Posts tagged feathers
by Erin Schneider
To me, a costume isn’t complete unless you have something on your head – be it a wig, a fascinator, a tiara, SOMETHING. And one of the best costume head toppers is a hat. You may not be fully dressed without a smile, but you’re definitely not fully costumed without a hat.
However, there are two major issues with hats. Number one, they can be desperately uncomfortable – hot, heavy and headache-making. That’s why all my hats are either tiny, made of straw, or both.
Number two, hats are NOT CHEAP. Seriously, a good hat can set you back $100-$300. Which, if you know my propensity for frugality, is not an acceptable amount of money to spend on a costuming accessory.
Ergo, and therefore, when I finally decided I needed a proper pirate hat, it needed to be inexpensive and lightweight – aka The Polar Opposite of Most Pirate Hats. I refused to be thwarted, though, and set about making my own straw pirate hat, based on the straw pirate hats our former President, Laura Ulak, is wont to make.
Step one: Acquire a straw hat. Right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, Target has black and brown straw hats with wide brims and a good crown shape. They are on clearance for about $8, but act fast, as they’ll be gone soon.
Step two: Remove the cheesy, 1970’s hat trimming. It’s just glued on there, so tear it off.
Step three: Cover the glue. I stitched leftover red ribbon over the glued bits. The hat is an open-weave straw, so sewing on it is dead easy.
Step four: Stitch up the sides. Using straight pins, I folded the brim up into a tricorn. Futz with it a bit to get it into the shape which pleases you. Then, stitch the brim to the crown.
Step five: Add trim. I sewed in feathers, I made a cockade, I covered the wonky bits of the cockade with a big gaudy pin, and declared it good.
Tip: When adding multiple feathers to a hat, I duct tape them together first, around the quill. That way, they hold their positions, without having to sew them in individually.
That hat right there? I made it while watching the Packers get crushed by the 49er’s. It kept me from throwing things at the screen (seriously, WHAT IS UP with the Packer’s line this year?). And I have a fun topper to wear to Fest. Yay hats! You should make one, too.
by Ashley Walton
Hello and welcome to the adventures of Ashley Getting Creative (its a dangerous place to be – fair warning). Today I’m going to talk about how I decorated a tiny top hat for an upcoming costume.
I started with the basic top hat base (a basic Burlesque style) that I purchased a while back at Ragstock for $15-$20. My next move was to decide what decorations to use to cover half of the hat. I had a set color theme of purple, green and orange to work with, but I needed to make sure there were some Steampunk aspects to this as well.
I picked up flowers from JoAnn Fabrics. They were a little lighter green than I would have liked them to be, so I used an off-brand metallic permanent marker to color on the petals making them a richer darker green, and coloring the tips of some of the other flowers black.
Of course, one of my favorite sayings is “go big or go home”, so just flowers wouldn’t be enough. I’m not sure what type of feathers the curled feathers are but they were in the small feather section at the Edina JoAnn Fabrics. I followed the instructions on the back of the package and managed to curl the feathers the same way that you would curl the ribbons for wrapping presents- running a dull blade across them.
I used a narrow strip of black netting to tie a band around the base of the hat. Using orange silk and the black netting I started to fold the fabrics in on themselves, placing a stitch every once and awhile to hold all the pieces in place. This added a nice piece of volume with very little work. I also added a finding from the scrapbooking aisle of Joann’s to the back of the hat for a little extra Steampunkie goodness (because as the YouTube video says, all you need to do is glue some gears on it… right?).
Because I had a band around the hat, I could take two more feather accessories and tuck them inside of the band of fabric. Everything was snug enough I didn’t feel the need to stitch the feathers in place.
Using hot glue, I started to glue the flower I had previously taken apart back together and in place on the side of my hat.
Using some spare findings from my jewelry collection, I hot-glued some gears, a clock and some clock hands together for the center piece of my hat decor.
And there you have it, my tutorial on turning a blank hat into a very highly decorated hat with bright colors, and filled with AWESOME.
Treasured Garment Restoration is a specialty branch of St. Croix and White Way Cleaners located in Stillwater, MN. We recently spoke with Polly Nemec, the Owner and Sr. VP of TGR and she was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
MNSOC: How long have you been restoring/cleaning costumes?
POLLY: Treasured Garment Restoration (“TGR”) was formed in January 2008. At that time Duane, our specialty production manager, was brought on board since he had over 12 years of specialty cleaning experience before he joined us.
MNSOC: What kind of costume pieces do you clean? Fabric only, or would you do, say, a Stormtrooper outfit? Or a leather Dragon suit?
POLLY: TGR cleans pretty much anything that can be cleaned– Including: all fabrics, leathers, vinyls, fur, feathers, foam–we also clean mascot costumes.
MNSOC: What are the general costs of cleaning costumes?
POLLY: Costs can vary a lot–depending upon the fabrics, design, and stain patterns of the costumes. Sometimes, we are able to clean in machines (either dry cleaning or wet cleaning), sometimes we need to hand-clean really delicate or really bulky items. If we need to hand-clean items, we charge $75/hour. Many costumes/mascots can be cleaned in an hour or less. Once we see the costume, we can give you a no-obligation cost quote to clean that piece.
MNSOC: How long is the turn-around?
POLLY: We usually ask for 2 weeks, but if needed, we can sometimes do it in less time.
MNSOC: What sort of process do you use to clean the costumes to make sure they don’t loose beadwork, bleed, etc.?
POLLY: We test the fabrics, beads, etc to determine the safest and best method for cleaning each piece. As mentioned above, we can either dry-clean or wet-clean by machine or hand, depending upon each costumes’ needs.
MNSOC: What other cleaning options are there? (I am thinking in particular here about how Duane cleaned a Santa coat for a client of mine where the red from the velvet was bleeding into the fur – he was able to remove the dye from the fur).
POLLY: We have had a lot of successes in controlling color bleeds in costumes with contrasting colors (i.e. red with white). Once again, we have to test the fabrics to determine the types of dyes and whether or not they have been properly pre-washed/set before we proceed with a specific method.
MNSOC: Is there anything you DON’T clean in regards to costumes?
POLLY: Not that we have found yet…???
MNSOC: Can you give a couple of examples of costumes you have cleaned for others?
POLLY: We clean costumes for the Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Costume Rentals, the Minnesota Opera, the MN Historical Society, we just cleaned all the costumes for the current-running show “Cavalia”. We also help test-clean some of the costumes for these theater companies–so that they can build them to withstand multiple cleanings.
MNSOC: Do you clean accessories such as shoes? Hats?
POLLY: Yes, Yes!
MNSOC: Do you have advice or suggestions on prepping costumes for cleaning?
POLLY: Please do not try “home remedies” on stains–they usually complicate the removal process–and sometimes pull color. Let us know (if you know) what the stain is, so we can efficiently take care of it.
MNSOC: Do you have suggestions for storing costumes and their accessory pieces?
POLLY: The safest and best method for storing costumes (and fabric of any kind) is to fold them into an acid free box after they are cleaned. Hanging costumes for extended periods of time (even using the “stress loops”) can cause distortions and distress on the fabrics. Although, the 2nd best method for storage (to folding in acid-free boxes) would be to hang in a 100% cotton muslin garment bag. Please avoid plastic tubs or plastic bags. Plastics, in addition to “sealing in” any moisture in the fabric content, also emit “off-gases” that cause oxidation (yellowing, discoloration) and deteriorization (crumbling effects) of the fabrics.
MNSOC: What is the most amazing costume you have ever cleaned?
POLLY: We have cleaned many dynamic and interesting things! One of our best challenges was a costume wardrobe that came in from the London Opera– a previous drycleaner had melted many beads and they had smeared all over the dresses. We were able to clean off the smearing and polish the remaining beads. The people in London couldn’t believe that their costumes looked better than they had for many years!
Contact Polly and Duane at Treasured Garment Restoration for all of your cleaning needs.