Apr 16, 2014

HSF challenge #7 - In which it's awesome to have a head

Which came first? The head or the hat?
1880s inspired ladies Tall Hat - front and side views

Leaving classic philosophical debates to one side, here's my entry for the Historical Sewing Fortnight 2014 challenge #7 "Tops and Toes" an 1880s inspired Tall hat, which was created to accompany my 1888 costume here.

'before' photo

This is my third attempt at millinery, having made 2 spoon bonnets last year, here and here.

I made this one by taking apart a store bought sunhat (pictured to the left).

I will post a tutorial about how I made this 1880s tall hat soon.


'all done' photo
just the facts:
The Challenge: #7 'Tops and toes'

Fabric: the material is...whatever sunhats are made from. Er.. some kind of thick plastic threads (looks a bit like fishing line) which has been woven into strips.

Pattern: self-drafted

Year: 1880s
Notions: thread and self-made ribbons

How historically accurate is it? not very, this is def. an 'inspired by' design

Hours to complete: About two days

First worn: 28 March 2014

Total cost: under $7

Women having tea outside the house of William and Lydia Williams in Napier, New Zealand. Dated between 1888-1899

The above photo (original source here) from the late 1880s is my favorite inspiration for my Tall Hat design, but you can see more sources by following my Hats or Victorian 1880s boards on Pinterest.


  1. Woooooow!!! Oh so very fabulous!! I love the look of the whole thing! It looks very nautical and I ADORE nautical dresses and hats! Well done!


  2. So beautiful. And millinery is really not the easy end of historical costuming. :) So looking forward to the dollar store stocking plain straw hats for summer again. Might get a few, as a starter kit. ;)

    1. Thanks. For some reason actual straw hats don't seem to get sold here, if they're not plastic they're paper!

    2. :) That is a good hint. I will make sure to check those at the store before I buy them. At least I saw them again yesterday as they stocked up their summer items.