Friday, April 25, 2008

Bowler Hat Restoration

A few weeks ago during our stop at Grandma's Attic was presented with this Bowler Hat and the request to fix it please. (**note to self- Jane you must take more "before photos") Unfortunately have a number of detail photos, but no full view of the outside of the hat.

Over the course of the last two weeks, have turned my hands to cleaning, repairing, restoring the Bowler to wearable status.

Serendipity was with me, as the near mint condition Bowler obtained at auction last month made it so much easier to feel confident in the refreshing of this frayed and worn one.

The leather headband fortunately was intact, thus was able to re-stitch it in much the same fashion as the one in the intact hat.
Began by pinning it in place.Then with beeswax coated cotton thread, attached the leather to the thankfully still intact cotton piping like ring. While the commission was to simply return the hat to wearing status - my heart required me to do it as historically correct as possible. The beeswax coats the thread so that sweat will not penetrate and rot the cotton.
(*note finished photo also shows replaced ribbon on rim)

With the headband in place, it was time to tackle the brim edge ribbon. The person paying me to fix the hat, had already done a nice replacement of the hatband. That experience encouraged her however to turn the hat over for the rest of the repair.

This was the daunting part. Took some heavy thinking. In the original the ribbon was sewn on before the rim was bent and turned - just too stiff and too fragile to bend it back out and replace the same way. Also more tricky as the ribbon was synthetic not cotton or rayon - so the steaming to shape was much more difficult.

Settled for shaping some with steam, hand sewing on the visible edge, then gluing on the upper and tucked in edge. Finished that last night, and the edge seems to be holding well.

Today will do a bit of brim shaping - it needs to bow just a tad. Lost some of that shape when steaming the ribbon rim. And one last cleaning - brushing to remove the lint from so much handling during the sewing.

TA DA! Here it is Finished.


It does look as though this will be a wearable hat once again. Hurray!

16 comments:

Marie said...

You amaze me with your skills to take what looked beyond hope to something that looks brand new. Just amazing!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Just curious: why did you choose to use a synthetic ribbon for the edge? Could find cotton/rayon belting that matched, or ????

Yipes. I can't imagine using synthetic for what you needed to do.

The hat came out great though. I'd really love to see it being worn.

Glorious Hats said...

Thanks so much Marie.

Jill - it is what the customer provided and had used for the hat band. Petersham did not match in color or feel. So for consistency went with the synthetic.

I most likely will not see it worn either, but sure appreciated the opportunity to bring this great hat back to wearability.

Cristina - madhatter wannabe said...

That was awsome, you did a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing!

PhantomMinuet said...

Well done! :-)

Lynda Lehmann said...

Your patience and skills are just amazing!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wow! I'm totally amazed over here. What a wonderful job you did on that!!

njm said...

What a great job! Your craftsmanship is impressive.

Richard said...

beautiful work. I have a similar hat the needs a brim ribbon. The original had a metal spring wire as part of the construction. Did you use one in your repair?

Glorious Hats said...

Hi Richard, This hat did have a wire under the turn of the outer edge and the the rim edge front and back - did not remove it as the hat was too brittle to withstand manipulating the turned edge. Gently removed the old ribbon and glued it under the wire - bit by bit using tweezers. then turned and pressed the ribbon in place and sewed the edge by hand. HTH. Wishing you the best with your own restoration. J

Richard said...

Dont know when I will attempt this job but will let you know how it turns out.

Ellie Finlay said...

Oh my. I'm just blown away by this.

Do you do any mail order work?

I have a bowler type black felt hat I got in an antique shop that fits me to perfeciton. I've worn it for several years now and it needs to be cleaned and the rim re-shaped and I don't know how to do it. Nobody in town works with hats - at least I haven't been able to find anybody.

Glorious Hats said...

Hi Ellie, Thanks so much for your lovely comments. I actually do some custom work both new and restoration. Local people bring things to me at Grandma's Attic. For those out of town, it get more costly because of the shipping both ways; but do some work like that through my Etsy Shop Glorious Hats - see a gallery and link to that store in my blog sidebar. If you want to contact me through that store and send me a few pictures of your hat - I can give you a rough estimate on if I can fix it and what the cost might be. HTH

Carl Marks said...

I have a bowler in my possession the was never worn after 2 week of constant use the ribbon on the rim came apart and the band is starting to do the same is there some one i can take it to to have it mended? I would do it but i have no experience and know nothing about sewing

Glorious Hats said...

Hi Carl, Try a local dressmaker or alterations & repair service if there is no milliner in your area. HTH, Jane

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