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Enchanted By Sewing The Podcast

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ench By Sew-030: Hats Off to Downtown Abbey!

This show is created, produced and brought to you by Laurel Shimer.

Hats I made recently in Wayne Wichern's Hat Blocking Class

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About the Show
The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  ( which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing

My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live.

This Month's Show - Hats Off to Downton Abbey!

In this month's Enchanted by Sewing show, I talk about the role of Downton Abbey played in inspiring  the hats I've been making. I also share what I've learned about how to make hats. 

Track 1) Pensamientos Primeros – Making Hats -  Inspired by Downton Abbey, and enabled by local milliner Wayne Wichern

Track 2) Technicos A summary of the Techniques I learned something about while making Hats with Wayne Wichern

Track 3) Pensamientos Finales – Pretty as a Picture Hat - Grandmother Lily’s Wedding  - The story of my Grandmother's wedding hat reminds me that it wasn't only wealthy women who enjoyed wearing beautiful hats. Women of every economic bracket have always enjoyed the magic of the perfect hat.

Downton Abbey Themes- Books and Videos

Show Track 1) Pensamientos Primeros – Making Hats -  Inspired by Downton Abbey - Enabled by local milliner, Wayne Wichern (

Why do I love to watch Downton Abbey over and over ?
1) The Romantic setting
2) The fantastic British trained actors
3) The Fashions - my favorite part of Downton Abbey.
The best part of the those fashions? -  Hats! 

So far I see I've linked to over 200
caps, hats and other millinery fashions
on Hats and Other Millinary in Pinterest
I've saved links for many of my favorite hats on my Pinterest board "Hats and Other Millinary". These pictures were great to take to Wayne's class, to give him an idea of what I wanted to  create.

Hey - Am I was the only sewist here who’s excited to find that the newest Cinderella, Lily James, is Downton Abbey’s Rose, and step sister Drusilla is Mrs. Paddmore’s side kick
dear little Daisy? According to the UK’s “Telegraph”, Daisy, aka Sohie McShera, does love the chance to reverse her Upstairs/Downstairs role with Lily, just as much as I’d imagined.

Planning, sewing, and talking about hats lead me to reflect on history associated with women in times past.

Going Beyond Downton Abbey - Flappers Author Judith Mackrell explores life beyond costume dramas, when it comes to celebrity idols of the Flapper era -  British aristocrats Lady Diana Manners and Nancy Cunard, Russian artist Tamara de Lempicka, and three Americans; African American dancer /actress Josephine Baker, Femme fatal, Literati – and Wife of F.Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Southern Belle turned actress, Tullulah Bankhead. These ladies climbed the ladder from lower or traditionally established life styles, to serve as new role models for women from Daisy to Lady Edith. When it came to these ladies' fears, challenges and dreams, Mackrell gets down to the nitty gritty. She lets everything hang out from the seamy side to the highlights of their lives. 

This Black Straw Cloche is one of three hats I made in Wayne's class 

Show Track 2) Technicos A summary of the techniques I learned something about while making Hats with Wayne Wichern


The Gibson Girl Personified the In-Look
for up-to-date professional women like
Grandmother Lily
Show Track 3) Pensamientos Finales – Pretty as a Picture Hat - Grandmother Lily’s Wedding  

In Grandmother Lily's time, picture hats were made popular by the "Gibson Girls" drawn by Charles Dana Gibson. These ladies personified the New Woman feminist movement with which my grandmother and great aunts identified.

Duchess Georgina's
marriage problems, should have
a hint to her descendent
Princess Diana

Ladies have been wearing Picture Hats for several hundreds of years. Early versions were inspired by the Gainsborough Hats worn by Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, ancestress of Princess Diana.


  1. Hi Laurel, just came across your podcast and enjoyed this episode very much! Love hats, love Downton and look forward to more of your podcasts. :)

  2. Hi Laurel, just came across your podcast and enjoyed this episode very much! Love hats, love Downton and look forward to more of your podcasts. :)