Friday, August 31, 2012

Parrots Revitalized!

I finally finished my double-parrot hat! I had originally purchased this massively-in-need-of-TLC fixer-upper hat from Tarnished Past on Etsy.  The seller knew I loved birdie hats, dabbled in millinery, and can't resist "project" hats.  I love being given the chance to restore hats to their former glory, and I believe that this double faux parrot hat is a shining example of that!

When I first received that hat, the birdies were just a mess.  The hat body, while dented and a little stained, was structurally sound, and could be left as-is (I think the dents add character!).  The veil had a few minor tears in it, but not so much or so badly that it needed to be replaced.  Plus, it's a GORGEOUS high-end veil, so I wanted to keep it if at all possible.

 Photos courtesy Tarnished Past
The birdies were was missing its beak entirely, and both were practically devoid of feathers!  What feathers remained were so old that a mere touch was enough to disintegrate them. I could tell I had one heck of a rebuilding project in front of me!  I didn't like the original feather colors of yellow and grey - I felt that they too closely matched the color of the straw hat, and made the birds blend in.  They were supposed to be parrots, so shouldn't they be colorful like parrots?!  I started researching real parrot feather prices, and quickly realized that this option was way out of my budget.  So, I went into my millinery trunk (yes, I have an old steamer trunk I have converted into storage for my millinery supplies!), and came across a vintage 1950s feathered bandeau.  I had been given the bandeau for free from a woman who knew I enjoyed hats and millinery.  The bandeau was in shambles, but the feathers were intact, easily removed, and therefore still useable for other projects.  I had definitely found their "other project!"  I also had some red duck wing feathers that I had been given earlier in the year, and two of the original yellow feathers off of the hat were still useable.  These feathers became the parrot tail feathers!

I tried my hand at clay sculpting for the first time, and fashioned a little beak for the 2nd parrot. I was worried that the clay would end up being too heavy, but I did my best to make the beak hollow, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that - once dry - the weight wasn't too much for the glue to hold. 

So there you have it!  A finished hat - revamped and revitalized, while still staying true to its original vintage style.  I LOVE the feathers I used for the parrots! They really catch your attention and make the hat pop! 

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