Learn about Life in the 1920s

Shirred Facings for Hat Brims and Bonnets

Shirred Facings: When a shirred under facing is put on a brim, the upper side is covered first, the under facing prepared, shirred, divided into eight equal parts, marked with pins, and the edge of the brim divided by measurement in the same way, then the facing is put in place pin to pin.

Now we draw up the thread, or threads, at the edge, make the fullness even, which is quite easy when the piece and hat have been equally divided into eight parts; a few more pins secure these sections in an even line around the hat, and we are ready to sew. If the hat is of braid, straw, or winter braid, the stitches may be taken through, a tiny stitch in the fullness of the material, just on the shirring line; then, putting the needle through at a slant, we come back with a slant, making a small stitch on the outside also; neither of these stitches may show.

If the hat is of velvet or some other material on top, the stitches that secure the facing cannot be taken through, and it must be slip stitched on. To do this, take the tiny stitch in the full shirred line as before, and slant the needle through into the material of the upper brim, which is turned under over the edge of the brim; slant in such a way that the sewing shall form a straight line about one eighth of an inch below the edge of brim. Having sewn our facing in all around the edge, we secure the threads neatly and invisibly.


Now pull the work down into the head size, run a gathering thread in just inside the turn of the crown, draw up and sew down, taking care that the flutes of fullness run in even lines from the edge to the head. Last we draw up the threads that come between the edge and head, draw them to shape and size of brim, secure and neatly fasten off each thread, but they need not be sewn round on the brim.

This method applies equally to hats for children, when made on frames.

When a frame is much wider in front than at the back the shirring lines must be graduated inproportion to the shape; this is easily done by dividing the measures in three or four equal parts, and graduating the shirring lines accordingly, always having the edge straight, however.

For instance, say the front of brim is five inches deep and the back four inches, and you wish three lines of shirring; that gives you the edge tuck, then a space of one and one third inches between each set of shirring lines, and one inch spaces at, the back; the spaces being gradually narrowed from front to back (Fig. 22).


In plain shirred facings, which are more usual for adults, especially for velvet and silk hats, it is best to finish the edge with a cording rather than with a tuck.

This is done by cutting a thick silk wire the length of the brim edge, and lapping the ends about one and one half inches, sewing them firmly together. After the flat shirrings are done, fold the edge over the wire ring and shirr the material together under the wire, fulling it up, and drawing the thread up as the work proceeds, till the material is all on the ring; then even the fullness, pin in place on the brim, and sew or slip-stitch on and finish the brim, as before directed (Fig. 23).

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