Thursday, 2 August 2012

Rhiannon's hat - the final stage

As Tanith mentioned in this post on the victorian/steampunk mini-top hat, she handed it over to me in an almost complete state. All that was needed was to do something to cover the working stitches on the lining of the brim. Usually she'd use a trim – perhaps a braid – but not only was there nothing in her stash that looked quite right, we wanted to give me a chance to contribute to the hat. This was important to me, as I often feel that she's being so generous making me these amazing hats and I'm not really helping at all!

So it was decided that I'd cover the stitches with a line of embroidery. I settled on oyster chain stitch, for two reasons. It looks nice both in a straight line and on a slight zig-zag, so I knew it would look fine if it had to deviate a little to properly cover the working stitches. I also like the way it gives an effect almost like a string of tiny beads.

Oyster chain isn't a difficult stitch. It starts with a twisted chain stitch (figure 1), then the needle passes under the top of the stitch (figure 2) so the thread lies snugly up along the side of the twisted chain. Then a loop stitch is made around this, with the needle going in at a and coming out at b. The end stitch should look something like figure 3 except more snug – it is hard to draw what it should look like where the threads should lie next to each other just using a solid line, sorry – and the thread is now ready to start the next twisted chain. My illustrations aren't the most sophisticated or clear, I'm afraid, but I hope you get the gist.

oyster stitch instructions

In this picture, I'm in the middle of doing the twisted chain.

And here is the final result!

I'm quite happy with the way it looks. I did the stitching in two strands of black embroidery cotton, and was worried that it wouldn't be a strong enough visual line, but now I'm glad I didn't use more threads or a thicker perle thread.

It made a beautiful crowning touch to the outfit – the full effect of the hat is destroyed by the fact that I'm squinting down to get the sun out of my eyes in this photo, but all the photos taken at the actual event are very dark and the hat is obscured.

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