Thursday, December 8, 2016

Heavenly Hats for Winter 1940-41

Two guaranteed to put stars in your off-the-face silhouette in beaver (top) and a manipulated ruffled brim in velour. Both from Luxor Hat Co., New York.

A marvelous tilt topper with dramatic side feather from Alfreda, New York.

A charming little tilt from Vogue Hats by Garfunkel, New York.

Source:  The Millinery Monitor, October 1940.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hats for the Zodiac

The prediction is important sales figures for these marvelous Moonglow felts from Salfair, Inc., New York. They were available in Black, Brown, Wine, Gold, Vernon Green, Soldier Blue, Plum, and Red. Here are four styles that were featured in the October 1940 issue of the Millinery Monitor, a trade publication devoted solely to ideas for the sale of millinery.

Style # 267 - Virgo

Style # 264 - Libra

Style # 260 - Sagittarius

Style # 257 - Capricorn

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lecie Originals

Fall, 1943
Fall, 1946
Fall, 1942
Fall, 1946

Lecie Originals was a division of Rosenthal Ackerman Millinery Company, St. Louis/New York.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Repurposing a Found Object to Make a Felt Fashion Doll Hat

Miss Gene Marshall

This delightful 1950's era lampshade style hat was made from wool felt molded over a found this case, an old vinegar bottle. You can easily make stylish hats for your favorite miniature diva by using simple objects as a hat block.

The first thing you'll need is an appropriate bottle for your hat. You might just find the perfect one in your kitchen or bathroom. If not, check out the beauty and skincare aisle at your local drugstore or even the condiment aisle at the market. Make sure the bottle is long enough to allow for the felt to stretch down, and that it is the same size or smaller than your doll's head. If necessary, you can pad a smaller bottle with muslin or felt to make it larger. The 16 oz. vinegar bottle used in this tutorial measures 4 1/4" around the cap and 6 1/4" around the "brim".

Additional supplies needed:
A good quality wool felt.  I used a 9" x 11" piece.
Rubber band
Saran Wrap
Steam iron or steamer
Press cloth
Assorted ribbon and trim

Step 1.  Prepare the "hat block" by covering the bottle with foil. Cover the foil with saran wrap.

Step 2:  Thoroughly wet felt under the faucet with hot water, stretching the felt in all directions. This will loosen the fibers and make it easier to stretch and smooth. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Center the felt over the bottle, smooth down sides and secure with a rubber band. Begin pulling and smoothing excess felt below the rubber band until it is smooth and wrinkle-free above the rubber band. Take your time. Once you are satisfied with the results, let it dry for a least 24-hours. Tip: To make sure the "crown" remained well-defined as it dried, I wrapped a piece of saran wrap firmly around the cap and secured with a small piece of scotch tape as shown above.

Step 3:  Once dry, remove the rubber band, and take the hat off of the bottle. With scissors, trim just above the indention line created by the rubber band.

Step 4:  Determine the desired width of the brim. Turn under the excess amount. This will clean finish the inside of the hat and give support to the brim. Place your hat back on the "hat block". Cover with a press cloth and steam the brim. Let dry thoroughly. You are now ready to trim your new hat.

Phoenix Gene Marshall wears Smart Set from Ashton Drake.
Portfolio from Mattel.

Here is a simple alternative for finishing the edge of the brim:

Trim the edge with scissors to the desired finished width. You can use dressmaker's chalk or even painter's tape as a cutting guide if needed. I find the hat is easier to mark when left on the "hat block". Soften the cut edge of the felt by lightly sanding with the finer side of an emery board. Click HERE to see a variation of Gene's lampshade style hat using this finishing technique.

Wool felt is available from Edinburgh Imports, Inc.
The Art of Making Miniature Millinery by Timothy Alberts, Hobby House Press, Inc.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Getting a Head Start on Fall

Joan Crawford
Starred for fall success, Miss Crawford tops her travel suit with a dashing asymmetric wool felt charmer from The Couture Touch. The unusual-shaped, high crown is accented with a magnificent spray of feathers tucked into a grosgrain band. Circa 1940.

Joan Crawford
"Arrival at Port" grey wool suit with "fur" sleeve detailing is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection. Gloves are from Debora West. Cigarette holder is from Mystyna. Awards Night Joan Crawford is from Robert Tonner for the 2009 Hollywood Ahoy/Sandra Stillwell convention.

Here are three more perfectly tailored toppers for 1940....

Mrs Blackburne at the Australian Doomben race meeting, 1940.
Photo courtesy

August 1940
Photo courtesy

March 1940
Photo courtesy

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Madra Lord's New Hat

Madra Lord
Miss Lord tops her sharply tailored 1940's ensemble with a spicy new hat to flatter even the most discriminating diva. Inspired by an illustration from a German pattern book, the small brimmed, felt hat features a high open crown to accommodate a marvelous feather spray. Silk tweed jerkin, hat, and color-blocked suede guantlet gloves are from The Couture Touch. Pinstriped shirt is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection. Black skirt is from Sandra Stillwell, and the clutch is from Madame Alexander. The restyled "Siren in the Night" Madra Lord, enhanced with an Integrity articulated body, is from Ashton Drake.

Illustration from "Der Goldene Schnitt",

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Asian-Inspired Spring Hat for Gene Marshall & Friends

An Easy DIY Project.

Pearls and Pink Ivy Jordan

The Asian conical or "coolie" style hat is simple to make and oh so chic! This versatile topper is the perfect complement for dresses and suits, as well as casual and beach wear. Here's what you will need:

5 inch square lightweight fashion fabric
5 inch square lining fabric
5 inch square buckram
Circle template (For this tutorial, I used a Gene Marshall stand from Integrity)
Marking tool
Straight pins
Sewing needle
Thread to match fabric
Double Fold Bias Tape
Tape measure
Assorted trims (millinery florals, pre-made bows, feathers, etc)
Glue to attach trims (I like Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives)

fig.1 - Cut one circle each of fashion fabric, lining fabric, and buckram using your circle template. Cut a slit to the center of the circle in the buckram piece only as shown above.

fig.2 - Place the fashion fabric over the buckram with the outer edges aligned and pin. To clean finish the back slit, smooth the fabric over one side of the cut edge of the buckram as shown above and overlap 1-5/8 inches. Secure with a pin.

fig.3 - With matching thread, stab stitch along the back seam close to the edge and going all the way through to the underside catching the buckram to secure. Baste close to the edge of the circle. The stitches will be covered with the bias tape.

fig.4 - Insert the lining to the underside of the hat and overlap to fit, keeping edges aligned. Baste close to the edge as shown above.

fig.5 - Apply bias tape as shown and slip stitch in place. For a neat finish at the back seam, fold ends of bias tape under 1/4". Turn the hat over and repeat. You are now ready to embellish your hat as desired.

Here are two more variations.....
Color Deal Ivy Jordan
Miss Jordan wears a navy and white cotton gingham conical hat edged with navy double fold bias tape, accented with a second row of the bias tape and two small flowers.  Hat and matching gloves are from The Couture Touch. Coral jewelry is from D.A.E. Originals, and the handbag is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection. Ladies Who Launch 2-piece ensemble is from Integrity.

Caribbean Kiss Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall goes for drama in a conical hat of Aida cloth typically used for cross-stitch embroidery. The binding was made from plaid flannel using a bias tape maker. The crown is embellished with a circle of green velvet wired trim accented with floral trim and millinery leaves. Hat, dress and necklace are from The Couture Touch, gloves are from Ashton Drake. Fur muff and bracelet are from Integrity.

Need more inspiration?
Actress Gene Price wearing a straw conical hat topped with brightly 
colored nasturtiums, circa 1939.
Photo courtesy 1930's Fashion, The Definitive Sourcebook.

From Australian Woman's Weekly, 1954.
Photo courtesy Tanith Rowan.

Delightful straw topper with black coiled trim.

For more on this delightful Asian-inspired hat style, click HERE.

Photo Credits:

Pearls and Pink Ivy Jordan and Color Deal Ivy Jordan are from Integrity.
Pearls and Pink Ivy wears an OOAK ensemble from The Couture Touch.
Caribbean Kiss Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Hat for the New Year

What better way to start a new year than with a new hat!  Barbie refreshes her black and white checked "Walking Suit" with a delightful harlequin-style hat from The Couture Touch. Necklace and Scottie dog are from Joshard. The Walking Suit Barbie doll is from Mattel's Silkstone Fashion Model Collection.