1780’s Plumed Straw Hat

Patterns Used:
– Inspiration from this painting.
– Feather tutorial from Lynn McMasters.

Fabrics Used:
– Silk taffeta for hat band.

Other Materials Used:
Straw hat from Jas. Townsend.
– Six ostrich plumes.

All hand sewn.

I’m still learning how to trim hats, but thankfully between practice and some tutorials online, I’m at least managing to get things to work enough for now.

I almost went with a simpler hat, but I didn’t know if I would ever get the chance to have a little fun with feathers. I also saw the painting from above, and loved it.

The hat itself is a basic high-crowned straw hat. I needed to stick to a tighter budget since I was buying so many feathers, so this $9 hat was a great choice! I steamed and shaped the brim to add a little dip here and a bend there.

I ended up getting feathers that were a little longer than I expected.

Each plume is made up of two feathers. I used Lynn’s tutorial on sewing the feathers together all down the shaft. There are two blue plumes, and one white plume. Once they were sewn together, I used a dinner knife to help gently bend the shafts into an arch. I used an iron with steam to make the fronds fall forward.

I attached the silk hat band to the hat at the lower front edge to help keep it in place, then I stitched each plume in place. Once that was finished, I simply tied the hat band in a bow. I wanted to keep it easy to remove in case I didn’t like the width of the band.

Unfortunately, I was having wig trouble (the hat is heavy, so I need to sew a comb to the front edge of my wig to help keep it in place), and I didn’t realize I’d put the hat on slightly sideways.

Still, it was nice to have something “new” to wear to a recent event. I’d already worn the chemise a la reine a few times, but this was the first time I finally had a hat to go with it!


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