Sunday, October 5, 2014

Side Trip - Victorian Hat Repair

I decided I had better make sure my Victorian Hat is ready to wear on our candlelight tours "Victorian Funeral Practices" in a few weeks from now.  I have a very busy October so I don't want to leave it to last.  It is a good thing I decided to do it too, it needed some work.

The Black Victorian Hat has been in storage for probably 20 years with brief periods of time when I check it out and visit it.  I bought it in Pennsylvania and it is in great condition except the ties.

First for a little tour of the hat.  It is so intricate I am always amazed at the handiwork.

From the side

Looking down at the front top

The back of the top

When the flash isn't lighting it up it is really hard to see the details.

Looking underneath at the bottom

The makers mark under the lining

The lining is shattering

The ribbon ties are shredding
I have decided to fold and baste the ties together and put them inside the hat.  The ties are actually the ends of the braiding decoration on top.  I hate to take away any of the original material of an antique so the ties will not be cut, just stored away under the hat lining.

I started the new lining which will be stitched on top of the original lining that is coming apart.
The ties are attached to the decoration on the top.

The new lining is stitched on with gray thread all around the inside of the underneath.

The ties are folded inside the hat

The new lining is folded in.

And the center part of the lining is gathered and closed.
I have some new black grosgrain ribbon ordered to replace the original ties.  Once the ties are added, the hat will be ready to wear!


  1. Love that hat - so complicated to make I'm sure. What year is it from?

  2. I think maybe as far back as 1860s, 1870s. The hat styles changed a lot through the years, but the bonnets seem to have been more in those periods. After that they seem to get taller or wider.