HSF #24: 1917 Fur Hat (And Revised Muff)

The theme of this HSF challenge is Re-Do, in which you re-do a previous challenge for a second time or you re-do a challenge you didn’t complete the first time around.

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The muff and hat are super soft. In addition to keeping my hands in the muff, I also spent a fair amount of time hugging and patting it.

I’m using my recently completed 1917 fur hat and recently revised matching muff as my entry for this challenge. I think the hat and muff best qualify for a re-do of Challenge #20: Outerwear, which I did complete with my 1822 Walking Dress (so this would be a re-do of a challenge I already completed). So, the facts:

Fabric: About 1/4 yd of faux fur and about 1/4 yd cotton flannel.

Pattern: Created by me.

Year: 1917.

Notions: Thread, polyester batting.

How historically accurate?: 90%. Tall round hats of this sort were popular in 1917, though they were likely made of real fur rather than faux fur. The revised muff has a great shape for lots of periods, including this one, and is pretty accurate, aside from the fact that it is also faux fur. Oh, and neither hats nor muffs were insulated with poly batting… but it is so warm! And no one will know except me, and those of you reading this!

Hours to complete: Unknown. I was pretty tired while working on the hat, so I know it took longer than it should have. The muff was quick (like 2 hours) but that’s just the revision. I don’t remember how long it took to make it originally.

First worn: At a Thanksgiving event in Plymouth.

Total cost: None, since I bought the fur and the flannel specifically for the muff over two years ago I count it as a stash project.

Here’s my inspiration for the hat. I was aiming for the exaggerated shape on the right. I don’t think I quite achieved that, unfortunately. I did actually spend a lot of time patterning the hat so it would look right sitting at an angle rather than straight. I think I was so cold when I was wearing it that I pulled it down to cover more of my head and thus pulled it off of its angle. Sad! But also, the thick fur rather obscures the shape anyway. I chose not to do the sticky-up bit, partly because I ran out of time, and partly because I just didn’t know what to make it out of, since the hat was already fur. Oh well. I really like that middle hat, too…

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1915. In the collection of the NYPL.

I originally made the muff for an 1860s event a few years ago. I had a plan to use gathered silk for the two ends, but it turns out it looked cooler in my head than when I executed the plan. Also, the muff was a little longer than I liked, so I decided that for this event I would shorten the muff by taking off the silk ends and folding the fur over to cover the ends. Here’s my Pinterest board of inspiration for this project. You’ll see that there are various shapes and sizes of muffs c. 1917. Mine is somewhere in the middle in terms of size and shape.

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This is sort of what I was envisioning with the silk on the ends, but it is a little underwhelming. You can see the cotton flannel lining in the middle. It holds body heat, so it doesn’t feel cold when you put your hands in!
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This is the other side. It’s pretty twisty and sad.

But as I said, I took the silk off, folded the fur down over the ends, and sewed it directly to the flannel. (I have plans to use the silk for a Regency reticule at some point in the future… yay recycling!) You can see the results in these next few pictures. I’m quite happy with the results! The muff is about 3″ shorter and I like the look of the fur on the sides.

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See the fur on the sides? That used to be the silk part.
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This was our silly shot and it shows off the new muff end well.
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Another silly shot, just for fun. I think maybe I was trying to keep my face warm?
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Chalk It Up To Experience (Remade Robe a la Anglaise)

I recently met up with friends from the Massachusetts Costumers to attend a colonial faire. It was a cold, damp, day so we had the opportunity to pull out warm clothes and accessories like mitts, muffs, and cloaks.

Here we are!

I wore the 1780s green striped robe a la anglaise I made last September, but I changed some things in an effort to make the ensemble look less costume-y.

Last year, for comparison.

First, I made a matching petticoat out of the remaining bit of striped fabric I had. I had enough to make the front stripes run vertically, but in the back the stripes are only vertical for about 12″ and then I hd to do lots of piecing to even have enough fabric. Right above the vertical stripes are stripes that run horizontal, and above that are remnants of my green 1900 skirt from Newport. And I really do mean remnants! There are 3 rows of pieced in remnants, some of those are even pieced together with vertical seams to be wide enough! Of course, you can’t see all of the crazy piecing, since the skirt of the anglaise covers it. And I was rather in a hurry while doing all of this, so I have to confess that I did not iron any of my seams… or my hem… Bad behavior, I know!

Robe a la anglaise worn a la polonaise.

Second, I decided to wear the anglaise a la polonaise. I did this in part to keep it out of the mud in the fields we would be wandering through, and partly because I found multiple examples of striped robes a la anglaise with matching petticoats that were worn a la polonaise.

Robe retroussee dans les poches. KCI. c. 1780. French.  In “…the “retroussée dans les poches”… [The] gown’s hem is pulled out from slits in either side, and draped on the back.” (From KCI) Okay, not actually a polonaise, but very similar.
Robe a la polonaise. KCI. c. 1780. French.

Third, I decided against wearing the straw hat I wore last year. The shape of the brim is good, but the crown is too high for the 18th century and the ribbon wasn’t sewn on in an 18th century decorative way. I thought of adding that same blue silk ribbon to my 1912 ivory mushroom hat since that hat shape also appears in the 18th century… but it seemed a bit too much to have an ivory silk hat to wander around muddy fields. Plus, after completing my hair style, I realized that I hadn’t made my hair big enough to support the hat (and I didn’t want to cover up the rolls I had attempted in the back!).

Bun roll hair.

Fourth, I attempted a new hair style with rolls in the back. I don’t think I quite made it, since it kind of looks like edible buns on the back of my head… But it was an experiment, and I learned some things, so it wasn’t a total bust. I separated the hair on the front part of my head and brushed it out and hair sprayed it upside down to add volume. Then I actually put it into a pony tail on the back of my head, which I pinned in place to create the poof in front. I then separated the pony tail into those three sections and rolled them individually. I took the remaining bottom section of hair, brushed it out a little, and pinned it up so it would fall from the bottom roll, rather than the base of my scalp.

Rather sad petticoat, but fabulous new muff!

Fifth, I wore my new 18th century muff! The muff is from one of the classes I took at Dress U this summer, with Stephanie Pool. It’s stuffed with 100% down and is super warm. The blue silk cover is removable, so I can make lots of covers and have interchangeable muffs! I was hoping to have the blue silk ribbon on my head to complement the muff, but that didn’t happen. Incidentally, muffs make rather good pockets… I was able to put a little bag with my phone, money, etc. in it as well as my camera inside my muff!

You can see the down filled pillow inside. The two ends have a silk ribbon running through a channel. You simply pull the ribbon to gather the ends and then tie them to secure the gathers. You simply have to untie the ribbons to loosen the gathers and change the cover!

I did sort of give up and not try super hard for accuracy when I was getting dressed. I decided not to wear stockings, because I didn’t want them to get dirty. I couldn’t find any shoes that were remotely 18th century-like. I clearly need to make some under petticoats and readdress my bum pad/roll situation (I had also made my bum pad smaller, since it seemed so large last year… but this year my skirts looked a little sad and droopy… so maybe I went too far?). I need to actually hem the silk tucked into my bodice, so it’s not a full square of fabric… Oh also, I guess I need to make some simple pockets, until I learn embroidery and make some fancy embroidery pockets as I mentioned earlier this year.

At this point, I am going to freely admit that I rather failed at creating an outfit that is historic clothing, rather than a historic costume. Certainly, there are some aspects of this ensemble that are correct. For example, I’m very pleased that I cut my sleeves so that the stripes go around my arm, not vertically. I think my trim is well done and really makes good use of the fabric I selected. And I like the scale of my stripes, but feel that the fabric is really not the right choice for a piece of historic clothing, rather than a historic costume. In addition to that knowledge, I have learned a lot about the construction of 18th century clothing, which I did not know when I made this last year. For example, I now know how to make petticoats the correct way, and how to construct the bodice of the robe the correct way, and how to sew the shoulder straps the correct way. I plan to make more 18th century things in the next year, so I will be sharing these sources with you as I go so that you will be able to gain this knowledge as well.

In the end, I’ve chalked this green anglaise up to experience, as every seamstress has to do, now and again. We all have to start somewhere. It’s pretty rare that the first thing you make from a totally new era is as correct as you want it to be!

Here’s a few more shots from the day, of me and my companions. Enjoy!

New caraco and quilted petticoat.
New jacket! In a day! You can read more at Jenni’s blog: here.
I really enjoy this pond. That willow on the right is the very same one we took pictures at last year!
It was chilly, so we stopped in the tavern at the inn to warm up a bit.
In front of the real fire! It was really pleasant.
Of course, I took this picture to be silly. There was a lot of picture taking and iphone-ing
Shoe shot! With our “chaperone,” who was obviously not wearing historic clothes.

Oh yes, and I’ve realized I don’t have any shoes that are remotely 18th century-like. So I need to deal with that too… I want yellow ones!…