lace corset cover (HSF Challenge #1: Foundations)

1 1910s linen blouse

1 1910s cotton & lace slip

1 1915-1918 wool jacket

1 silk and (oops) polyester ‚ÄúVotes for Women‚ÄĚ yellow rose brooch

1 early/mid 1920s velvet evening gown (HSF Challenge #3: Stashbusting)

1 pair 1930s wool & leather spats

1 late 1920s tennis (style) dress

… and I’ve begun an 1880s-ish corset.

And as always:

1 huge mess

3 small trash bags of scraps

1 medium sized dent in my vintage button & cloth hoard

1 $15 dent in my wallet (you read that right, BOOYAH)

All the 1917-1920 clothes I meant to make for the April HSF challenge, War & Peace, but I was so excited about them I started and finished them way too early. That¬†worked out all right in the end, though, because I wore them for a women’s suffrage play I was in, with the last-minute addition of the Votes for Women brooch.

I made all these with my 1902 Singer, which felt nice, because I was using antique/accurate tools. Yep, I know, nerdy.

And because I’ve been awful at taking photos of my work, here are just the ones I’ve photographed.¬†I’ll get pictures of everything later.

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I am in LOVE with this hat. I usually can’t find something big enough to fit my hair under, so I made it extra big. It’s got that big/loose hat thing that was going on in the teens and twenties, and I can actually put my hair up under it! Yay!

I made the blouse in the photo above from one of my dad’s worn-out 18th century shirts. It was old and threadbare, so I don’t expect the¬†blouse to hold up well. I’ve already popped a few seams¬†– the fibers just fell apart. That being said, I’m surprised at how nicely the shape came out – the pattern was roughly based on one of my modern Gap button shirts. I’m excited to make another, hopefully in a nice batiste, or something that holds up better to drawn-thread work.

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The corset cover (left) was taken right from my original (right), which is just a tad too small for me – not that I’d wear it. I made it from a thrifted tablecloth, mimicking¬†the design of triangular lace¬†appliqu√©s at the neckline. I love it – it’s comfy and even though the materials and my workmanship are awfully crude compared to the original, it’s the best I’ve ever done with a sewing machine, and I’m happy.

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This is my ’20s evening gown. I wanted it to be kind of generic so I could wear it to events. The idea was to make a semi-fitted slip and to drape the velvet on that, but halfway through planning I realized I didn’t have any cloth for the slip. Being on a frenetic sewing high I made it anyway, substituting ribbon for lining. Now it looks like the dress has interior suspenders. It works nicely considering the velvet’s heavy and hot (it was a curtain! Thanks, Laura Ashley), and a lining would just make it more uncomfortable to wear. It drapes fairly well, too, so I don’t consider it a failure. And it’s super comfy!

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The beading came out okay; it looks better hanging than flat, as above. I made the mistake of putting the beads on too tightly, which messed with the straight Deco lines of the pattern I chose. Live and learn.

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This is my late twenties tennis dress. I made it, again, from a thrifted curtain and a few pieces of red bias tape. I like it; it’s very comfy. When I wore it to work with my re-worked¬†cloche and a blazer it became very early-1930s-sportswear-ish. The dress itself is very basic; sleeveless with a V-neck and the skirt has two huge box pleats at the sides.

Now I’m working on a new era: the mid-late Victorian. I’m starting with a basic corset based on an 1880s example, and I’m hoping that, for now, I can get away with the 1860s with it, too. After that comes all the rest of the underpinnings and gowns and hats and shoes and stuff, which will be … challenging. I have one long-term project, a 1900-1920s beaded purse which will take me a year, conservatively, to bead fully. It’s about 40% done right now, and I’m slowly working away at it. Good stuff!


Old Photos

I went out into the frigid coldness, just to get out and do something, and wound up at an antique mall. Oops. I came back with a stack of 1880s-1920s photographs for very little. Huzzah! So here they are. All except one are undated, with no notes at all. So have fun imagining who these people were.

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This woman is just so fabulous – the anti-flapper. I love her (tiny!) shoes, with the added, contrasting strap, and her long necklace, a nod to one fashion of the day, and a stereotype decades later. Her hat is just too cool, too – I think it’s got a wire frame, you can make it out under the brim. She’s here to tell us that not everybody was a skinny jitterbugging flapper, and that’s awesome. This photo is dated July 4, 1923 – if she is¬†about 60 years old here, she was a baby during the Civil War. Think of the things she saw.

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I dare you to find a photo of stronger, more independent, capable looking women. I love them – a range of ages, possibly¬†all related, probably sometime between 1919 and 1923-ish. The two younger women have dresses to die for – look at the sitting woman’s sleeves. Ugh. Want.¬†What I really like is the variation in fashion here. Take off those thick-rimmed¬†glasses for the portrait? Nope. Crazy flapper eye makeup? Nope. Bobbed hair? Nah, I’m just going to wrap my 4 feet of Gibson Girl leftovers around my head in a braid (see the two younger women) – or just keep wearing my ca. 1905 poufy thing (the seated older woman). This undated photo is one of my favorites. I want to high-five them all.

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That mustache. Oh my gosh, that mustache. First came the ‘stache, then the ‘stache grew a man as a support system, so it could wear awesome ties and generally be the definition of ‘dapper’. Undated, but taken in a photography studio in Wilmington, DE.

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This poor woman looks like she’s drowning in her own dress. Mid-1890s, taken in Wilmington, DE.

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He shot the sheriff, but he didn’t shoot the deputy … haha. If I had half a chance I’d wear that jacket of his. How cool is that contrasting binding? Undated, from Wilmington, DE.

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She’s so pretty. If you look closely, you can see she has a little tiny watch pocket on the front of her dress, and a little tiny watch in it. Probably early 1890s, from Wilmington, DE.

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Probably from the 1890s – I think this might be a second photo of the poor woman who was being suffocated by her dress, above. Wilmington, DE.

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Wilmington, DE, probably 1880s-1900. This is one tough looking woman.

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Aww, a little baby, looking kind of lost propped up on that big chair. This photo’s also from Wilmington, DE, but as baby’s clothing isn’t easily date-able, I have no idea when it’s from. Sometime between the 1880s and 1910s, at the most.


A new hat

I’ve been holding back my sewing appetite because I’ve had other things to do, but yesterday, I lost the fight and it resulted in a 1910s hat.

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Me doing my not-smiling thing, and my brand-new super suffragette velvet hat. I made it from a few bits of used cotton velvet, a couple pieces of canvas for stiffening/lining, and a length of narrow metal boning for the brims’ shape. I winged it; I didn’t have a pattern, and I had super luck making it, so I probably won’t be able to pull it off again. You know how those things work.

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The brim: just a loop of boning with a loop of velvet folded over.

 

 

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The sides; a wide strip of canvas folded in half lengthwise, and a somewhat wider strip of velvet pleated and sewn down to the canvas.

 

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Sides and brim, ready to be sewn together

 

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Pinning/sewing the sides to the brim.

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Inside out, sewing the top to the sides. This was later covered with a bit of that stripy material. I did completely hand-sew it, I could have used the machine on about half of it, but the rest was really better finished by hand. The visible basting stitches were an oversight that I might re-do later.

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And hat! Needs some feathers/flowers/stuff. It’s very comfy.

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It’s kind of like this purple number from The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Click here for the item description.

And finally, yeah, I made it on a whim and I have nowhere to wear it. I’d love to make a whole suit/outfit to go with it. I have some more velvet and a lot more of the cool stripy lining material. Maybe.

 

 

 


Tomorrow = 20 days

I didn’t expect to be so busy with school this month, so writing a blog post had to be delayed. But I’ve been sewing for short amounts of time every so often, and I’ve gotten a lot¬†more done!

1) The bodiced/un-bodiced petticoat hasn’t been altered yet; I guess I got bored,

2) My printed blue cotton dress is now¬†finished; I added hooks & eyes to the back (not my original plan, and not how the original closed, but now it’s wearable),

3) I made a nice white linen chemisette with cotton lace trim,

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I eyeballed this from the earliest, simplest, documented chemisette I could find. It’s probably most accurate for 1800-1815. The collar doesn’t really fall the way the original did. I really wanted a dorset button for the closure under the collar, but I couldn’t find my button¬†stash at the time. If I find it I’ll upgrade from this mismatched hook & eye.

4) I’ve gotten about¬†halfway done with that 1760s waistcoat I began a little while back,

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It’s wrinkly and saggy on my tiny hanger, but look at that wool. It’s black with a white diaper pattern woven in, and it’s gorgeous. The rest of the waistcoat is made from some of the nicest linen I’ve ever found. I’m really excited for how it’s turning out!

5) because I wanted a cool hat, I made a small, green linen calash,

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I dyed linen green, and I chucked a¬†spool of linen thread in the dye too – but of course it didn’t take color¬†so well, so I had to Sharpie the thread darker later. And I didn’t take enough photos of the process, but the body of the calash is basically a rectangle with a number of metal bones running through it, and the ends of that are gathered to a binding. The back is a teardrop shape, boned, and the calash body is gathered to that.

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Finished! It’s not perfect but it’s cool. It turned out a little too small; the ridges touch the top of my head. I also made it too long, so I had to add thread stops inside to keep it from extending fully. Right now it has icky polyester ribbons, but I want to get some nice silk ones for it soon.

6) and because I don’t know when to stop, I decided that I need a nice comfy pair of half-boned 1780s stays. They’d be better for the events I do, which involve setting up displays and then sitting for hours¬†on end – something my fully boned 1740s/60s stays aren’t so nice for. I haven’t taken scissors to cloth yet, though, I’m still thinking about how to do those. Later.

 

And finally, a¬†tiny life hack. I needed to shape and pad out this mannequin a lot to photograph¬†my¬†1880s bodice, and my epiphany was to use old shoulder pads. I pinned them to the mannequin making sure the pin heads were flush. They really helped puff out the tails. I’m thinking of making some ‘for real’, with nice cotton and fiberfill.

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I’m baaack!

I finally got WordPress working again, after it was glitchy for over a week. This past week, my 4-year old MacBook decided it was time to start acting geriatric and have a little meltdown, but it looks like it’s gotten over itself for the time being. Yay, I now have computing abilities again!!

So, STUFF has been happening. My awesome mom picked up a few things for my collection: a 1890s shirtwaist, a turn-of-the-century baby dress, a 1950s purse, a 1890s girl’s dress, and three 1960s dresses. How cool is that? I’m working on the first two items, which I’ve been able to look at. I’m getting around to writing detailed blog post on those, but until then here’s the shirtwaist, paired with my 1850s-1870s Quaker bonnet.

10455822_10203984176273056_703664233068884189_nThe kitchen turned out to be the best-lit room in the house … yeah whatever. And yeah, the two pieces are decades apart; I’m just so excited to have vaguely similar pieces to almost make into kind-of outfits that they’re close enough for my brain right now!

 


Where was I?

Work, volunteering, and sleep, basically – and an embarrassing number of hours went to playing Minecraft. Oh well, you’ve gotta have something to make those New Year’s resolutions about.

I’ve also been putting more time into my collection, though nothing really monumental has been happening. I added a handful of 18th-19th century sleeve buttons and an awesome almost-complete 2nd century Roman fibula. The textile items that are in the collection already have been taking turns chilling in the freezer. Last week I spent a few hours taking better pictures of some of the items.

In honor of Anchorman 2 - a 1970s burgundy woman's pantsuit, two pieces of double-knit polyester goodness. Shown with suede heeled loafers, 1970s.

In honor of Anchorman 2, a woman’s burgundy pantsuit from the 1970s. Two pieces of double-knit polyester goodness. Shown with suede heeled loafers, 1970s.

A Dan Lee Coture chiffon dress, 1970s, with the 1970s merrimac fur hat I wrote about in an earlier post.

A Dan Lee Couture chiffon dress, 1970s, with the 1970s  hat I wrote about in an earlier post.

I also began to do some research on some pieces. I was doing well until I got to this tie.

So how old is it?

So how old is it?

It’s wide – about 4″ – so I figured it was 1970s. I began to doubt that when I did research on the label, though. It was made and sold by the Coffman-Fisher Company Department Store, which operated from sometime in the 1920s until probably the 1960s or 70s; I can’t find more info. That made me wonder if the tie was older – say 1930s/40s, the other wide-tie era. The font used on the tie looks 1930s.

Well, how to tell? I didn’t have the tie with me, but I had some rough measurements and an internet connection. Turns out that 1930s-40s ties were as wide as 1970s ties (4″ wide or so), but they were about 10″ shorter. 1970s ties are about as long as modern ones: 58-60″ long. So my tie, measuring about 4″ wide by 54″ long, is closer to 1930s-40s dimensions than 1970s, if my research is accurate.

So is it from the 1930s or 1940s? I’m not completely convinced yet. I’ll see where more research leads, which with the way I’ve been able to stick to tasks, I’ll get around to sometime in 2016.¬† : P

 

 

 


The Fashion Institute of Technology Museum: A Queer History of Fashion & RetroSpective – a review

I just got back from a visit to Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, where I was able to walk through the galleries and see the two exhibits now on display, A Queer History of Fashion and RetroSpective. Both are free to the public and open until January 4, 2014 and November 16, 2013, respectively.

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Here’s the link to FIT’s museum website, below. Again, it’s ugly because I haven’t learned how to make it pretty yet.

http://www.fitnyc.edu/13666.asp

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk

A look at clothing both created and worn by members of the LGBTQ communities over the past 300+ years, this is an interesting and discussion-sparking exhibit.

Focusing mostly on designer clothing from 1960 to the present, this exhibit offers a lot of information. It’s also well-planned and well-lit, so that almost every piece can be easily seen. Many outfits are semi-hidden behind others, but that speaks to the sheer volume of how many things there are to see. There are clothes from a scattering of the top names of the past century – fashion designers, movie stars, artists and more.

The one thing that disappointed me was the 18th century portion of the exhibit. It includes a 1790s suit, a banyan, and a truly horrible ‘Mollie’ outfit made from a reproduction chemise, a Renaissance Fair corset made from black sparkly brocade, and original shoes, quilted petticoat and red wool cloak.

From my research on gender-bending clothing of the 18th century, I’ve found that an outfit like this was simply not worn in public by anybody other than, possibly, a prostitute. In general, 18th c. LBGTQ people had to hide their true selves almost constantly, because simply being LBGTQ was a crime in a lot of places. Wearing something like this would be to wave a red flag in the face of a bull – not that it would make people immediately think “homosexual”, but the outfit would immediately bring to mind the 18th century debate on the desired tightness and completeness of women’s clothing and how it reflected their morals. Anybody, male or female, who wore an outfit like this would be immediately marked as “morally loose”,¬† and in 18th century thinking, that wasn’t a far cry from homosexual.

The label did not describe any of this, and didn’t offer information such as where such an outfit would be worn (England, America, France) which could have been crucial in interpreting it. And of course, there is the added problem of the cringe-worthy reproduction clothing.

Finally, the exhibit does not mention two of the most iconic gender-bending outfits there were in the 18th century: the riding habit and the redingote. These garments were a big part of gay and lesbian issues in the late 18th century. While I can understand that the museum possibly did not have originals to put on display, perhaps a picture or discussion could have been included.

I give this exhibit a 9/10. This exhibit presents an awesome topic and illustrates it with outstanding examples of clothing (expect for the 18th century portion). I highly recommend it.

RetroSpective

This exhibit focuses on revivals of fashion elements such as the bustle, hoop skirts and ’empire’ style gowns.

This exhibit is stunningly comprehensive. There are so many garments, accessories and textiles on display that each topic is supported by multiple examples. The exhibit is well laid out and each topic (say, ‘bustles’ or ‘panniers’) is given its own little nook, which makes comprehension of the ideas presented easy. Movies on clothing from the times adds another dimension to the exhibit, and guided tours are available as well.

Most of the clothing is presented somewhat poorly. The exhibit is quite dark where the older clothing is; too dark to see basic details like buttons, embroidery or seams. In addition to the darkness, putting the clothing in ‘nooks’ means that they can only be viewed from one angle. When I tried to lean in a little to see the garments, I set off alarms and was told off by a security guard.

Oops.

I didn’t think that this exhibit was very inspired. The topic of fashion revivals is old, and the exhibit brings nothing new to the discussion except a presentation of the usual topics. There is not a lot of information offered on the labels simply because the exhibit does not stir the waters of this topic: it only skims the surface. I would have loved the exhibit to go into the deeper questions of why fashion goes into revivals, and the way these revivals reflect what’s going on in the culture at the time.

I give it a 7/10. This exhibit is great for visitors with a casual interest in fashion, and since it’s free, it’s a great way to kill half an hour. If you go, don’t expect to learn a lot from it, and don’t expect to be able to see the older garments very clearly.

I’d love to hear others’ reactions to these exhibits. Have you seen them? What did you think?


A 1790s Redingote for Fall

So pretty!

I’ve always been in love with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art‘s Woman’s Redingote, attributed to Europe, 1790s. It’s just superb. The tailoring is impeccable – I love the high collar and the button tails down the back. The textile is, let’s face it, pretty ugly on it’s own – but made into the redingote, it’s awesome.

Yeah, the link for it is right below. I’m still learning this WordPress stuff; I can’t make it look pretty yet.

http://collections.lacma.org/node/206270

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About a year and a half ago I bought some lightweight brown wool. It drapes beautifully, and I originally wanted to make a nice, practical 1740s work dress from it. Something with pleated cuffs and a shorter skirt.

But to hell with practicality. I wanted a redingote more.

I didn’t have a pattern; I draped the back and loosely based the front on a caraco in Patterns of Fashion. Years ago, I adapted this pattern to fit me, and since then I’ve been using pretty much the same one, tweaked a little, for every gown and jacket I make. Not the best way to do things, but until I get a dress form and can drape, it’s the status quo.

Looking back, I made some mistakes. I was ‘guesstimating’ most of the construction without ever seeing the original. I cut my collar in one straight piece, which makes it wrinkle awkwardly. If I was going to do it again (which I would love to do) I’d copy a collar from a man’s suit of the time – one with a seam down the back, and the pieces angled.

Also, I only learned after I had finished mine that the original was made with a separate bodice front inside, which laces or buttons (I know this by hearsay, never saw it … ūüė¶ ) which keeps the strain off of the buttons in front. I didn’t make mine with that, but I think I can adapt what I’ve got to accommodate it. I think the under-bodice system would also keep the redingote in place; it tends to pull up in front because of the weight of the skirt at the back. I am also thinking of putting a piece of boning or two down the center back to get that smooth curve.

My redingote

My redingote – please excuse the non-1790s hair.

I copied some details from the original redingote. Others I took from prints of the time: a trained skirt, long sleeves, the straight edge at the bottom front, and the double-breasted front. Because it’s double-breasted, I had some fitting issues around the lapels – they aren’t as wide as the original’s are, and they don’t fold as nicely.

I made the entire redingote from 100% brown wool, and it’s lined with white linen and faced with glazed peach chintz. The buttons are brass. The whole thing is hand sewn with linen thread.

My redingote, back

My redingote, back

It’s been 90% finished for a year or so. The trained skirt is unlined at the moment, so the wool picks up EVERYTHING I walk over … leaves, sticks, you name it … it’s annoying. I think if I line it it will keep it from picking things up, but I’m not sure exactly how to do it. If I line it halfway up, I’ll get an awkward seam line across the width of the skirt. If I decide to line it all the way up, I have to figure out how to attach the lining at the top. I may just cut the trained part off and level it like the original. That being said, the train is so much fun to wear!

Hat, 1790s

An original hat, 1790s – the sort of thing I wanted to wear with my redingote.

Hat Reproduction

Hat repro, half-made … and a poor attempt at frizzing my hair. I later added white and peach ribbons to the front of the hat.

Though it’s not completed, I wore it last year to the Market Fair in Dover, DE. I wore it with my horrible reproduction hat I made from wool and a few quarts of wood glue (I don’t recommend that). Even though the hat sucked, I got something awesome out of it – I had my portrait done with a camera obscura.

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Well, as I say in my title, it’s for fall and fall is certainly here. I’m thinking of wearing it again for an upcoming Market Fair. The theme is more colonial at this event, but I don’t have anything warm to wear for a date before 1790. Maybe I will make something – or at least have a nicer hat for the redingote made by then … stay tuned.


Freezing a Hat

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I can’t put it more bluntly than that!

I mentioned in a previous post that I had a velour hat from the 1970s that had become a snack for bugs. I’d heard that freezing garments will kill bugs in them, so I figured that this hat was a good candidate – better to practice on less expensive items before I try it on more collectible or older things.

And better to practice in any case, because freezing things just sounds weird.

Step One: Put the garment in two VERY tightly closed bags – they should be airtight. Squeeze out all the air you can before sealing. Label so family members know they can’t eat it for dinner.

Bagged and ready to go

Bagged and ready to go

Step Two: Wait two weeks. (cue Jeopardy music)

Step Three: Take the thing out of the freezer. Allow to return to ambient temperatures by letting it sit a day before opening.

Step Four: Panic because you see water droplets inside the bag, and get worried that it will become moldy in a 24 hour period. Open before it’s warmed up.

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So the bags weren’t as airtight as I thought … or, more likely, the air was humid when I bagged the hat.

Step Five: Realize it got crushed and attempt to get the thing back into it’s original shape.

The white specks are dust and dead bugs.

The white specks are dust and dead bugs. Huzzah, it worked.

Step Six: Enjoy the freshly bug-free thing!

Yay!

Yay! Also note the beautiful and professional hat stand … LOL.

Freezing this hat worked perfectly: I found dead bugs on it after I took it out of the bags. Now that I know this method works, I have more things to freeze, starting with some wool sweaters.


Fashion & Sheet Music, 1910s

I have access to a hoard of old sheet music, and since I don’t play anything anymore, I’m using it for other purposes. I’m finding the covers a nice resource for looking at women’s hair, hats, makeup and clothes. They’re great examples of designs of the times – some of these are so evocative of the year(s) they were printed.

So I’ve listed a bunch of the oldest ones below. I don’t know all their dates. The earliest dated one is 1908, and they go up to about 1920. If I knew the date I added it below – I’ll add the rest at a later point. I’ll also add all the ones from about 1920-1930 in a new post. Those are pretty neat, too.

Okay, I’m not going to write a lot about them, here they are!

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Now that’s a HAT.

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I love her dress.

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1909

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WW1

WW1

WW1

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1918 (?)

1908

1915

1915

1912

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