Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Lolita Parade and the Belle Epoque Hat

 Another AVCon has come and passed us by! We took Peppermint Fox again to sell in the artist alley with our friends. It was a bitter sweet weekend, I'm not sure if we'll be going back again soon.

I entered the Lolita Fashion Parade this year in the Best Coordinate category, but I didn't manage to place. But I do get to come away with a gorgeous hat, and a bunch of new skills learned from making it!

This post is mostly going to be about the outfit and hat, I might write more about the weekend in my little haul post.

I did a (very) little embroidery on some tights, but I don't have them to show- and it wasn't as interesting as I had hoped to make them anyway. I think it would have been better to wear the BER socks, but I was a bit over ambitious I suppose. 

I paired the dress with the cream blouse again, and made sure everything else was cream or off white to minimise how stark the dress can look. I made a pair of ribbon and rose shoe clips, that would probably also look good as hair clips (I will have to buy some more of the roses I used). I do not have a photo for you here, but I had used my dreamholic bob and twin tails to creat a high, curly hair style. I really liked it- but I also was so tired on Sunday that once the parade was over I threw off my hat and hair before I could take a picture!

Below is a few paragraphs about the making of the hat. If you'd like to skip it, then you can finish the post here without worry! Thank you so much as always for reading and looking at my photos ♥♥♥

Belle Epoque Rose is a strange creature. She photographs quite white, but in reality is probably a 40/60 mix of cream to white. When picking my hat's base colours, I put both cream and white materials up next to it- but it was all too stark. In the end I used a dark cream with a white dot net overlay to best effect, I think! I wanted to include a feather but I think I am a bit of an opulent minimalist. I like things in theory but couldn't find a way for the feather to work without covering everything else up. It was probably better to travel with in any case. 

For some reason, I started snapping progress photos quite late. The hat base was made from buckram. I reinforced the brim a little with two rounds of a probably a little too soft wire and covered the top of the hat with felt before applying any of the covering. I made a mistake with the pattern, and had my notches on the wrong piece (the brand of the crown, instead of the interior of the brim) but I made do, I think I definitely made things more difficult for myself than I needed to. 

The cream fabric I used was a little thin, so I doubled it up. The brim was pinned down first, followed by the top of the crown. I pinned the crowns band down and then sewed around the top of the crown. I secured the base of the crown a bit more lightly, because of the afformentioned mistake. I covered this later with a length of chiffon (as seen in the third to last picture above). I then gathered the netting for the underside and secured it. I got a bit worried part way through, since I had used a straight rectangle without a curve. I'm not sure if it really had any adverse effect in the end though. I watched through most of Outlander while making this hat...

Finally I started on the bias binding for the edge. I cut this myself from the same cream fabric. I elected not to use the tulle with it to preserve my sanity. Sewing it down went fine- until I got to the end and realised I had forgotten to cut an end at the right angle.... I was mostly upset at this point because it had all been looking so neat and now it was less so. Things to remember next time. 

It took me a bit of time after this point to sit down and finish off the interior of the crown. I think I really need to start including a band but the major problem was that I hadn't included much in the way of things to- oh I don't know- affix it to your head. You know. Just little things. That you don't really realise till the day before you leave because you never did your test outfit.

Finally I got to decorate my beast. I repurposed a bow from a cravat Thali had made some time ago. Actually I ended up using most of the thing for this- the chiffon tails are from the same thing. A little bow centre sewed on, some of the dot netting mixed in to tie in the materials better and create a cute tail. The roses are in the case of the velveteen/flocked ones, from Okadaya in Japan. I did not buy enough of them when I was there. And I will be dammned if I don't leave with at least ten of each flower I like next time I visit. One of the roses is from the chest decoration of the BER dress. The leaves I made by hand using some double sided satin ribbon. I was very grateful to find a tutorial for them, though I appear to have lost the link... The little white flowers dotted throughout were made by heavily starching a piece of the dot netting. It allowed me to cut some small flower shapes which were then gathered and sewn with a little pearl bead. A final splash with the pink ribbon tied it together for me~

It was a long process, from start to finish and it was mostly done in the late evening hours after work was done. I don't remember when I started it, but that's probably for the best. I will be investing soon in some more efficient needles (thank you WSM!) and embarking on a pair (or more) of bonnets! The cream fabric I bought was actually from a place called Silk Trader, here in Melbourne. Last visit, I came away with a number of beautiful poly-silk look fabrics at a good price (remnants are perfect for these kinds of projects!) and they are waiting to be something. I will report on them as they come together!

Thank you to you again, if you managed to read through that block of text! ♥

I will have a further report on AVCon a bit later~


  1. I love the hat so much, it's a shame I didn't get to see it in person and inspect its beauty :D the sheer dotty overlay is so perfect and I love all the decorations you've chosen for it :D It's a shame that you won't be back for more AVCon's but I can totally understand why :)

    1. Thank you * ^ * I should have kept it on longer but the way it sat made quite the sunshade/customer barrier haha. I'll definitely back to see you as soon as I can though! ♥

  2. Oh, what lovely photos! That hat is the cutest, it's absolutely perfect ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon

  3. How gorgeous is that hat! I love it, and it goes perfectly with your dress. When I next get to do millinery, I'll be certain to re-read your process for inspiration. :D

    1. Thank you! It is a bit of a haphazard process but I hope it will help somehow :D