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July 30, 2016

I had to set aside the Micro-Willowcrest for the moment, I just realized Myths and Legends Con is two weeks away!

There's no way I can generate a whole new costume in time this year, but I thought I'd at least build up a few more accessories.  Today I finally finished my Steampunk hat!

The hat is a vital accessory for almost every costume.  It helps to define who you are and what you're doing,  Mary Poppins, for example, is totally identifiable just from her hat.

I have a pith helmet, but that implies adventure, excitement, and activity, which I don't always want to portray, and, well, it's a little too big for me.  I wanted a fancy hat, but with my short hair, there's a lot of hats that I just can't wear because I don't have anything to attach it to.

On our South Dakota trip, my mother-in-law proudly wore this little number, which she had redesigned herself out of a boy's straw hat from Walmart.  I was inspired, and made my own trip to the thrift store to see what I could find.  I lucked out, and came home with this on my first try.

All right, so it's more 'Caribbean Vacation' than Steampunk, but bear with me.  It was worn and a little brittle, but for $3 I was willing to make the attempt.  I rushed the beginning of this, and just soaked it in a tub of water for half an hour before attempting to shape.  Fortunately it did ok, although the sides of the underbrim were in bad shape.  With lots of loose ends glued down, carefully applied clothespins, and some round weight (a case of blank CDS worked) I eventually ended up with this:

The sides are a bit deeper than I wanted, but I liked the riding hat style a lot!  I cut out a piece of cardboard to help maintain the flatness of the top and to keep my head from rounding it out.  

Then I started thinking about decorations.  I was planning to hit up the local bead shops for ides, but decided I better shop my stash first.  I wavered between a leather and a brown silk band, and the brown silk won.  I found brown tulle for a veil in the back, and my fabric collection produced leftovers from my Clockwork Doll and the poufy bathroom curtains I made for the townhouse.  I had lace and beads everywhere, and Simplicity Pattern 1085 to help me figure out how to make fabric flowers.  Oh, and I also had these LED balloon lights.  They seemed like a great self contained device for lighting up projects, and I was determined to play with them.  Eventually I produced these:

I was so excited with how the light up rose turned out!  The balloon light has an external casing, so I could pull out EVERYTHING, batteries, bulb, and all, so I was able to superglue wire ribbon to it to make a flower.  The light was initially too bright, but it dimmed down pretty quick, especially after I put a thin coat of acrylic paint over the glass.  Then it wasn't bright enough!  It does stand out at night, but during the day, you're not sure if it's just a yellow tipped rose bud or what.  I sewed a loop of ribbon to hold the rose in place, so I can remove it easily to fiddle with the batteries.  It feels pretty secure, it's not like I'm going to be standing on my head!  It's lit in all the photos below.

Finally, here is what I ended up with:

Pre 'am I sure this is what I want?' shot.  It was what I wanted.

My first glow-in-the-dark hat!

I'm still thinking about more details in the back, and possibly the undersides of the brim.  Gotta add some gears somewhere, right? It may need more lit roses.  The veil kind of helps give an illusion of hair in the back so the hat doesn't look so harsh on my head. 

It's a bit busy and ridiculous, but welcome to Victoriana.  I can't wait to put the final outfit together!