Friday, March 16, 2012

Making a Steampunk Fascinator

A lot of what I make ends up on the stage. This means that sometimes I can cheat a little bit, and complete an otherwise time consuming job in a couple of hours. Such is the case with this fascinator- a sort of miniature top hat.  I am currently working on a production of Seussical. The costumes for this show blend human and animal attributes in a funky way. I thought it would be fun to introduce a little pop culture into the costuming- steampunk in this case, and hip hop in another one. Warning- if you are a real milliner, you should probably stop reading now. No real millinery techniques were used in the creation of this fascinator. You have been warned!

I started by making a rough pattern. I wanted to make a miniature top hat with a somewhat distorted shape and a brim the size of a teacup saucer. Using brown craft paper, I cut a rectangle and worked in front of a mirror, trimming it until I got the approximate height and girth that I wanted. I squared it up, laid it out on my work table and cut slits, which I then overlapped and taped in place. 

As you can see, this changed the shape from a traditional stovepipe to a tapered top hat. I placed this on another piece of paper, traced around it, added a little size to make up for what I lost in the adjustments, smoothed the curves, etc. I taped the butted edges together so I could make the next piece- the top. 

I wanted a teardrop shaped top.  

Craft paper is nice to work with, because it has enough body to hold it’s shape while you are experimenting, enabling you to get a realistic idea of what it will look like once you’ve made it up. I then traced a small saucer for the brim, and trimmed it into an oval shape.

The base I use for this type of hat is Pellon Peltex 72F, a double sided fusible ultra firm stabilizer.  Other supplies include fabric, ribbons, trims, buttons, an ostrich feather, an alligator clip, clover clips, clothespins, and Fabritac. Knits and felt are the simplest to work with because they stretch and they don’t ravel.

next time- the completed project.

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