Last Christmas, we picked up My Fair Lady. I hadn’t seen it since high school, and I’d been wanting to watch it for a while, entirely for the hats and certainly in spite of the way the movie ends. I have to give the script writers credit, though: we all loved the movie, and if I had a quarter for every time someone said, “Wow, I didn’t know that saying/song/cultural reference originated here!” I would have at least $2. In fact, I should probably get college credits for watching it.
We decided to become the proud owners of the soundtrack. It was my five-year-old’s idea, and the songs now permeate her own special iTunes playlist… Which is why my toddlers can be found trooping around the house singing songs with such stellar lyrics as “…the Lord above made liquor for temptation…”
So here’s the scoop on this photo shoot: it’s a crafter’s dream, because- HATS! Actually, I don’t think of myself as much of a crafter, so I should probably clarify that anyone with a glue gun and a nice pile of flowers and ribbons can have a heyday.
-This is all about black and white with pops of color. I made a basic white, nightgown-ish dress and then just sewed lace on the neckline and cuffs. A white dress would do, as would a nightgown. I bought this spool of ribbon from Hobby Lobby. It became the belt, hat trim and parasol trim.
-HAT! Tutorial below, but you can do absolutely anything here
–Parasol. I bought one on Amazon.
-Any nice old buildings with beautiful steps, pillars, arches, etc. would work. For example, many state capitals would be perfect. We did our shoot at Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.
-I would have also loved shooting this one at an actual horse track. That would have been epic.
FOR THE HAT
-Hot glue gun
-hot glue sticks
-About a yard of super-thick, double sided interfacing. I got it at JoAnn Fabric, and it was probably at least two millimeters thick, and quite stiff. I actually don’t know what the stuff is intended for, but it was great for this project.
-Fabric to cover both sides of the interfacing. I used plain white muslin
-Lace, ribbons, flowers, feathers
1). Here’s the hat I bought. I got it on Amazon. It’s obviously not a child-sized hat, but I wanted to go with HUGE, and it turned out to be about the same hat to head ratio as in the movie. If I had it to do over, I would probably cut the hat in half ( slice through the brim, up one side, across the top of the hat, down the other…). Then I would somehow sew/stitch/glue it back together in a smaller size. Would it work? Who knows. As it was, I instead stuffed the inside of the hat with quilt batting to make it fit my daughters head a little more snugly, but I felt a little like Henry Higgins was standing over my shoulder frowning at my ghetto fix.
2). I cut all but about a centimeter of the brim off completely. The shape and curve of the brim weren’t working for me. I wanted to make a monstrosity, and it wasn’t going to work with the existing one. If you do this as I did, leave a small amount to support the new brim.
3). I cut a huge oval out of the interfacing, then I cut a hole in the middle of that oval so it would JUST fit over the top of the hat down to the brim without falling off (The photo below is what the hat will look like from the bottom once your new brim is sitting down on the remnants of the old one). This took a little maneuvering, but it’s always best to err on the side of cutting the inner oval too small the first time. I ironed the muslin fabric on both sides of the interfacing and slid the new brim on the hat, gluing it well.
4). At this point, I just started gluing stuff everywhere. I put a whole layer of lace on top of the brim, then I added ribbon, and then all manner of bows and flowers. I still felt it was a little sparse, so I robbed an innocent flower arrangement in my living room of MORE flowers. Here is the basic progression in sad little iphone pictures. If only I had a nice camera and processing software, right? I’m sorry. The cobbler’s children obviously have no shoes here, and the photographer is taking lousy iphone photos. You should probably throw tomatoes at me.
One last little side note is that you don’t want to OVER-decorate the hat or it will be so heavy it won’t stay on your child’s head, especially if it’s quite asymmetrically bedecked.
For the processing, you can get this and other Lightroom presets from my Etsy Shop.