Historically, hats have always been trimmed in a variety of different ways. Flowers and feathers were very common trimmings, but artificial fruits, ribbon, lace and different types of fabric also were frequently used.
It is always a puzzle to me to figure out exactly how different trimmings were made, and my task this week was to come up with something for a bonnet that I am finishing.
I decided that a ribbon flower was what was needed and my inspiration was a fashion plate printed in 1817 in Journal des Dames et des Modes. I liked the look of the several flowery-looking (or maybe bow-looking) things in this picture, which are additionally adorned with feathers. Here are my efforts!
Step One: Take the ribbon and fold it to make the first petal. Here I have used two contrasting layers of ribbon that have been laid on top of each other. Gather the petal at the base.
Step Two: The second petal can be done in the same way, leaving about an inch of space between them.
Step Three: Keep going in the same way until you have the number of petals you want. I wanted a flower with four petals.
Step Four: Arrange the petals in the way they will sit and tack them in place in the centre of the “flower”.
Step Five: Turning to the back of the flower, pinch together the top layer of two adjoining petals and do a small stitch to hold them together.
This will have the effect of the petals sitting closely together and being more puffy and round.
Step Six: For the centre of the flower, a covered button will work wonderfully. Unfortunately the centre of my flower was too large for a button to work well, so I made a “yo-yo” by cutting a circle of material and gathering the edge. The diameter of the circle should be double the diameter of the finished centre.
Step Seven: Pull the threads to bunch up the material.
Step Eight: Tack the centre piece to the flower, making the stitches as invisible as possible.
The finished flower can now be attached to a hat.
Hopefully this bonnet will be featured in my next post, once I finish trimming it!
Sources and Relevant Links
Image Source: The Costumer’s Manifesto
From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking, by Denise Dreher – a great book on hatmaking and trimming