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Anslow, Florence / Practical millinery

Chapter VIII: Straw working,   pp. 93-104 PDF (2.4 MB)

Page 100

and repeat this process until the straw is as flat and firm as desired. 
If the straw is thin, the cloth need only be damp, but if thick, 
it may require actual wetting before it will flatten well. Some- 
times it is a good plan to place a damp cloth under as well as over 
the straw while pressing. When the straw has been steamed flat, 
remove the cloth and dry off the brim with the warm iron until 
there is no dampness. In dealing with a curved brim, the straw 
must be eased and stretched under the iron on its outward curve, 
and drawn in and contracted on the inner part of the curve, 
after which it can be gently dried off. When the brim is wired 
at the edge this support will draw the curves up into place and 
keep the straight parts flat. 
    A cotton-wrapped wire is often sewn just within the brim- 
edge on the under side of it, and a second row of straw is sewn 
invisibly over this, unless the brim is being finished with a lining 
.of ribbon or other material. Some workers prefer to sew the 
straw to a thin paper pattern row by row, afterwards tearing 
away the paper before steaming and pressing. 
   The crown is worked from centre to base, as in the former 
method; but when the tip is completed, it should be steamed 
or pressed before the side-crown is worked. When the band is 
completed, the crown is sewn just over the upstanding row of 
straw, round the head-part of the brim. 
   Shapes of crowns and brims are so numerous and so con- 
stantly changing that details in the working of each shape must 
be left to the skill of the worker, but constant reference to pattern 
or block is absolutely necessary until practice has made perfect. 
One or two coats of clear varnish applied after the hat is finished 
will toughen the plait and make the hat dust-resisting. 
   A worker who is the happy possessor of an expanding crown 
block will make constant use of it when steaming, blocking and 
moulding these hats, but unfortunately the expense of a block 
when hats are always changing in form is usually beyond the 
individual student's purse; as a substitute, an old bowler hat 
may often render useful service. 

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