Easel Incorporated Costume Accessories

1880's Straw Hats

Here are some examples of hat styles in straw from the 1880's.  At that time in fashion ladies were wearing an extreme form of costume which was very tight and narrow on the top half of the body with a large pouf or "bustle" sticking out behind them!  It's one of the most tricky costume silhouettes to re-create.  Also worn at this time were some of the most extravagantly decorated hats in the whole Victorian period. They are so much fun to make!  If you want one of these, or another one in a similar style please write to or call me and we'll make it happen!

Click on any photo to get a close-up view, or to start a slide show.

Made for a stage production in 2018, this straw hat's crown was blocked on a vintage wooden hat block, and the brim was shaped by hand.
Made for a stage production in 2018, this straw hat's crown was blocked on a vintage wooden hat block, and the brim was shaped by hand.
Here is a copy of the drawing that inspired the hat.
Here is a copy of the drawing that inspired the hat.
The masculine flowerpot shape is countered by an abundance of flowers to feminize the hat.
The masculine flowerpot shape is countered by an abundance of flowers to feminize the hat.
Across the front ribbon loops in two shades of green alternate.
Across the front ribbon loops in two shades of green alternate.
Towards the back three large loops of dark green wide petersham ribbon form a base from which the flowers seem to sprout.
Towards the back three large loops of dark green wide petersham ribbon form a base from which the flowers seem to sprout.
The back right side of the hat is left without adornment to provide some relief for the eye.
The back right side of the hat is left without adornment to provide some relief for the eye.
Centre back of the hat shows the shape underneath all that trimming!
Centre back of the hat shows the shape underneath all that trimming!
This hat was left unlined for ventilation, but a ribbon band and horsehair loops were provided for the actress to pin it to her hair.
This hat was left unlined for ventilation, but a ribbon band and horsehair loops were provided for the actress to pin it to her hair.
Made in 2018 this pale yellow straw hat is decorated with Macaw feathers in a striking natural shade of blue.
Made in 2018 this pale yellow straw hat is decorated with Macaw feathers in a striking natural shade of blue.
This is the drawing from a Bloomingdale's catalogue of 1884 that inspired the hat.
This is the drawing from a Bloomingdale's catalogue of 1884 that inspired the hat.
The crown of the hat was hand blocked over a wooden block and the brim was shaped by hand.
The crown of the hat was hand blocked over a wooden block and the brim was shaped by hand.
The back view shows off the pleating in the hat band, and the back of the feathers, which have a different color than the front.
The back view shows off the pleating in the hat band, and the back of the feathers, which have a different color than the front.
Side back view showing yellow/green tones on the back of the macaw feathers.
Side back view showing yellow/green tones on the back of the macaw feathers.
Profile view shows the pattern in the straw.
Profile view shows the pattern in the straw.
The inside of this hat is not lined to allow for greater ventilation.
The inside of this hat is not lined to allow for greater ventilation.
This straw shape was made for a private client in the summer of 2017.  She wanted a hat she could decorate herself.
This straw shape was made for a private client in the summer of 2017. She wanted a hat she could decorate herself.
A front view of this 1880's straw shape.
A front view of this 1880's straw shape.
This 1885 straw hat was an old strip-straw shape that was reblocked for Hell On Wheels final season.
This 1885 straw hat was an old strip-straw shape that was reblocked for Hell On Wheels final season.
The straw was stiffened with Paverpol sizing to make it weather-proof. A pair of ombre tinted Pheasant feathers go from front to back.
The straw was stiffened with Paverpol sizing to make it weather-proof. A pair of ombre tinted Pheasant feathers go from front to back.
A bias piece of vintage green silk velvet forms the band.
A bias piece of vintage green silk velvet forms the band.
Detail of the many feathers in the front: rooster tails, pheasant, and goose nagoire in shades of green and blue were layered with net loops.
Detail of the many feathers in the front: rooster tails, pheasant, and goose nagoire in shades of green and blue were layered with net loops.
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This grey straw hat is exuberantly trimmed with navy and purple ribbons, rooster tail feathers, and crinoline bows.
This grey straw hat is exuberantly trimmed with navy and purple ribbons, rooster tail feathers, and crinoline bows.
A large tailored bow trims the back and covers a split in the brim.  The split was made in order to form the turn-up.
A large tailored bow trims the back and covers a split in the brim. The split was made in order to form the turn-up.
Black rooster tails and ostrich plumes give height to the crown.
Black rooster tails and ostrich plumes give height to the crown.
Grey veiling and black gimp further decorate this very theatrical hat.
Grey veiling and black gimp further decorate this very theatrical hat.
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This straw hat is made from straw braid that was subsequently painted grey.
This straw hat is made from straw braid that was subsequently painted grey.
The feathers give a boost of height to the crown.
The feathers give a boost of height to the crown.
The brim is scooped in the back, and the edge is trimmed with gimp.
The brim is scooped in the back, and the edge is trimmed with gimp.
Black netting and navy ribbon form bows placed towards the back of the hat.
Black netting and navy ribbon form bows placed towards the back of the hat.
Detailed view of the back of the crown.
Detailed view of the back of the crown.
The crown was covered with draped netting, and rooster and dyed peacock feathers are added.
The crown was covered with draped netting, and rooster and dyed peacock feathers are added.
View of the inside of this hat shows the original color of the straw.
View of the inside of this hat shows the original color of the straw.
Made for The Gilded Age, this straw bonnet was modeled after one from an 1883 illustration.
Made for The Gilded Age, this straw bonnet was modeled after one from an 1883 illustration.
The  bottom half of the crown was covered with a bias band of brown velvet.
The bottom half of the crown was covered with a bias band of brown velvet.
Ties were made from vintage rayon taffeta ribbon in brown.
Ties were made from vintage rayon taffeta ribbon in brown.
The right hand side of the crown was decorated with a bouquet of silk organza roses hand-tinted to a light brown.
The right hand side of the crown was decorated with a bouquet of silk organza roses hand-tinted to a light brown.
The roses were accented with vintage puff-ball sprays in wine-brown and green.
The roses were accented with vintage puff-ball sprays in wine-brown and green.
The back of the crown has a pork-pie feeling with the ridge and dimple.
The back of the crown has a pork-pie feeling with the ridge and dimple.
Closer view of the back of the bonnet.
Closer view of the back of the bonnet.
The left hand side shows additional sprays of the puff-balls.
The left hand side shows additional sprays of the puff-balls.
A taffeta bow was placed at the centre back to hide the join of the velvet.
A taffeta bow was placed at the centre back to hide the join of the velvet.
Detail of floral trims.
Detail of floral trims.
Detail of Hand-tinted roses.
Detail of Hand-tinted roses.
A wire hair-comb was stitched in at the join of crown and brim to catch into the hair and keep the bonnet from sliding off the head.
A wire hair-comb was stitched in at the join of crown and brim to catch into the hair and keep the bonnet from sliding off the head.
The inside of the brim was faced with the same brown velvet used for the outer band.  It was carried over to the front side to make a binding on the edge of the bonnet.
The inside of the brim was faced with the same brown velvet used for the outer band. It was carried over to the front side to make a binding on the edge of the bonnet.