Thursday, 8 March 2012

Feathers and more sinamay...

Today at college, we covered feathers - chicken, peacock, goose, ostrich, guinea fowl, pheasant, random feathers found in the garden..... using as they come (after cleaning), curling, twisting, burning (bleaching), dyeing...
And how to apply them to a hat shape.

In an effort to make myself learn more about sinamay, I decided to use that as the base for my hat shape, so I cut a couple of pieces of stiffer stuff, in white, and some of soft in a champagney / natural colour.  I started blocking it onto a shape that, admittedly, isn't an easy shape to work with anyway (sort of 40s and funnelly), but I got so irratated by the sinamay that I gave up, unpinned the whole thing, and went and got a much simpler block, and only used the top part.

I blocked, stiffened, and dried the pieces, and used a folded under edge (with the raw edges folded to the centre, between the layers).  Then I added a length of brim reed (the plastic sort, not actual reed), and stitched that in place on the machine.  That felt more 'right' to me - probably because it's what I'm used to - edges nicely hidden and sewn down.

I still think I need to get hold of some sinamay and have a freeform play with it, because I have an idea that by using sinamay in a combination of blocking and freeform pleating and sculpting, you could get some really interesting bold geometric shapes, that aren't at all twee.  Thinking specifically of shapes reminiscent of the Chrysler building, or Metropolis, etc, etc.  Need to try it out.

Anyway, I'm digressing again.  Once I had my shape, I added some feathers.  I used some shocking pink marabou - on reflection I don't like the marabou - has its place in historical stuff, but too fluffy to feel modern - feels far too 1980s, and not in a good way.  I liked the pink, though.
I also used white goose feathers.  These were lovely and soft, but quite translucent.  The pink was showing through them, even when I used a few layers, so I roughly cut a bias strip of the soft sinamay from the offcuts, frayed one long edge, and glued a double layer of it over the pink, to hide it.  Obviously, if I were making this into an actual hat, I'd sew that part, but it's just for an experiment-type sample, and I wanted to get it done before I left!!!  That worked, and I proceeded to glue the feathers to the shape, starting at the outer edge, and working towards the sinamay strip.

Once I'd attached those, there was a bit of a messy edge to the feathering, so I took a larger goose feather, and roughly curled it using some snips, then glued that over the join.  Again I'd take more care if doing it for an actual piece, naturally.

So, pictures of it - forgive the fact that on the pink side it's gone a bit Lady Di, c. 1982 - I think it may be unavoidable with marabou (except she'd be wearing blue, not pink).  I like the colour, not the fluffiness.

Actually, in the photos, the fluffiness isn't as bad as I remember it being.  I'd use more feathers if I were doing it for real  - make it a bit more luxurious (skimping is one of my biggest pet hates).

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