Thursday, June 25, 2015

Decorating Straw Hats for Gene Marshall & Madra Lord

Photo courtesy

Trimming a straw hat can be as simple as some ribbon and flowers, or as elaborate as you like including feathers, veiling, buttons, bows, birds, leaves, and fruit. Straw can even be dyed, painted, embroidered or appliqued. With a little imagination, a basic straw hat can easily be transformed into a chic and sophisticated topper.

Here's an easy DIY project to take your favorite miniature diva from Spring to Summer to Fall. Straw doll hats can be purchased at your local craft store, or you can utilize straw hats you already own. For this tutorial, I used hats from some of my Fashion Royalty, Barbie, and other 1/6 scale dolls. The scale works perfectly for Miss Marshall's (and Miss Lord's) vintage-inspired hats.

From left to right:  An unidentified 1/6 scale straw hat, a red straw hat from a small antique reproduction doll, and the hat from Mattel's "Country Bound" Silkstone Barbie ensemble. All of the original trim has been removed. In addition to your hat, you will need scissors, needle and thread and/or glue (I like Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives), assorted ribbons and trims.

Gene Marshall
With the drama of pairing black with natural straw, the hat from Barbie's "Country Bound" fashion takes a detour to city chic. Double-Fold Bias Tape was used to trim the hat. A tiny black suede bow finishes the back. The trim was applied using a needle and matching thread or you could use glue. Miss Marshall added a black jersey bandeau to wear underneath the hat. Pin-striped suit is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection, blouse is from Integrity, and gloves are from Ashton Drake.

Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall updates the two-piece jacket and dress ensemble from Ashton Drake's "Sunday Afternoon" with a smart and sassy red straw hat accented with a 5/8" wide navy grosgrain ribbon, navy vintage veiling, and miniature fruit recycled from an old hat. Navy handbag is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

Madra Lord
The side of the original straw hat now becomes the front of Miss Lord's new, perfectly shaped, 1930's-style topper. The striped band was made by applying two widths of ribbon recycled from Ashton Drake's ribbon-tie shoes to a 3/8" wide black grosgrain ribbon. For the custom band, apply a thin line of Fabri-Tac glue to the grosgrain ribbon using a straight pin. Place the narrow ribbon on top of your glue line and smooth it with your finger. For a secure bond, cover with a stack of books for approximately 24 hours. The trim was attached to the hat with needle and matching thread, and accented with a few beads. OOAK suit and gauntlet gloves are from The Couture Touch, scarf is from Mattel, handbag is from Ashton Drake.

Need more inspiration? Here are a few more vintage hats from around the web.

Lamp shade style hat with florals encircling the crown.
Photo courtesy

At first glance, I thought this might be a bias-strip of floral fabric.
At closer look, it's flowers and leaves covering the entire brim.
Fabric ruched and tacked to the brim might be interesting.

A unique treatment of ribbon. Circa 1940's. Photo courtesy Polyvore.

Interesting placement of the green velvet ribbon. Photo courtesy

Fabulous embroidered straw hat courtesy
You could also use ready-made appliques, or paint your own design with fabric paint.

Credits and Resources:

For resources and detailed directions on binding the edge of a hat with bias binding, CLICK HERE.

"Blue Fox" Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.
"C'est Moi" Madra Lord is from Integrity.
"Symphony in G" Gene Marshall, enhanced with an Integrity articulated body, is from Ashton Drake.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Unusual Straw Hats

A dramatic "Bee-Keeper" style straw hat by John Fredericks, circa 1940's. Photos courtesy

Adolpho Straw Hat, circa late 1940's courtesy

Fantastical black straw bird and feather topper created by Mildred of Detroit, late 1930's. Photo courtesy

Delightful bicorne straw hats created for Christian Lacroix, Summer, 1989. Photo courtesy

Henri Bendel 1930's silk jersey and straw cocktail hat from the Museum at FIT.

Fabulous 1940's leaf-embellished straw tilt in black and natural. Photo courtesy

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Experiment in Straw

Inspired by a noted French fashion designer, the milliners at The Couture Touch have been hard at work experimenting with straw to create new fashionable toppers for the stars of Monolithic Studios.

Gene Marshall
For a publicity shoot, Gene Marshall wears the sleek, striped suit originally worn by Madra Lord in the 1940 film "She Went to Rio". Miss Marshall tops the Adrian-inspired suit with a fabulous straw hat from The Couture Touch. Suit and gloves are from Ashton Drake. Fur is from miniature furrier PD Root.

The inspiration for Miss Marshall's hat was this marvelous Elsa Schiaparelli cellophane straw hat, circa 1939. Illustration courtesy

Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall, on location for her new film, wears a dramatic version of this whimsical topper. The black lacquered straw with red and turquoise stripe detailing along with red and black beaded suede gauntlet gloves and coordinating handbag complement this late 1930's suit ensemble. Hat, gloves and skirt are from The Couture Touch. Red jacket is borrowed from J'Adore Gene Marshall and is accented with a floral jabot (originally an Ashton Drake hair ornament). The original buttons on the jacket were updated. Handbag is from Sandra Stillwell.

Ivy Jordan
While scouting a new location for Miss Marshall's new film, director Ivy Jordan wears a smart, basic black dress topped with a fabulous burgundy suede hat with a crown of black straw. A narrow black grosgrain band artfully holds a single black feather. Dress, gloves, handbag, and earrings are from Ashton Drake. Hat and brooch are from The Couture Touch.


Symphony in G Gene Marshall, enhanced with an Integrity articulated body, is from Ashton Drake.
Phoenix Gene Marshall, sporting a chic wig from Monique, is from JamieShow.
Color Deal Ivy Jordan is from Integrity.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Straw Hats: Not Just for the Beach

Ahh....Summer!   Does it evoke images of a warm, lazy afternoon relaxing on a beach or by the pool looking every inch the starlet in your favorite bathing suit and glamorous floppy-brimmed straw hat?

Carole Lombard photo courtesy jbrvintagerevolution

But straw hats aren't just for the beach. They can be chic and sophisticated toppers for fabulous daytime frocks and smart suits. They come in all manner of styles and trimmings, and can easily transition from Spring to Summer to Fall.

Photo courtesy

Join us this month as Chapeaux à la Mode celebrates the glorious straw hat.

From the author's personal collection, a unique natural straw tilt topper accented with a navy grosgrain bow and bandeau. Labeled Kay Wagner, Barbizon-Plaza Hotel, New York. Circa 1940's.

A delight of black raffia straw that points to a pair of peach feather cockades. Labeled Dolly Varden, California, circa 1940's. From the author's personal collection.

1940's natural straw tilt accented with the drama of black grosgrain trim and veiling. Not labeled. From the author's personal collection.

1940's black straw tilt with unusual pearl trimmed ribbon.
Photo courtesy

1940's cream tilt courtesy

1930's black straw with rope and ribbon detailing.
Photo courtesy

Bernice Charles straw tilt, circa 1940 courtesy

For more styles of straw hats from the author's personal collection, CLICK HERE