Historical Sew Fortnightly #2 Innovation

Challenge description: To celebrate the way inventions, introductions and discoveries have impacted fashion, make an item that reflects the newest innovations in your era.  Be sure to share the research you did on your innovation, as well as your finished item.

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The Challenge: #2 Innovations.

Fabric: Half a yard of wool/rayon felt, and scraps for piping.

Pattern: Simplicity 1736 view E.

Year: Early 1920’s.

Notions: Cording, a button, feathers.

How historically accurate is it?  Looking at extant hats and pictures, I’m comfortable saying 90%.

Hours to complete: One or two, including faffing around with the feathers.

First worn: Not yet, but it will be worn on February 9th to a Downton Abbey tea.

Total cost:  About $12.50 USD, give or take, not counting the pink scraps.

I admit that this hat was not what I had in mind when I planned for this challenge. In fact, it wasn’t until after I completed the hat that I had the thought of submitting it for this challenge.  Let it be known, then, that I did the historical research for the challenge after the hat had been made.  But that is neither here nor there.

This hat is a piece of an early 1920’s outfit I made to wear to a Downton Abbey inspired tea I’m attending next month. I used a Simplicity pattern and embellished it a bit with the feathers.  The piping on the seams was made from the same fabric as the dress.  I really need to figure out what to do with my hair for the outfit to work.

Off center, asymmetrical, placement with which I’m going.

How does this at represent innovation?  Well, the Great War, also known as WWI, had an enormous impact on fashion, and the styles from before the war and after the war are so different that it’s difficult to believe sometimes that they were only a few years apart.  Attitudes changed, garments got smaller and shorter, including hats, which went from big Edwardian, Titanic-type hats, to close-fitting cloches.  Although my hat is not made from a period pattern, but rather from Simplicity 1736, I think it is fairly representative period hats. I found some examples of cloches with similar crown looks.  This is Joan Crawford sporting a cloche. I am not sure if the panels on the crown are painted or sewn but I’m inclined to believe they are sewn.  If you look at the first change of color on the front, you can see a slight depression that looks like a seam to me. 

These two extant hats show the same crown construction as mine, including the piping, albeit in a slightly different direction.


Overall, I am pleased with the hat and I can’t wait to wear it with the outfit.


The pattern itself was pretty easy to understand. I did have to unpick a seam once because I mistakenly sewed the wrong ends together.  Other than that, it was smooth sailing. The pattern calls for fleece but it wasn’t appropriate for my project, not to mention I live in South Florida, so I used wool/rayon felt instead.  This was my first time doing piping and I made the piping as well as I wanted it to match the dress.  It wasn’t difficult, but it’ far from perfect.  I do wish I had made the hat in the smaller size, as it would have been snugger. That said, I like it, and things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful!

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