Thursday, April 3, 2008

Underlining and Hats

So, what's the connection between underlining and hats ? Actually, nothing, except for the fact that both have been a part of my life for the last two days! Yesterday afternoon, a realtor tour was held at my house. I had to vacate the premises for three hours. What's a girl to do for three hours? It's easy! Shop!

I went to TK Maxx where a hat box was on clearance for $5. It called out to me. I used to wear hats a lot. The ones I wore usually were the fun and groovy styles from the days back when I lived in downtown Chicago. I walked everywhere (I didn't have a car) and, well, hats just seemed to go hand and hand with walking around being a young, city chick. Remember when Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat in the air at the end of the opening theme song? "You're gonna make it afterall!"

I bought my first dressy hat when I lived in England. During my eight years there, I attended several weddings. Over on that side of the pond, hats are still a popular tradition at weddings. I was so excited to have the opportunity to buy and wear a beautiful, dressy hat.

The one I found was lovely. It was elegant but not over done. The crown was covered in ivory silk that went into a fold where it met the medium sized, ivory mesh brim. A simple bow in the same silk adorned the center back.

I received many compliments on my hat at those weddings. Since the majority of the women were also wearing a hat, it was nice for it to be considered normal for the occasion, opposed to extravagant or pretentious.

In between weddings, my beloved hat sat on a back shelf in my closet, hidden by my clothes. It never occured to me to get a hat box. Hat boxes were only in old movies and tv shows; nobody actually used them because ladies didn't wear hats very often any more.

Then one day while purging through my wardrobe, to my horror I made a terrible discovery. My (now deceased) cat had been using my hat as a bed! Not only was it covered in black and orange fur, but the crown was partially caved in and dented in several places. I tried to "pop" the dents out and back into place, but it was to no avail. My hat was destroyed beyond repair.

I never bought another dressy hat. We moved back to the US and we've not been to a wedding in ages... Then last year I picked up a black vintage one at an antique mall. It has been sitting in my sewing room on a wig head. Yesterday when I brought home the hat box, I placed my vintage hat inside of it. A perfect fit!

I have visions of my closet shelf being filled with hat boxes, containing the vintage hats I hope to collect... My poor ivory hat did not perished in vain. I dedicate my new hat box to it. I now know better and will protect all of my hats in boxes from this day forward.

While I was blissfully sitting on the sewing room floor, placing the lid on and off of my hat box, to my delight, Fed Ex arrived with my silk organza!

It sure is lovely stuff! I couldn't stop rubbing it between my fingers enjoying the combined crispness and smoothness of the fabric. The enjoyment did not fade today as I hand washed then ironed it in preparation for cutting.

Just as I laid it out and put the rotary cutter to work, I had to stop: my realtor called and I had a viewing at 3:30... still determined after the viewing was over several hours later, I finished cutting and basted the first piece to the silk sari.

I carefully pinned by making sure two fingers held the fabric without slipping, pinning inbetween the fingers. I didn't force or pull to avoid distorting the drape of the sari.

This was the first time I ever sewed this type of silk. The sari is, I'm assuming, similar to handling a charmeuse, although I don't know for sure having never sewn with it. I was concerned about 1) slippage and 2) the two fabrics "stretching" differently, causing puckering.

To my delight, it was much easier to handle than I anticipated (based on the back overbodice piece only). I sewed directionally to avoid twisting by keeping the stitching going in the same direction.

This last picture is the back overbodice with the silk organza underlining basted in. You can see how it really gives the sari silk structure. It will also provide extra strength at the seams which will be greatly needed since the sari is a fragile fabric.

I hope to get all of the organza basted tomorrow and with any luck, start construction!


Paula said...

Kelly, I loved your story about your poor, deceased hat. I'm a casual kind of girl, but even I can understand the allure of a hat like that.

2BSewing said...

I love your hat box! Last year while at Ross, I found 2 rectangle "Down Town Fashion" storage boxes. I love the theme. Your sari fabric is beautiful. :)