Learn about Life in the 1920s

Hat Feathers, Wings, Flowers for Decorating Hats

Hat Feathers, Wings etc: Use large, bead-headed pins to secure feathers when posing them, and sew with very strong thread at the shank; where the feather or tip droops over, it must be anchored to brim or crown by a long or short loop of thread passed between the two or three quills or stems of which the feather is made (one rarely finds a plume nowadays that is only one single feather); these long loops are simply tied in a tight knot and cut off.

In sewing on wings, the stitches must also be strong, as few as possible, and these neatly hidden under the upper feathers; enough must be put in to prevent the wing from wabbling.

Birds, breasts, or other flat pieces, as a rule, are mounted on lining or net foundations, and are easily sewn on by these. They form suitable trimmings for autumn and winter hats, either to form entire brims on turbans, or shorter pieces set along the sides of hats with turned-up brims. The natural breasts wear well, the artificial ones are made by gluing the feathers on foundations, and rain, wind, or sun soon detaches them. The real breast may be preserved by curing the skin with arsenic, and stretching it, feathers down, on a board to dry out. After that the entire pelt may be cleaned in gasoline to remove the animal oils and odor.

Flowers: The next thing of importance used in trimming is artificial flowers. These are just as varied in kind as the real ones, and also in price. It is wonderful what pretty blossoms and foliage are to be bought for a very small sum; and they will last a season and often more. The high-priced flowers will last years.

Small, simple flowers are best on the hats of children and young girls; if roses are used they should be small, and buds rather than full blown. Some flowers, like pansies, heliotrope, violets, mignonette, and many more that will easily suggest themselves, are "older" flowers, more suitable for those in advanced years, though a bouquet of roses, heliotrope, mignonette, forget-me-nots, and foliage is a very pretty trimming for a young girl's white hat. Apple and cherry blossoms make lovely wreaths on young girls' hats, and the small pink or white hawthorn blossoms are suitable for any age. This is so very much a matter of taste that one cannot dictate, only again to say, Do not overload. Sew flowers in place with a few strong stitches; if possible, sew in one place, cut off, and sew again in another place; this is better than carrying the thread along.

If trimming a sheer hat, either lace, straw, or shirred sheer material, put a piece of buckram or folded muslin inside the crown under where you sew the trimmings, as a support; indeed, it is often advisable to sew a bunch of feathers to a little foundation and sew this to the hat, with the support inside, as otherwise the trimming would pull through the texture of the hat.

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