Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hats They Choose

When an actress is her own costume designer for her off-screen role, what does she wear? These three busy, beautiful stars were invited to come to our studio and bring their favorite hat. Here are the results.

Joan Crawford
Miss Crawford graciously stopped by our studio on her way to a benefit luncheon wearing a stylish checked topper perfectly coordinated with her jacket ensemble. Hat, jacket, necklace and earrings are from The Couture Touch. Gloves are from PD Root, handbag and bracelet from Integrity. The belt was borrowed from J'Adore Gene Marshall. Underneath is the strapless black sheath from Cherry Smash.

The asymmetric topper utilizes the same fabric as the covered buttons on the jacket. The floral trim was recycled from an Ashton Drake hair ornament. Miss Crawford was originally a Pin-Up Gene Marshall (artist unknown).

Ivy Jordan
Miss Jordan, who prefers being behind the camera instead of in front of it, drove up to the studio wearing a smart royal blue fedora accented with a dramatic feather and netting detail. Hat and fur from miniature furrier PD Root, jacket from The Couture Touch, and earrings from Ashton Drake. Dress is a dyed version of Croquet, Anyone?

Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall arrived in a tweed jacket and black skirt. The hat she chose - an extravagant red felt topper. Hat and scarf from The Couture Touch, fur drape from PD Root, jacket from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Vintage-Style Hat for Gene Marshall

It's that time of the year again when all eyes are on a ladies Easter bonnet. You can easily make your own 1940's disk-style tilt hat for Miss Marshall. Here's what you will need:

Fabric of your choice
matching thread
buckram  (available at most fabric stores or millinery supply shops)
assorted trimmings
straight pins
glue  (I use Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives)
Fray Check or Fray Block by June Tailor (optional)

Draw a circle on the buckram and cut out. I used a glass that measured just under 2 1/2" in diameter as a guide. You can make your hat smaller or larger. The beauty of buckram is that it can be shaped while wet and when it is dry, it will hold it's shape. I use it for many of my hats. Cut out a circle of fabric 3/8" larger than the buckram circle. If your chosen fabric is loosely woven, I recommend you apply either Fray Check or Fray Block to the outer edge of the fabric to help prevent raveling.

Run a gathering stitch around the fabric approximately 1/8" from the edge. Center the buckram and gently pull the gathers around the disk.

Tighten the gathers around the buckram and secure thread with a knot.  Cut out a circle in felt approximately 1/8" to 1/4" smaller than your hat.

Center the felt circle and pin. Hand stitch the felt circle to the hat with a tiny whip-stitch. This clean-finishes the underside of your hat.

Now for the fun part.  Embellish your hat as desired. The floral spray was tacked to the hat with hand stitching. The remaining flowers, leaf, and bird were glued in position. It's best to work from the back of the hat forward once the foundation pieces have been attached. Netting, feathers, miniature birds, ribbons, beads, buttons, braids, and flowers are readily available at local craft and fabric stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics, etc. I also look for vintage millinery pieces at flea markets and antique malls. And as you know, I also like to re-purpose items I already own.

And Viola! You now have a smart new hat for Miss Marshall.  Jacket is from Ashton Drake's "Doing Her Part", scarf from Mattel, and fur from miniature furrier PD Root.

And just to get your creative juices flowing......

George Beigel tilt hat using a fabulous white ostrich feather, velvet ribbons, & flowers, circa 1940's.
Bes Ben hat, circa 1944
Joan Crawford, circa 1940's
Photo courtesy

And 4 more courtesy


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creative Millinery

During WWII, the U.S. implemented clothing restrictions (referred to as Limitation Order L-85) to the apparel industry in order to conserve materials needed for the war effort. The rationing of supplies sparked creativity as well as renewed self-expression.

Even Hollywood was impacted by the wartime restrictions. At the Monolithic Studio's wardrobe department, stylists work their millinery magic with available materials to refresh some of their early costumes.

The result:  Five glorious hats....each one star-approved by Monolithic's leading ladies, Miss Gene Marshall and Miss Madra Lord.

J'Adore Gene Marshall wears a fashionable red leather tilt hat made from a vintage shoe clip. The clip was removed and a circle of felt was added to finish the underside of the hat. Ashton Drake's red crepe jacket/dress ensemble is now the perfect "Smart Set".

Blue Fox Gene Marshall accents her black and cream striped dress with a delightful black ribbon tilt hat that began as a flower lapel pin. "Lucky Stripe" gets a make-over by adding a belt and moving the side drape so the beautiful pleating is visible. Dress, jewelry, gloves, and Miss Marshall are all from Ashton Drake.

The hat from Robert Tonner's "Fresh Take" gets a fresh re-take by re-shaping the wired bandeau into a dramatic red feathered tilt topper perfect for Tonner's Reporter in Red suit ensemble from the Brenda Starr Collection. Jewelry from The Couture Touch. "Fresh Take" costume is from the Ann Harper Collection. Like A Fox Madra Lord is from Ashton Drake.

The satin ribbon hat from Ashton Drake's Star Wardrobe Collection brown accessories set was updated with vintage millinery trim for a spectacular floral confection. Suit, gloves, and jewelry are from Ashton Drake. J'Adore Gene Marshall is the FDQ exclusive doll from Mel Odom and JamieShow.

Dark Desire Madra Lord graciously poses for the cover of Movie Star magazine wearing a fabulous tilt hat that was once the little tam from Ashton Drake's "Bonnie and Blythe" costume. The red pom pom and black vinyl trim were removed from the original hat. Buckram was inserted for shape and support and the underside finished with felt. Dramatic vintage trim accents the "new" hat. Dress, jewelry, and Miss Lord are from Ashton Drake. Fur cape from Dimitha.

Next time:  Make a circa 1940's tilt hat for Miss Marshall.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dressing for the Cocktail Hour

A chic daytime dress superbly executed in sumptuous silks or satins and topped with an elegant chapeau. Gloves, handbag, and costume jewelry mandatory. In the late 1940's, Dior coined the term "cocktail dress", and with it our fascination with the cocktail culture.

1945 OOAK Feathered Cocktail Toque

During the 1940's. black was the favorite color for the cocktail dress. J'Adore Gene Marshall wears a classic Bogue's Vogues black silk sheath accented with a side drape. Accessories include a marvelous black suede and pleated faille toque with jet beading accented with a lavish turquoise feather cockade and a matching structured handbag, both from The Couture Touch. "Diamond" jewelry and bow-enhanced black gloves are from Ashton Drake.

1950's cocktail dresses were either form-fitting or full-skirted with low plunging necklines and cinched waists. Silkstone Barbie Parisienne Pretty wears the navy silk stunner from Haute Doll Magazine's D.A.E. Original's exclusive "Weekend in New York" set. She wears her original earrings and hat. Pearl necklace and fur are from Mattel.

By the 1960's pastel colors were the preferred choice for cocktail dresses. Mattel's Mad Men Joan Holloway wears Integrity's Fashion Royalty yummy "Purple Factor" wiggle sheath borrowed from Adele Makeda. A perfect color for her titan tresses.

Source: metmuseum