Parasols and hats were essential fashion accessories for Edwardian ladies. I wanted my own pretty hat and a parasol but couldn’t really find anything suitable. So, I decided to make my own. I saw a cheap worn-out umbrella/parasol on Ebay that was just asking to be restored. I bought it and turned it into a beautiful silk parasol. For the hat, I bought a cheap paper straw hat and transformed it into something that an Edwardian lady could have worn with a huge silk bow and ostrich feathers.
Restoring the parasol
I documented the parasol restoration project on video, so enjoy!
Here are some detail photos of the finished parasol. The handle and a piece of the painted shaft. Just when I was taking the photo, I noticed the paint chipping a bit at a few places. I think I should probably add a few more coats and finish with some sort of varnish to protect the coat.
The lace edging and the pleated ribbon:
The protective case:
And one more:
Making the hat
First, I removed the crown from the hat and took out some of the height. Then I sewed it back in place.
The braided paper braid looked pretty, so I decided to use it. I played around with different shapes and decided to make this weird fan or bow like decoration.
Edwardian hats were famous for having a huge amount of decoration, all they way to having whole stuffed birds sitting on them. I had bought some ostrich feathers and I had artificial flowers, different kinds of silks and lace and the challenge was to make something that looked attractive out of them.
The first thing I settled on was this gigantic bow out of silk. It is the same silk that I used on the parasol but making the hat pre-dates the parasol.
The rest of the hat decorations turned out to be more tricky. I wanted to make the crown look bigger, so I covered it with tulle and silk to make it look more voluminous. The ostrich feathers were perfect but I couldn’t justify the cost of buying more than two of them as they were pretty pricey. (Btw. if you are looking for ostrich feathers, check the stores that sell equipment for fly-fishers that make their own flies. The shop I visited had ostrich feathers dyed to all the colours of the rainbow and if I would have wanted to decorate my hat with whole bird wings (historically correct, but icky!), those would have been there for sale, too!)
The more stuff you add, the more historically correct it looks. Alas, just pouring a box of artificial flowers on top of my hat-in-making wouldn’t do!
Finally I ditched the flowers that were too bright and went with much more subdued colours. I curled my ostrich feathers with my flat iron (yes, the one I use for my hair!) and sewed them on to the silk on the crown.
I’m pretty happy how the hat looks from this side. I still thing that the other side looks a bit boring. I may still need to add one more ostrich feather at some point. However, I love this picture that my husband took late one evening of me with my finished hat!
The hat and the parasol
I like this picture below! It’s like a summery version of Mary Poppins!
Isn’t this a perfect outfit to stroll along a cobblestone path?
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Happy sewing and stay safe!