Since my cap seems to have vanished to parts unknown (and I know what I'LL be doing tomorrow), it was time to finally get around to trimming one of the hats I bought at Colonial Williamsburg last year. My problem with these hats was twofold. One, they're ENORMOUS. Like Sunbonnet Sue enormous. And two, the crown is too high - they look like modern gardening hats. So I knew they were going to need some surgery. Rather than making do, I decided to try some major surgery. Fortunately, the straw in these is just chain stitched together and taking them apart wasn't too bad. I started with the brim and just kept taking coils off until I liked it, then re-knotted the thread to keep it from pulling out any further. Then, emboldened by my success, I cut off the crown completely and repeated the process until it was about half as high as it had been, then spliced it back in and stitched it down by hand. And, miraculously, it WORKED!
These are two side-by-side comparisons of the unaltered hat and the altered one. I like mine much better, don't you?
The pleating on the crown is from this Threads tutorial and it turned out nicely. The ribbon is 1 inch wide striped acetate from M&J Trimmings, pleated into 5/8" box pleats by hand and then the "box" part of each pleat has a tiny stitch in the center of it holding both selvages in. The brim is bound in the same ribbon, and I used it for the ties as well. All told, I used about 5 yards.
For the Historical Sew-Fortnightly:
The Challenge: #6 Stripes
Fabric: Straw hat, striped ribbon
Year: 18th century
Notions: Thread, scissors, needle.
How historically accurate is it? Not bad, although the ribbon is synthetic
Hours to complete: About 5
First worn: Colonial Williamsburg 2013
Total cost: about $40