Below are examples of my extant hats and their wiring. For the most part, the wire frame hats that I own and ones that I have studied, are fully wired (the frame that is....teehee). Then they are covered with all manner of materials. But I do own one that employs both straw and horse hair as well. That one is a HUGE Edwardian hat and the wire is used to connect one section of the straw brim to another strip of straw brim.
The inside of one of my bonnets. As you can see, the wire is a heavier gauge (looks like 18 gauge) and the cross sections are sewn together with a very thick thread. I am sure that it would have been considered "Millinery Thread" when it was made. They still sell millinery thread today. I use a nice thick "Button and Carpet" thread from Coats and Clark. It is covered with a thinly woven cotton fabric, perhaps a muslin. Over that is silk.
For this hat the wire is a smaller gauge, perhaps a 19 or 21. The cross sections are joined together with a super thin wire! This one is covered with a thin, single layer of buckram. Over that is the velvet.
Here you can see the wire that joins the two sections of straw in my Edwardian hat. There are two huge circles of wire that are tacked to the outer edge of the inside edge of the brim and the inner edge of the outside piece. That sounds totally confusing...but in the picture below, it may be cleared up a bit...
Ok, here is the wire circle on the inside edge of the outer most piece of straw. It has been tacked down about every inch to inch and a half. Then a piece of wire is attached to both circles of wire. this piece is not sewn, but rather wound very tightly around the circle on both sides. If that is totally confusing, let me know and I'll take more pictures.
On to the next post!