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1950's Headpiece - A Study & Contemporary Recreation - Michale Crooks

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Thursday, 11 October, 2018 - Arrived London and met Bea & Evie's Tina Guintini for a research appointment at the Victoria & Albert Museum's Blythe House Clothing archives. Tina assigned me to be her intern for this research, which was in preparation for "Millinery through the Decades" classes on creation of vintage headpieces, which she and Judy Bentinck have been preparing. Tina asked me to make detailed photographic images, which I did. This is one of six pieces we examined. This 1950's headpiece features silk twill fabric onto which a lace and beads embroidered piece has been hand sewn. The embroidered piece appears to have determined the size (approx 7" front to back and 8" side to side) and amorphous shape of the headpiece.

Examination of the underside of the headpiece shows that the foundation is of willow, and it is apparent that a batting of some kind was applied between the foundation and the crown covering. The shaping of the crown is supported by millinery wire which appears to be bound in place by a bias strip of the cover fabric sewn to create a sort of piped edge. The only lining is netting on the entire underside, through which hairpins may be used to secure the hat in the wearer's hair. A comb and a label (Simone Mirman) had been sewn in place on the underside, answering the question of which was the front of the piece. This piece was likely one of a kind, based on the uniqueness of the embroidered lace applied to the crown.

Friday, October 12, 2018 - Met Tina to visist the Portabello Market, as Friday is the most successful day for the millinery supplies / trims and fabrics. The second booth we visited had a stack of embroidered and beaded decorations which had likely been cut from vintage clothing. I purchased two pieces, after the inspiration at Blythe house the previous day. This piece was sewn to a square of paper, and when I cut it from the paper, I secured it gently to the fabric on the backside with fabric "Tacky Glue". In the absence of willow foundation, I blocked a buckram skull-cap crown, and applied white cotton flannel batting to the crown. I gently steamed the flannel to secure it to the buckram on the block.

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