Sunday, October 23, 2016

Alexia Maccon Cosplay Part II: The Hat

Close examination of the cover art and images on the inside of the manga shows that for floating, Alexia wears a teal top hat with ear covers that are embroidered and edged in lace and with a short veil hanging down the back. The teal of the top hat matches her sleeves and main dress fabric pretty exactly, so I decided that using the same fabric for both would be a good idea.  The main fabric I purchased for the dress was Thai silk from Bangkok silk and while this silk is absolutely gorgeous and wonderful to work with, it is very thin.  So I decided the hat should be made of 2 layers of millinery buckram, wired and mulled in flannel. 

I also decided that the embroidered ear covers should be interlined in cotton to help hold the shape and hand embroidered in black silk.  Now I needed to pick the embroidery pattern, as with almost every drawn character I know, there is variability between frames as to exactly what the embroidery looks like.  I used the image to the left to design the embroidery. I first drew the embroidery onto paper and then used a light box and a pen to transfer the image the thin silk.  In this case the thin silk worked to my advantage as I could trace the pattern directly onto the silk using the light box. My interpretation of the embroidery is visible to the left.  I flat lined the silk with cotton and then embroidered the design in silk twist thread.  I felt the silk needed to be flat lined before embroidery as it was so thin.  These ear covers were then lined in silk and edged in gather lace.  They were then set aside until the hat was finished.

I apologize in advance for the lack on photos, I was so worried about getting this costume done that I did not take enough photos during the process.  However, I will share what I can, and I am happy to answer any questions people have.

 The hat was made using a pretty standard top hat pattern I had previously drafted.  Basically, I have an oval that is fitted to the crown of my head (not designed to sit down very far onto the head) for the brim.  The top of the hat is a circle rather than an oval simply because I like the shape more for the top of my hats and it seemed Alexia's hat was also likely a circle at the top.  The circle has the same circumference as the oval.  The hat side is a single straight piece that is slightly longer than the circumference of the circle to allow overlap at the back.  The brim and the oval were wired with millinery wire by zigzag stitching the wire to the edge of the buckram. To support the buckram, both the inside and the outside edge of the brim was wired.  The side piece the seam allowance clipped and then hat was hand stitched together.  The image to the left shows the stitching and seam allowances on the inside of the hat.  Once The buckram was stitched together, I mulled the hat with some scrap blue flannel, the flannel mulling is simply used to smooth out the shape and disguise the wire.  The silk was so thin, I was worried the wire would show. The flannel was cut using the same pattern as the buckram for the brim and the sides, but the crown had a seam allowance added.  I cut 2 copies of the brim, one for the bottom and one for the top of the brim to smooth both sides.  I then stitched bias tape around the outside edge of the brim to further smooth the edge. 
At this point, the silk cover was prepared.  For the brim and the crown, a seam allowance was added as there was none present on the buckram. First the brim pieces (one for the top and one for the bottom) were machine stitched together along the outside edge.  The seam allowance was clipped and the brim fit to hat and hand-stitched into place. Care was taken to hide the seam allowance on the brim either inside the hat or up the side of the hat on the outside. The crown  also had seam allowance added.  The crown was machine stitched to the hat side piece, seam allowances were clipped and then fit to the buckram form.  The seam allowance for the side was tucked under and then the stitched to the buckram form.  This means that the side neatly covers the seam allowance from the brim. 
At this point, the ear covers were stitched to the inside of the hat.  On the inside of the hat, to prevent the hat slipping down, a strip of cotton the same length as the circumference of the inner brim stitched to the inside of the hat.  The upper edge of this strip has a channel sewn into it and a draw string.  This allows the inner lining to be gather and keeps the hat from being able to slip down on your head. Since the images of Alexia also show lace at the front of the hat, but under the brim, I gathered some lace into a piece of bias tape and hand stitched it to the inside of the brim.

Last was the addition of the decorative band and the black veiling. The seam between the side and the brim is then covered by the velvet ribbon and the black veiling was simply a very long rectangle gathered to the back of the hat. Since the veiling is a tulle like material, I did not need to edge any of it.  I added a velvet bow to hide the gathering stitches on the veiling and add a small detail.  I then stitched really long ribbons the ends of the ear covers to allow the hat to be tied to my head.
Here are some images of the finished hat, I am pretty happy with how this hat came out!

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