We vowed to design and make this headdress while trying to avoid the hulking beast in the corner (the sewing machine) as much as possible. The only machine stitching here will be of the unseen variety, where two pieces of fabric are sandwiched together, sewn and then turned right way out. If there is any visible stitching, it's going to be minimal.
We had big ideas - we wished to make a simplified version of the gold and lapis lazuli headdress portion of King Tutankhamun's stunningly beautiful burial mask. We needed to attempt some crazy alchemy, and turn fabric into solid metal and semiprecious jewel. Or at least, try and make it look a little like gold and jewels, if we could.
We had to use fabric because we wanted it to be as lightweight as possible - it's going to fit over a large animal mask which is in the works. It still had to move; but it had to look like it didn't.
We’ve made two and a half of these now. Headdress number two (in the photo) suffered from me going insane and electing to sew each of the 75 individual coloured strips into tubes, instead of doing the ‘fold and press’ routine (so much quicker and easier). What was I thinking? Why did I break our vow?
The cost for the fabric comes in at between $20-30, dependent on whether the fabric is at sale price or not.
Step 1: Supplies
Optional: some Hobbyfill, wadding or cloth suitable for stuffing.
Step 2: Sketching the Template.
Step 3: Cutting Out the Template.
Roughly cut it out, leaving plenty of overhang round the edges.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Headdress.
Again, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The above is proof positive of our lack of garment construction knowledge.
Step 5: Preparing the Coloured Strips of Fabric.
For the fronts: iron the first few strips (about sixteen: eight of each colour) so that they’re graduated, like men's neckties: narrower at one end, and wider at the other. In other words, fold the edges over more at one end and less at the other. The rest of the fabric strips are straight.
Step 6: Adding Strips to the Front Sections.
Step 7: Adding Strips to the Back Section.
Step 8: Attaching the Fabric Strips to the Iron-on Interfacing.
Step 9: Sewing the Lining to the Outer.
*Gulp* Here it comes. The biggest amount of sewing on this 'able, and in one single serve:
Machine sew the whole thing around the outer edges.
Leave the headdress unsewn, or open, in the following places:
Sew the bottom few centimeters of the flaps twice, to keep the stitching from unravelling.
(Use the reverse button for these areas, if your sewing machine has one.)
If any part of the seam allowance looks too wide, trim it down to about ½ cm - especially on corners or tight areas. It makes it easier to turn right way out. But don’t trim excessively close to the stitching.
Carefully make some little cuts on any curves or angles, without cutting through the stitching. The cuts should be closer together for the sharper angles and further apart for more gentle curves.
Cut the point off any outward-pointing angles, without cutting through the stitching.
Doing these things takes some of the stress off the fabric when it’s turned right side out, and helps prevent pulling or bunching on the curves and angles.
Step 10: Turning the Headdress.
Follow the steps in the photo sequence.
Put your arms and hands inside the back and reach into the flaps, and carefully turn the whole thing right way out.
After it’s turned, use the handle of a wooden spoon or a thin paintbrush, or something similar, and run it along all sewn edges and points from inside the headdress, to help straighten and flatten the seams. The blunt side of a table knife could be used along the straight edges, and anything with a rounded or bulbed point (e.g. a crochet hook, or the handle of a thin paintbrush) could be used for the pointy areas. Avoid poking holes where there are not meant to be any. Guilty!
Iron the headdress flat.
Step 11: Neatening Raw Edges.
Step 12: Finishing - Joining the Front to the Back.
The machine stitching caused the headdress to look a little squarish or boxy. Handsewing may be the better option here.
Our headdress is very roomy in the front; when the front is attached to the back, a raised space is formed inside the top of the headdress. This was meant to fit over a large mask/head thing that we’re in the process of making; however it was still too roomy, so I took a handful of wadding, shaped it into a cylinder, and shoved the wadding cylinder inside the headdress. You could probably use a rolled tea towel or soft cloth, or cut some foam to fit.