Sunday, March 24, 2013

Steampunk Hat, Part Deux

My first foray into hat-making has been an interesting creative journey. Thankfully, the second part of making my steampunk hat has been much smoother and easier. When I last left off, I had a simple red band that had taken over an hour of work to create. However, this was not nearly fancy enough. Clearly, tulle was needed and I found two yards of lovely red tulle with a slight shine to it that I wrapped around the hat. 

I quickly discovered that the tulle needed to be tacked down in some way, otherwise it would easily slip off. I solved this problem by sewing the tulle to the band, since the band is quite snug and it securely anchors the tulle in place. 

Thus finished, I slipped the hat band back on the hat and saw that it fit just fine! To form a cute little "poof" at the back of the hat, I put in a few stitches and pulled them taut to gather up part of the tulle. The result is a little tail of sort that looks quite fun. 

The resulting tulle effect looked good - I arranged it to be asymmetrical and pulled tulle over the top part of the hat on the right side. This was accidental in the beginning, but I liked the way it looked.  

Next, feathers! The local Hancock Fabric store had these lovely, fluffy beauties, just perfect for a proper steampunk ladies hat. Some experimenting proved that I had to trim them down to size, which is the reason my craft room looks like it was the epicenter for a mass parrot molting session. Little feathers are liberally scattered around the rest of my house, and I found a few of them floating in the toilet. 

Even with some trimming, the feathers still stuck out in a way that was not aesthetically pleasing. Nice, but not quite there yet.  

The answer? Some tacky glue. I ran a bead of glue along the spine of the feathers, then held it in place with a ribbon around the hat. I let it dry overnight and was gratified to find that the feathers adhered nicely and now curve pleasantly around the hat. 

A final steampunk touch! As of now, I haven't quite figured out how I will attach the watch. Ideally, I would like to have a clasp system that allows me to remove the steampunk embellishing at will. I am a member of both a steampunk and a gaslamp society, and this hat is suitable for gaslamp minus the watch. I shall have to experiment with fasteners and see what I come up with. 

I spent a few hours today tidying up Chapter 12 and working on some minor issues. I've decided that the Horizon's selling price is 15,000 pounds. However, I need to track down some exact shipping costs for items such as flour, coal, nails during this time period. Based on my research, this will not be an easy task as prices varied wildly during this time. Today I found an excellent article about the shipping industry during the 19th century. Apparently 1854-1855 was a peak shipping time, thanks to the Crimean War. Information about shipping indexes was tracked during this time; however, the focus was on highest and lowest prices, so it is difficult to find out average prices for commodities. Also, there were a huge amount of variables such as the type of ship, the distance traveled, weather conditions, etc. I have a feeling that it is going to be quite hard for me to track down solid numbers!

My hopes are that in two weeks, I can have a proofreading party to polish up the final draft. However, I am plagued by "writer's fatigue" and assaulted with a deep-seated desire to just get the damned thing done and published. Keeping strong unto the end is proving to be enormously difficult, and I will be ruthlessly honest in admitting that I hate this stupid book right now. I know that all this is a perfectly normal part of the writing process, but I honestly want to just shove the manuscript in a drawer and not look at it for a few years. Although his name escapes me, I know there was one ancient Greek scholar that advised you should set aside a piece of writing for seventeen years before revising it again. As this point in time, that option sounds unbearably attractive! 

However, I will soldier on and get this book published as promised!


  1. The hat is turning out fantastic. As for the watch, how about some kind of hooked stick pin or one of those hooks used to hold curtains? Glue one end to the watch & slide the hooked end through the tulle?