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Vintage Hat Repair & Restoration

I recently completed repairs and restoration on two charming vintage hats. While the hats are indeed precious, the repairs were needed to restore the hats to functional and wearable condition not museum conservation condition. These hats are used for fashion shows by the Seattle Children's Hospital Charitable Organization and are part of their historic and vintage collection.

Straw Braid Cloche - #1920 E - Pale blue/grey straw braid cloche with pink silk underbrim, ribbon work details and hand painted cork millinery flower.

The original pink silk underbrim was badly deteriorated. I cut a five inch wide bias of dupioni silk and sewed a narrow casing at edge of the bias. A nylon brim wire was inserted into the casing and hand stitched to the existing straw braid brim to float the new underbrim and which would additionally support the existing straw braid brim for the future. Then the bias was gathered and pleated down into the headsize of the cloche crown. An adjustable headsize ribbon sewn in to provide for variable headsizes.

The lining with its lovely details of the original Seattle milliner was in serviceable condition and reused for historic interest. The delicate hand painted cork millinery flower was repaired with a millinery glue to secure cracked and broken petals. I used permanent dye to stain and mask the white cotton backing on a few petals where the thin cork was broken and had flaked away.


Black Edwardian Skimmer - #1900 B

The crown of the original hat was constructed of lightweight buckram was collapsing due to age, the black underbrim silk was aged and silk lining beyond use.

I determined it would be best to block a new hat using a sturdy black straw. The original hat would then sit or layer onto the new straw hat which would provide new support for the collapsing crown and the brim. A lining would not be needed. The new brim was cut to the original brim dimension and layered underneath the straw braid binding of the original hat and reattached "sandwiching" the original brim and the new straw brim. The leaves and berries were secured with a few stitches to tidy up the trim decorations. The supporting straw hat has an adjustable headsize ribbon to vary the headsize as needed.


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