The continuing saga of two women, their men, and a whole lot of hats.

Posts tagged “Millinery

The Suit Hat

One day, she looked around and realized that Prudence’ once bountiful wardrobe was now a thinning supply room. Like a magpie in the graveyard, Temperance had plucked and picked every bauble and frill, taken panels of fabric from without and within to adorn her one of a kind creations. Looking upon the threadbare threads only served to mirror the reality of her sister’s lingering absence. And the sadness was almost too much for Temperance to bear. The only styptic for such a wound was creativity. But what does one create with dwindling supplies?

They say necessity is the mother of invention. And Temperance now knew this to be true. For as she was looking around a shop still rife with men’s finery, she realized that she had only scratched the surface of her resources. Prudence was not the only one who had flounced across oceans. Henry was even more to blame for her sister’s extended absence. And so Henry would be the one to offer Temperance his support.


Breaking the Fourth Wall: Help With Your Inspiration Boards

The Sisters Brimm is approaching 1000 likes on Facebook and we think it’s a great time for a contest, the prize of which is a custom creation by us. Here’s how it works:

To enter start building inspiration boards based on what you would like to see in a Sisters Brimm creation!

Your inspiration board can be based on:

a current costume/outfit you have

a costume/outfit you are planning to put together for the future

a theme or persona you base your outfits on

Like our page, share our page and post your inspiration boards to our Facebook page or our Instagram.

Tag us @TheSistersBrimm

And use #TheSistersBrimm , #inspirationboard & #TheSistersBrimmContest to make sure we see your entries.

When we first posted this contest we thought it seemed pretty straight forward. But we have found, much to our surprise, that the concept of assembling an Inspiration Board has proven a tad daunting to many of our followers. When we talked it over we realized there are many reasons why posting an #InspirationBoard might seem intimidating. Whether it is because of a mild case of stage fright or you just can’t seem to edit your ideas down, putting yourself out there creatively can be a scary thing! Not to worry, The Sisters are here to help!

Inspiration boards can consist of anything you find inspiring: fabrics, accessories, a particular outfit, or a theme. Choose one item that sparks your innermost greed. If you want to own it, hoard it, or possess it, it’s probably a good place to start! The Sisters have a weakness for beautiful fabrics and really amazing feathers.

 

This went on to become one killer custom!

This went on to become one killer custom!

 

You can pick one item and use it to choose your next inspirations by asking yourself simple questions. What characteristics do you like about the item. Color? Texture? Time period? Genre? Materials? Once you know what draws your eye you can search out other items or pictures that have similar characteristics. This is something that many of you are already doing on Pinterest. This is just on a smaller scale. Think of it as an exercise in refinement!

Inspiration can come from anything. Even if the ultimate goal is to create an outfit, your inspirations do not have to ~only~ be wearable items:

 

You can’t wear a vase or a lamp but MY GOD who wouldn’t want to!

 

If you find yourself unsure if what you have chosen works together, try beginning with this simple formula we use all the time. It gives you a clear and concise starting point from which to expand your ideas.

 

Creating a Cohesive Palette

The above collage was done on our Polyvore.com account. Not very Victorian, but a good illustration of how the formula can tie together colors you may not consider compatible or fashionable. Neither of The Sisters are prone to wearing purple and orange together but, if done well, they make for quite a stunning palette!

Try not to over-think your boards and be not afraid! This is an opportunity for you to figure out what makes you happy! Don’t bother with worry over whether or not others will agree. Go forth and create. A beautiful custom hat could be yours and all it will cost you is a little bit of courage!

For more tips and examples of what we find inspiring check us out on Facebook and Instagram (#TheSistersBrimm).


Breaking the Fourth Wall: Reality in the World of The Sisters Brimm

Recently, we here at The Sisters Brimm have decided that it is necessary to add a new section to our blog. In the past, we have used this as a a doorway into the world of the sisters, Prudence and Temperance. After-all, it is through their eyes that these many hats have come to be. However, there is another aspect to these hats. Once they have been dreamt up, it is by the hands of Jamie and Heather, that the hats are guided through the transition from The Sister’s world to ours. And while the Sisters have much to say, it turns out that we do too.

So we feel it is necessary on occasion to “break the fourth wall” offering tips, tricks, and new ideas to help our fellow lovers of Victorian and fantasy headwear present themselves properly!

Gone are the days of gorgeous hats sitting atop meager ponytails! Down with the poorly accessorized gown! 

Ponytail again?

No friends, now, for just a mere moment of your time, you, that’s right, YOU can be the clearest ringing bell at the ball!

Wow. I don’t know when this became an ad. Just goes to show how closely the world of The Sisters Brimm is to our own. One never knows when they may slap the rouge out of your hand or pin up your hair just so that the crowning glory of your crowning glory has a perfectly proper perch!

And while the Sisters have their ideas on fashion, deportment, and sumptuary law, their alter-egos (imprisoned by the meager realities of modern times as are you) do too. We understand that not all, in fact MOST of you do not have lady’s maids to lace your corsets and to properly pin-curl our hair. We sympathize to no end over the fact that “they (whoever “they” are) just don’t make ‘em (whatever “‘em” are) like they used to!” And we thought it was high time, neighbor, you had someone out there to acknowledge your struggle and to FEEL YOUR PAIN.

In short, we are excited and eager to share what we know with you. From building a costume, to fashion history, to suggestions on what the H-E-double toothpicks to do with your hair, we, the sisters behind the Sisters Brimm, are here to help!


Pardon Me

The highly macabre event was not spoken of by civilized folk; and yet, the little hamlet of Bridgeport was “a-buzz” with the news. A few towns over a woman of well-known stature had achieved a most unfortunate sentence of “death by electrocution” by way of a new-fangled chair designed to send lethal current throughout. Many felt this method even worse than hanging and pleaded with the governor to show mercy on her soul and to pardon her from death by The Chair. Rumor had it that the governor would be traveling through Bridgeport while reviewing the case and the idea of being linked to such sensationalism, though most adamantly denied it, had everyone worked into an eager lather.

Mr. Harman Michaels finally whitewashed his entry gate, a task The Women’s League had been bothering him about for several months. The mercantile hung festive bunting along the entire perimeter of their wrap-around porch, an extravagance usually saved for more patriotic celebrations. And the church choir was primed with a trio of songs, each carrying God’s opinion of the excitement at hand.

Temperance, though less concerned with the political or religious implications of the situation, still found the details quite intriguing. She had known the woman at the center of the scandal, Martha, briefly in her youth. And although the two had not spoken in quite a while, a result of a small misunderstanding involving an accident with a sleigh, she felt a personal involvement with the case. In fact, Temperance could not recall the exact reason the two stopped talking. She certainly had not intended to strike the other with the sleigh, so there was no reason to hold a grudge. Still, in the years since the accident, they had only seen each other occasionally, while picking up parcels or passing through town. It was true that Martha’s brother remained exceptionally cross about the situation and, for this reason, Temperance thought it best to avoid them both. 

So the news of Martha’s plight came as quite a surprise. Temperance knew it must have been an accident.  Martha didn’t seem capable of murder. She was a terribly gangly woman, and quite clumsy as evidenced by the mishap with the sleigh all those years ago.

While the idea of entertaining a politician in no way thrilled her (politics is how thieves fail upward, you know), she felt it her duty to speak on behalf of poor Martha. Of course, Temperance’s plan hinged entirely on the governor’s acceptance of her invitation. That is why she made sure to drop the name of Henry Allworthey into her message. Surely all thieves colluded or, at the very least, were bound by a code. It seemed her best chance at luring the man to her. Much to her delight but not to her surprised, her invitation was accepted. The governor and company would indeed stop by for tea.

Upon her guests arrival, Temperance was pleased to find an intriguing addition. Mr. Brown, a scientist credited with the construction of the much talked about “Electric Chair,” was traveling with the governor to lend the benefit of his expertise regarding matters of fitting the chair to a woman’s frame… and he was quite the entertainer! He held Temperance captive as he spoke at great length on new methods of alternating current. While most found electricity a modern vulgarity, she believed it necessary for the advancement of society. It was, after-all, science! And it would benefit households everywhere.

The gentlemen stayed in her company for several hours. Between Mr. Brown’s captivating recitation on the marvels of modernity, and Temperance’s willingness to soak up his sermon, she had barely noticed that, for an extended period of time, the governor was absent. He left for a tour of Prudence’s grand old mansion returning only to inform his company that they really must attend to more pressing matters.

Temperance was, surprisingly, an excellent hostess. She thanked them both for attending tea and welcomed them back at any time. Still giddy with a day full of stimulating conversation, she waved goodbye to the governor’s coach. But, as she headed into the house, she could not escape the sinking feeling that she had forgotten something…. something terribly important.

A few days later the town erupted with shock when it was announced that the woman had indeed been executed.

It was then that Temperance had remembered what she had forgotten.  “Poor Martha.”

Little Sparky


The Caroler’s Headlamp

There was a surplus of miner’s headlamps in the neighboring town of Persecution come Christmas due to an unfortunate but not entirely unexpected mine collapse and M.H. Penniworth, purveyor of fine and overpriced goods, was determined to eliminate them. Convinced that a little rebranding was key, he placed a full page ad in the monthly circular.

Caroling Hat Ad

Upon viewing the ad Temperance was disgusted. “Oh for heaven’s sake! Using God to sell that hat! That is sacrilege, plain and simple! God wouldn’t wear a hat ugly as that! ‘Stylish,’ indeed!”

Though the execution was poor, the idea seemed sound and Temperance felt a woman could certainly do it better. So, do it better she did.

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A Fortunate Adventure

Temperance rapped on the large black door, three loud knocks to herald her presence. She had always wondered about the house down the street with its ruby lamps and red shades in the windows. But the day she caught the lovely Exotic disappearing into its confines followed by a string of three well-suited men, she decided that she must investigate.

She straightened her dress and looked both ways before hitching up her corset which had a bad habit of slipping. Of course it was at that moment that the door swung rapid and wide and an imposing figure peered down at the small woman in mid-hitch.

Temperance giggled madly, arms dropping to her sides, the misbehaving underpinnings slipping back into their preferred place. For once, her nervous giggle worked in her favor. It gave her just enough time to ogle the unusual dress of the woman, her investigation free of the silent and gaping mouth that usually accompanied it. The whole outfit was divine but it was, of course, the hat that clinched it.

“My dear,” the woman said, “Rap once. Rap twice. But n’er rap thrice! One might mistake you for an unruly spirit in need of cleansing.”

Temperance shuddered as the woman’s booming voice delivered the message before finding its way to the street where it frolicked as a chorus of wild echoes. Another nervous giggle escaped. Had she been one to plan, she might have thought of a good reason for her visit. But, being herself, she had none, just the wild curiosity of one whose only company was the rueful clock.

“Oh…but I just had a bath this morning,” Temperance insisted, feeling more self-conscious as now she was caught not only in ill-fitting undergarments, but unclean as well.

“Have you come for a reading,” the lady asked.

Though the woman, a leviathan of extravagant taste, blocked the door, Temperance caught a glimpse of the shadowy parlor just in time to see the Exotic scurry in and out of view, one of the three men she had led to the house comically pursuing her.

Temperance paused, struck dumb by curiosity and a hint of dismay before the sound of her own voice caught her off guard: “Oh!  A reading! Yes!” Another nervous volley of laughter sputtered forth.

The woman peered down at her, one brow arching at the odd little creature. She wasn’t sure she believed Temperance, but she wasn’t one to turn away a customer, no matter how odd.  “Madame Bienvenue,” the woman said, introducing herself as she stepped aside and gestured for Temperance to enter.

Temperance took a reluctant step through the door, her stomach twisting as an unusual smoke teased her nostrils. Her eyes devoured the decor, each room more flamboyant than the next. She had had every intention of finding adventure when Prudence abandoned her in that boring little town and she had a sneaking suspicion that she had finally found it.

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Scandal in the Stacks

She wasn’t much to look at; a young woman, slight of frame, posture, quite correct. Her daily costume was serviceable and free of dust. In fact, it was the town’s general opinion that their librarian was free of most anything interesting. But her commitment to her position was notable. The sun never made her acquaintance for she spent the entirety of her day moving like a wraith among the stacks, her arms full of books, her voice never sounding above a whisper. She was the perfect model of loyalty and efficiency save her mild propensity for the occasional bout of absent-mindedness.

That is why it came as such a shock when Earnest Peppermill, afflicted with a question that simply could not wait, discovered her in the back of the stacks engrossed in one of those French novels his mother had worked so hard to ban.

Rumor has it that little Earnest found her crumpled unceremoniously in the corner reading wide-eyed, white knuckles clutching the sinful volume. “Her cheeks were crimson with stirred desires,” Earnest’s mother assured the good women of the town’s Propriety League. And the news was met with gasping breaths and clucking tongues. They had all had their doubts about that girl from the moment she was hired. After-all, no one can be that unremarkable. No one! And now they had their proof. SCANDAL!