Sunday, January 22, 2012

Work in Progress: Kanzashi and Shisha Embroidered Hat

by Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri of ElephunksTrunk

Creating miniature pillbox hats that sit off center on your head has become my new favorite millinery process. These tiny hats are held in place with a hat elastic that sits under your hair, and thus can be worn by anyone. They can be an elegant accessory or a platform for spunky decoration, depending on my mood. Here you can see my newest design in progress. I have built the pillbox frame out of buckram and wire, and am now working on the fabric that will cover the frame. In the past I have covered the frame with my chosen fabric, and then set about decorating it once the fabric is in place. By sewing the fabric and elastic on first, I can place the decorations on the hat while modeling it in front of the mirror. However, sewing flowers or feathers to a hat once the fabric is on the frame can be difficult. This time I am trying to decorate my fabric before placing it on the hat. This means that I have to trust my imagination and design skills to place things well without being able to try it on, but the construction process will be easier.

This particular mini-pillbox hat will be covered in shimmering silver dupoini silk. I have made a black silk kanzashi flower, which will feature a small mirror in the center. Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese art form in which fabric is folded and sewn into intricate flowers. Geisha often wore kazazhi in their hair. I like to combine different kinds of craft forms in my hat. My kanzashi flower will be anchored to my hat using a form of embroidery from India, called shisha, in which bits of mirror are sewn into the garment.

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