Elizabeth Hurst – United Kingdom

Modern Edwardian

Category: Traditional


The theme ‘Fusion’ is interpreted by my ‘Modern Edwardian’ hat as it is the combination of old and modern materials and equipment to create a contemporary design that evokes the transition from the feminine romantic period to the present day. I made this hat with a particular customer in mind who wishes to be traditional yet look like a modern 21st century Edwardian lady, with beautiful butterflies fluttering into the next stage in history! This hat is slightly oversized to accommodate hair worn up but has an inner drawstring for smaller heads or for those who wish to wear the hair down. The Edwardian era was rich and lavish for some and my dominant colour – purple – evokes royalty. The hat hopes to give a luxurious grand swishy Edwardian feel, with which one could dream about going back in time when ladies wore large brimmed hats that were decorative on an everyday basis. Now only such hats would be worn at grand summer garden parties. Everything is meticulously hand sewn except for the ruched band, rouleau’s, bodies of the hat lining and inner drawstring construction that have been machined. All the embellishments have been hand crafted including my unique multi winged butterflies that look as if they are in flight, also with handmade antennae using coloured craft wire and glue at the ends. A few modern materials used for this hat were not available in the Edwardian period are sinamay, bonda web used for the rose, leaves and the pieces of the butterflies, coloured glue and coloured craft wire. The two hat blocks used to construct this hat were a modern 50cm wide brim block with an oval head fitting along with a vintage crown block with a circular head fitting that were manipulated carefully to fit well together.


  • Three layers of sinamay with two different coloured purples for the brim (darkest in the middle).
  • Double sided buckram, fine cotton, domette, purple shot silk Chinese dupion for crown covering.
  • Turquoise Indian textured shot silk dupion for ruched band, bias binding, rouleau loops and leaves.
  • Two more coloured silks for the rose.
  • Silk Organza, Nylon Tulle, Lining Fabric, Tarlatan, Petersham Ribbon, 5cm Wide Elastic, Narrow Strengthening Tape, Bonda Web, Blocking wire, fine blocking wire, coloured craft wire, floristry wire and floristry tape.
  • PVA glue, UHU glue and Coloured glue. Various coloured sewing threads, Polyester filling and some seed beads.


  • CROWN – Vintage crown block with flattish tip. ‘Steam Blocking’ layering three felt cones to enlarge the crown size before the actual crown with its various four layers. Cut required crown height. Wired headline with fine blocking wire to keep its shape by hand stitched millinery buttonhole stitch. UHU gluing the domette in place and hand stitching the covering fabric at the headline with back stitch.
  • BRIM – GMB 50cm wide brim block. ‘Water Spray Blocking’ the three layers of sinamay. Blocking wire hand sewn around the edge with millinery buttonhole stitch, hand cut tarlatan bias covering the wire and sewn in place with running stitch by hand. Handmade silk bias binding, hand sewn around the edge with slip stitch. Cut out the centre of the brim and notched the cut edge. Petersham ribbon shaped with a steam iron and whip stitched it into place. Join the crown and brim with hand sewn back stich. Attach the machine stitched ruched side band and tie tack it in place.
  • SILK ROSE – Hand shaped the centre with polyester filling into a point, floristry wire wound around it and PVA glue added to keep and harden the shape. Silk layers with PVA added to make this centre piece look attractive. Fused two different colours of silk with an electric iron (using bonda web) to create a large rose that was made into petals that were first drawn, cut out and shaped by flower tools (heated by a gas ring) before being glued into place. The floristry wire was twisted to its full length and more floristry wire was added with bonded hand shaped leaves. Some areas of this wire was covered with floristry tape.
  • PURPLE TULLE – Hand gathered a narrow long length to be stitched just behind where the large rose would lie on the ruched silk sideband to help make the rose lie at a tilted angle and not lie flat against the side of the sideband. The rose construction was then tie tacked into place.
  • INNER HAT STRUCTURES – The lining and drawstring constructions were machine stitched. The drawstring at the ends was made of silk rouleau loops that covered strengthening tape and attached to 5cm wide elastic. Joined together with a large machine running stitch, ease them behind the already sewn in petersham ribbon and ladder stitch.
  • BUTTERFLIES – Two lots of fabric pieces were first cut out of silk organza/or silk dupion for each coloured winged body that are fused together lightly with bonda web. The butterfly design drawn on and cut out before ironing again to shape wings. The body part (glued only) and not the wings to be placed in the planned coloured layers. Top and back bodies (no wings) to be fused too (two layers on either side) and then glued after certain preparations. Firstly hand sew the antennae onto the main winged body of the butterflies. Top body glued on top of the main winged glued body. Back body glued after the seed beads sewn onto them After all the three butterflies have been made they are attached to the hat with the connection of the seed beads. One directly onto the ruched band (not going directly through the main hat) and two of them attached onto the rose.
  • FINISHING – Give the hat a quick blast of steam in the inside of the crown and then place on a hat block to press all the inside flat.


  • My brain, hands and fingers!
  • straw needles
  • thimble
  • scissors
  • pliers
  • blocking pins
  • pins
  • pen
  • corset stay
  • paper patterns
  • flower tools
  • ironing board
  • electric iron
  • electric kettle
  • domestic sewing machine
  • gas oven flame from the ring

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HATalk Issue 140 (November 2017). Cover hat by Veronica Marucci.

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