Welcome back for part two of my experience making a 1920s costume! Now that my dress is made, it’s time to start accessorizing! This week, we’ll start at the top. Of my head, that is 😉 And not only will I share what I made, I created a tutorial for you so you can make your own! Let’s make a roaring twenties headpiece!
When thinking about creating a headpiece, I wanted to find just the right style. I knew that whatever I made, I wanted it to befit the aesthetic of my dress and, potentially, look like it was actually from the twenties. I also wanted to avoid making something that could be purchased from a cheap costume manufacturer (specifically: the cartoonish flapper headband made out of stretchy sequin trim with a feather in it).
In researching, I found that for headwear, as with dresses, the 1920s offer a lot of opportunity for exploration of silhouette within the general design aesthetic of the period. There is no shortage of incredible inspiration in twenties headwear! Three main styles of 1920s women’s evening headwear stood out to me: flapper caps, evening cloches, and headpieces. I’d like to share some of my favorite pieces I found during research!
Evening cloches provide the most coverage. They are full cloche-style hats that have been decorated with sequins, beads, rhinestones, lace, velvet, and more.
Flapper caps have less coverage than cloches, though still cover most of the head. They often have a row of fringe around the bottom or tassels, which provide extra movement when dancing the Charleston!
Headpiece is a kind of catchall category for headwear that provides minimal coverage, including headbands, tiaras, and bandeaux.
Though I would have loved to make an evening cloche, due to my time constraints for this project I decided to make something that falls into the ‘headpiece’ style.
Inspired by the color palette and peacock motif of my dress fabric, I started searching for materials and designs. Initially, I thought that using peacock feathers might be suitable for my headpiece. Peacock feathers are an incredibly popular choice for contemporary versions of 1920s headwear. At Nancy’s, we have a lovely selection of millinery supplies, including feathers and feather pads. I pulled all our peacock feather options for consideration.
On reflection, I decided that the coloration of natural peacock feathers competed to much with the colors in my dress fabric. I decided to pull more neutral options in millinery supplies.
While I liked the look of the black and off-white options, I also wanted my headpiece to be more vibrant and colorful. I stepped into our fabulous Ribbon Room to look for inspiration. With the color palette of my dress in mind, I found the perfect trim to use for the band: a turquoise Art Deco-look woven trim with a graduated picot edge on one side. From there, I picked up a gorgeous vintage ribbon woven in gold metallic with black and pops of orange-red, blue, and green. I selected black velvet millinery leaves to create a base, and for a bit of additional texture, I chose small black feathers and Swarovski® crystals.
Amusingly, I found the perfect inspiration for my design in the form of a vintage potholder.
With my supplies on hand and my design in mind, I made my headpiece. I absolutely love how it turned out!
In the mood to make a 1920s inspired headpiece? Follow the tutorial below to make one of your very own!
1920s Headpiece Tutorial
Please note that this headpiece will be constructed in the same fashion as the one shown above, but for ease of photographing, I am making it in a different color palette and using different materials. This is an easy hand-sewing project that is also super fun!
- Millinery leaves (1 sprig with a minimum of 5 leaves)
- Small piece of ribbon with a ‘medallion’ style motif (should coordinate with leaves)
- 1-1/2 yards of ribbon or trim
- Thread (should match leaves)
- 9″ x 9″ square of crinoline (black or white to best match your color palette)
- Small feathers (optional; not depicted in this tutorial)
- Rhinestones (optional; can use heat-set, sew-on, or set-in; not depicted here); sequins would also work well.
- Fray Check
- Hand sewing needles
1. Use Fray Check around edges of medallion motif.
Cut motif from ribbon.
2. Separate millinery leaves and select what you want to use.
3. Arrange your leaves and medallion motif.
4. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, begin to sew the leaves to your crinoline. The nice thing about a project like this is you don’t need to stitch a lot; some simple tacking does the trick!
Note: If you are adding feathers, I recommend sewing at the same time as each individual leaf. Continue to add the leaves until they are all tacked to the crinoline.
5. Add the ribbon motif to the leaves.
Turn the whole thing over and trim away the extra crinoline. Be sure not to snip your stitches!
Note: If you are adding rhinestones, I recommend doing so at this time.
6. Now it is time to add the band! Start by folding the trim in half and sewing it to one side of the crinoline (I always start with the left side). Once that’s in place, try it on and adjust the loose ends of the trim so the headpiece is comfortably snug. Pin and sew to the other side, mimicking the shape of the already sewn trim and how it is folded.
7. Finish the back side of the headpiece. I use another piece of crinoline, but other good options include felt or a piece of fabric that won’t unravel.
8. Try on your beautiful new 1920s style headpiece and admire your handiwork!
Join me again for the next installment when I make a purse to coordinate with my ensemble! I have some particularly fun inspiration to share! And stay tuned for the final reveal!