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Topic: Help me to re-create my great-grandmother's beaded wedding headpiece  (Read 9107 times)
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2011 07:38:21 AM »

Wow thank you everyone who replied! You have provided such fantastic advice and lovely comments too  Smiley I am really thrilled with the responses and will be sure to update this thread when I have made some progress on this project.

« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012 03:34:31 PM »

I'm not very experienced at bead embroidery, but I'd suggest sketching it first on paper, cutting it and putting that to your head - it'll show you the size you need without wasting expensive material. To me it doesn't look like a hat but more like a half-crown - a beaded piece that doesn't cover the whole head but is sort of curved around half the head and held around the back of the head with something - maybe a sort of an elastic? and the veil going over that and hiding it. Maybe the veil is attached to the back of the "crown"?
As for the beading, start with the three large beads at the forehead, than do the outlines of the petal shapes, and fill in from that. I'm not necessarily sure you need cardboard - if it is indeed a straight piece that curves around the head, maybe using a stiff leather or the like will make it stiff enough (and remember that it's actually double since you sew a back to the piece).
Hope that helped any. And just wanted to say that is a truly gorgeous piece and photo.

Addicted to beads
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012 09:16:01 AM »

how beautiful!  I also just adore the groom's pin.

« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013 05:48:24 PM »

Your great grandmother probably made the headpiece out of BUCKRAM, a thick, stiff, starched, open weave fabric that is still sold today.  A good fabric store will probably have it with interfacing, but you may need to order it online.   Crinoline is kind of similar, but much lighter weight, and not strong enough for this.

Widely used for hats and headdresses, buckram is stiff and lightweight and can be sewn by hand or machine.  You can even stiffen it further by sewing a wire around the edge (use a machine zigzag or hand whip)

Here's how I would make the headdress:
Make two buckram forms in the shape of the headdress, one 1/2" smaller than the other.  (or make the smaller one of crinoline)
Wire the edges of the larger one (optional: cover with a thin padding, like 1/4" thick polyester batting--this might make beading easier), and cover both with fabric (she probably used silk), basting raw edges to the back of each piece.
Bead the bigger one, then stitch the smaller one on the back to hide the bead stitching.

I'm not a beader, so I'll leave those directions to the experts!

wait, I got more!
the knobby white things over her ears look like commercial flower centers.  My local Ben Franklin has a selection, or you could look for vintage ones online.  Looks like there may be some small flowers mixed in as well.  That might go all the way around the back of the head like a wreath.

the edges of the beaded section look like rhinestone chain to me, but the scale seems smaller than what's usually available now.

The three beads at center front look like baroque pearls.  You might ask relatives if there is any pearl jewelry from grandma; they look like something that might have been salvaged when the rest of the headdress was discarded.  Most of the rest of the beads look like they may be seed pearls, maybe in two colors to make the pattern stand out.

I think the beaded part and veil are attached to a cloche hat.  That's a snug fitting hat popular in the '20s and '30s, after women started bobbing their hair.  You might be able to buy a blank online somewhere.

for the proportions:  I measured the height of your grandma's head and the height of the headdress in the photograph; the headdress is 1/2 the height of the head.  So measure your head (from chin to top of what you can see in the mirror), and use 1/2 of that for the height of the  headdress.

BTW, I used to be a costumer--the job included analyzing and interpreting vintage images!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013 10:51:05 PM by steiconi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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