This article is part two of the Outfitting Gatsby feature.
When I started this Gatsby costume project, I assumed finding the perfect hat would be the easiest and most fun part of the whole thing. I was willing to spend a bit more money than I would on something like a dress since vintage hats are a neat thing to collect. Little did I know that two factors would making buying a hat nearly impossible. One, I apparently have a freakishly large head. Two, I actually couldn't bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on a hat. Not that I didn't find a bunch that I wanted to buy -- I placed bids on four of them on eBay. But of course, as the auction business goes, the hats would go from $20 to $200 in the last couple minutes.
So, plan B: I would make my hat. Despite my successes with the dresses, I was intimidated by the hat-making process. I knew that I wasn't going to spend the money on a hat block and stretch the thing myself, but I wanted to do more than just trim a modern straw hat. I asked myself some questions: would I want to wear a cloche or a sunhat? Could I actually create something that I truly wanted to wear? Most importantly, was I being completely stupid in making something when I could just buy a new hat that I liked? For inspiration and guidance, I relied heavily on this book.
My first attempt at making my hat was a promising mess. I found an old straw fedora at home and ironed/steamed it into a more suitable shape. Then, I covered with ribbons and lace. To trim the hat(s) I used flowers from a vintage hat I had purchased eBay -- a hat that had seen better days. In theory, the the hat was passable. My execution was, however, terribly sloppy and I started over.
At the fabric store -- on a search for more lace -- I checked out some modern patterns to see if I could find a hat design that could do the job. Working with the existing straw hats I had was proving to be a bit of a challenge and I figured that making a hat from scratch might not be that difficult.
I found this pattern from Vogue and decided that view "A" -- that hat with the largest brim -- might do the trick.
The pattern turned out to be incredibly easy to work with and I was relieved that the basic shape was exactly what I was looking for. Its interfacing gives it just the right flexibility to the brim and I was able to trim it with the flowers and accessories I had at hand. I'm planning on wearing the iridescent gold/purple hat with the cream lace dress. The other two will be for two of my friends also attending the picnic.
Stay tuned for the final Outfitting Gatsby installment -- the picnic preparations.