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Topic: I am making the Duchess' hat from Alice in Wonderland -UPDATED WITH PIX  (Read 7905 times)
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Duct Tape Rules!!!

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« on: August 29, 2005 12:05:42 PM »

Our high school theater is putting on Alice in Wonderland as our children's show.  I have been assigned to make the Duchess' hat.  You know the one...big, huge, puffy, with veiling. 
Here is an example:

Anyone have any suggestions on what would be best to use to make it stand up and out?

The show was a big success!!  I thought you would like to see some pictures of my final creation.
I ended up using glue to stiffen the inside of the hat.  Then I used heavy gauge floral wire to give it some support.  After sewing the rolls around the top and the bottom, I added a final layer of felt with stuffing underneath to pad it out.  Final touches were the feather boa and the veil.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2009 06:42:58 PM by jungrrl - Reason: fixed picture(s) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Don't call it trash...I can make something with it!!!
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2005 12:18:15 PM »

I just posted to say good luck- man that thing is huuuuge. Definetly wanta see pics when you finish. Even if you don't make it that big.

About the sticking-out. Would just using a fabric with stiff interfacing make it strong enough? I guess you might need to use like... wire or something to really hold it up. Sorry about the pathetic lack of helpfulness.

Again, luck!


MMMmmm... summer.
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2005 12:22:58 PM »

you could always make the hat out of a thin cardboard, then cover that with fabric. that would definately hold it up, but it might be uncomfortable...

good luck!

I'm your fool
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2005 12:24:42 PM »

that duchess is seriosuly scary. when i first saw it when  i was reading the book, i almost screamed!! good luck!

much love

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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2005 12:29:22 PM »

You are ambitious!

As for making it stick out, I have an idea....I'm not sure if it makes sense or would work but bear w/ me. Make some fabric cones (for lack of a better word) and stick skinny wooden dowels (?) into them, like into the point of the "cone" to make it stand up. Then just stuff stuffing around it so that it stands up and is fluffy. I'm not sure how you'd attach it to the rest of the hat....if I think of a way, I'll get back w/ you!

REALLY hope I helped!  Smiley

« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2005 12:29:53 PM »

Good luck with that. I second the cardboard suggestion. I don't think interfacing would be strong enough since the hat seems to call for heavy materials. You could always use something like chicken wire, which would have the advantage of strength without weight, but you would want to ensure comfort for the poor actress who undoubtedly would not like to be poked in the head by wire!

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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2005 12:36:41 PM »

I would go with heavily starched fabric over a wire frame or a hollow structure made out of styrofoam with the fabric glued onto it. No matter how careful you are with it SOMEONE will run into it backstage, or set their pop on it, or let it get rained on. It's a law of costuming. If you are making it anywhere near the size from the illustrions, you will want to make sure that it is steady, because if it starts to tip or flop, it will take the poor actresses head with it. Best of luck with fastening it onto someones head. Are you thinking about using a chin strap of some kind or maybe a brace that would go down the neck onto the shoulders? I'm rembering that she will have to sneeze in that scene won't she? Hat pins won't quite do the trick there. Sorry, I'm babbling.
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2005 12:48:47 PM »

Buckram is what's generally used for the base for costume hats, including hennins and attifets (medieval and Elizabethan head-eating monstrosities.).  Any costumer's shop or website should have some.    As for stabililty, you can attach it to a wimple - a close-fitting hood that covers the whole head.

Try this pattern for ideas:

Hope that helps!
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2005 06:24:10 AM »

Thanks everybody for the suggestions!!  I had thought about the wire but was worried about the comfort factor.  Do you think it would work if I sandwiched the wire between layers of fabric?  I figured I would need to make it sit well down on her head, covering her ears, to make it a little more steady.  A wimple is a great idea. 

I have had problems before with my work getting destroyed during the course of a show.  I made a headpiece for the Ghost of Christmas Present with a Styrofoam base wrapped with greenery and with candles sticking up.  Every performance it got a little more beat up until RIGHT BEFORE the last show.  He was walking around on his stilts, tripped on his robe and crashed.  Totally destroying the head piece.  Fortunately, I had arrived early and I was able to rig up something.

Don't call it trash...I can make something with it!!!
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2005 01:42:32 PM »

I think you could sandwich wire between fabric - for confort- especially if the fabric were thick enough to ensure the Duchess does not get poked in the head. I bought a thin-gauge wire mesh (I think they call it modelling wire or something) from an art supply store. It's like chicken wire except the holes are millimetres, not centimeters across. It is only sharp where cut so you would only need to be careful at edges. Duct tape would probably do the trick. Then, if say, someone sat upon it, you could re-shape the hat prior to any performance.

I'd like to see a pic of the finished product!

I opened an Etsy shop! Come visit http://minouette.etsy.com

(I have a wist too: http://minouette.wists.com)
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