Oh wire framed hats...how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! No...seriously...I adore wire framed hats. They are light to wear. Easy to make and bend to my will (insert evil cackle here....). Lovely to decorate. And most importantly of all....my fingers adore them. There is no sewing through the hard buckram of a buckram frame hat. For that and that alone I could say that wire frame hats are my favorite to make.
There are many extant examples of wire framed hats. I have a few in my own collection and the MET offers many more examples. I have also found many on Ebay, Etsy, and various antique dress sites. These sites offer many wonderful inspirations!
In these next couple of posts, I thought I would share with you what I learned from looking at extant wire frame hats, studying hats on line, and trial and error. I love the look and feel of these hats and since there are NOOOO millinery classes to be found anywhere in the Greater Treasure Valley area, I had the pleasure of teaching myself. I thought that the ladies (or men) who designed and created hats in the Victorian and Edwardian era knew what they were doing and having lived in those eras are the experts in all things Victorian and Edwardian. I figured the best thing to do would be to do what they did! So that is what I set about to try and accomplish and now would like to share my findings with you!
This is one of the wire framed Victorian bonnets I have in my collection. It is made of velvet, silk, ostrich feathers and some lovely brooches. It will be worn in a few days by my wonderful friend Josie!!!
The underside of the bonnet. You can see the wire frame poking out from the center.
Example of a glorious hat from the MET. 1900's
90s toque, The Met
Beautiful black shirred hat 1909-1912, The MET
Mme Pauline hat from 1911, The MET
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Wire gave and gives hats a wonderfully light and airy feel. And to make things even better, you can bend the brims into any possible style you wish!