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Vintage ostrich feather pillbox given new life.

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

By Wayne Wichern

This vintage I. Magnin & Co. hat was purchased on Ebay. A small pillbox similar to a powder puff, made with delicate ostrich plume barb fringe.

My client, Linda K. who has commissioned many hats over the years, asked me to redesign or reimagine this delicate hat into a larger, more wearable hat. We will bring you along in the process of this revision.

The pillbox was made with the long fluffy, velvet like ostrich plume barbs. The barbs approximately 5 inches long were stripped from the feather quill and sewn to cotton tape to make a feather fringe similar to the contemporary gold fringe in the photo below. The fringe tape was then stitched around the base of the pillbox and the feather fringe combed around and over to the top center of the hat frame and the ends of the feather barbs secured in place with an antiqued silver and rhinestone medallion.

The head size ribbon was removed allowing the feather pillbox to be set into and stitched into a felt collar increasing the head size and height of the pillbox.

A bicorne brim shape was blocked in black velour felt. The brim edge was bound with petersham ribbon and folded to the inside of the brim.

The pillbox and attached collar were then set into the bicorne brim and stitched together. A black silk mini lining was stitched in to conceal the brim and pillbox join. The original I. Magnin & Co. label is restored to the hat.

Lastly a mirrored set of aurora borealis rhinestone motifs which complement the original rhinestone embellishment are stitched to the brim to complete the hat.


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