A new year’s project

by Pimpinett on January 5, 2013 · 17 comments

in Accessories,Applique,Burlesque / Pinup,Embroidery

I really enjoy making small cocktail hats and other heavily decorated things to wear on my head. It’s the perfect pleasure project, in many ways; I can whip them up quite fast, usually these things come together for specific parties, they generally don’t require a lot of material, there’s very little fitting, lining and other time-consuming work involved, and it’s fun. It’s as free of performance anxiety as sewing ever gets for me, and it feels festive and playful and exhilarating. I’m not shy about wearing odd stuff on my head, either, so the sky’s the limit, really.

For New Year’s, there was a grand masquerade, and for that you need a mask. I also needed a red sequin evening gown, but the red sequin seaweed fabric got lost in the mail and didn’t arrive until yesterday. Oh, well. Another party, I made a sequinned and beaded red half mask in the shape of a gloved hand anyway – I’m a huge Schiaparelli fan, I love mildly surrealist headwear, and oddly enough my wardrobe didn’t contain a decent mask before this one.

Sketch and base for a mask

I went through a lot of paper copies to get the shape right.

The original idea was to use a lonely actual red leather glove, but that turned out a bit too bulky; I think I’ll try to make a hat out of it at some point instead. So I sketched, cut, folded and ended up with a decent pattern of sorts, which I cut and shaped in this heavy linen/horsehair interfacing. There are two darts in it, so that it follows the curve of the head.

Completed mask base

Nice shape.

Then I added steel wire to the edges, for stability and shape…

Mask shape covered with red cotton

Very three-dimensional.

…and covered the base with plain red cotton poplin, and the inside with peach satin. Outlines of the fingers and glove stitching on the back of the hand marked out, too.

Mask beginning to be covered with sequin ribbon.

This was the fun part, really.

And then I covered the whole thing with sequin ribbon, for plain areas, and red glass seed beads, for contours, shades and outlines.

Mask almost covered in sequins

Almost done.

Strictly speaking the sequinned areas aren’t really lighter than the beaded areas, but I wanted more sequins than beads and when they do reflect light your way, they do it much more brightly, so…

Finished mask.

…I think it worked rather well, anyway. I added a couple of rows of tiny black seed beads to stress the outline of the fingers after this, but it doesn’t make much of a difference; there’s just a little bit more of a contour. It fastens in my hair with four of those little toothed metal clips that are often used on clip-in hair extensions, you know – those are the best thing there is for attaching things securely to hair, even short hair.

The mask being work

This wasn't my first glass of champagne.

And then I wore it, with a marvellously vulgar 50′s dress that I got for New Year’s two years ago. I think it turned out quite well.

This post was written by...

– who has written 9 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

Retrophile, pattern drafter, uniform enthusiast and perfume buff in Stockholm, Sweden. I love, wear and try to emulate 1930's to 1950's era fashions in the things I make for myself. My own blog has mostly switched to posts in English, with occasional posts in Swedish. I write about style, body image, gender, clothes, fashion, uniforms and sewing from a vintage-lover's perspective, along with the odd post about perfume, music and other odds and ends.

Pimpinett's posts / Pimpinett's website

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bex January 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

A-MAZE-ING!

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Thank you!

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mideva January 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm

very nice! and thanks for the clip tip

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm

It’s the best, really. They fasten almost anything to almost any hair at almost any angle. Afro hair shops and wig shops usually carry them.

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futuralon January 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

It’s so odd I love it. Small accessories like this sound like a great way to dress for any party.

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

It is! I get bored with just plain pretty, these things make pretty fun, too.

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Tant Monokrom January 6, 2013 at 5:07 am

It is very Schiaparelli. Making surrealistic work in garments or accessories is difficult, it can easily look just weird. This looks lovely!

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

That’s the best compliment I could get, thank you!

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Jeanne January 6, 2013 at 5:20 am

Very fab! Thank you for showing the making steps.

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Thanks! I should do that more often.

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Lianne January 6, 2013 at 7:35 am

I adore this! I bet you were the best dressed there! I’d love to see one in emerald green, I bet that would really suit you too!

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Pimpinett January 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I don’t think I were, to be honest, but it was nice enough. Emerald would be nice, yes, or chartreuse, maybe – I think I have the same kind of sequin ribbon in chartreuse green, that might be an idea for something similar-but-different. Thanks!

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hulagirl January 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I love this! What a great idea. I’m a huge Shiaparelli fan too, and I definitly thought of her the moment I saw this.

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Pimpinett January 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Schiaparelli is amazing, always!

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Isis January 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I do look forward too the glove hat! Andf you look gorgeous in that dress!

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Pimpinett January 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I thought I might make something along the lines of that 50′s hat with a glove holding a champagne glass, have you seen that one? Although it’s a little bit too literal. Probably just a simple shape with the glove as adornment, since it’s already stuffed with steel wire and fabric remnants anyway.

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Janna January 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Love!

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