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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

Donning a Derby

I have a vintage bowler hat that actually fits me (I think it might be a kids’ hat), and I had the perfect excuse to wear it on Sunday night!

My vintage bowler (or derby) hat.

The inside crown label says it was made by Dunn & Co. in Great Britain.  There are other things like “Lightweight” and “Piccadilly Circus – London” stamped on the leather band around the inside edge.

The inside of the hat.
It might be a size 6 ¾ if the label “634” translates into a fraction
(which would make since according to my head measurement).

My church has a wonderful Fine Arts/Concert Series organized by our Organist & Director of Worship Benjamin Kolodziej (ko-LO-jee).  Sunday night’s concert was a special treat – a silent movie with live pipe organ accompaniment!  (Yes, my little church has a real pipe organ!)

The film shown was The General from 1926 starring Buster Keaton accompanied with an original score by Mr. Kolodziej.  It is a fantastic comedy with crazy stunt work and a huge number of extras.  It was quite impressive from a moviemaking point-of-view.  What made it magic was that there was no “magic” trickery like there is in modern movies; they set up a camera, performed amazingly dangerous stunts involving stream-powered locomotives, and coordinated hoards of people & horses to play Civil War soldiers – all often in single takes!

It was so much fun to see the film in such an authentic style with live music and to hear the children in the audience laughing just as much as the adults!  It’s a great piece of cinematic history – I highly recommend renting it from Netflix if you have an account.

Benjamin never misses a chance to wear a fun hat, so I knew I’d have a chance to get a photo of us both wearing our bowlers afterwards.

Two authentic derby hats. (That’s the church’s harpsichord on the far left.)

Bad lighting + cell phone camera = not so great picture.  However, it’s infinitely better when you can use fun photo editing effects like “Aged Newspaper”.

To improve the bad quality, I chose “aged 80 years” and added a border.

But my favorite version of the picture is the cropped and oval framed version of Benjamin by himself:

Perfect for a period-authentic concert program bio!

In May, there’s going to be a concert titled “Titanic at 101: Music of the Edwardian Age” – perhaps I should plan on a Downton Abbey inspired outfit…

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14 responses to “Donning a Derby

  1. pmoppins January 22, 2013 at 6:36 am

    OOOOH! I love it! The whole silent movie concept, the fact that your church has a pipe organ (ours does too – that was actually an important part of finding a church home for us) AND a harpsichord. Such fun!

    • Brooke January 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

      I was surprised that a church in this area (that isn’t one of the bigger ones) had a pipe organ, but when you have a wonderful organist (who is also the chapel organist & teacher at one of the major universities in Dallas), you want to make sure you keep him around. =)

      The harpsichord appeared a couple years ago – I thought it was a temporary thing (maybe it was at first) but it’s been there ever since. He uses it periodically for classical pieces during the service.

  2. thevintagetraveler January 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    It sounds like such a fun evening! I love that the kids were really getting into it.

  3. Karen January 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Brooke, you look great in that hat! You didn’t say where you acquired it?

    • Brooke January 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks! My wonderful mother-in-law sent it to me years ago – I think she found it in a thrift store somewhere in Ohio or Michigan. I was so excited to get such an authentic bowler and beyond thrilled when it actually fit my tiny head! =)

  4. Cation Designs January 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    You look darling in your hat with that hair! I especially love the aged photo effect. Also, I’m pretty impressed with your church’s doings…a silent movie with live organ?! So cool!!

    • Brooke January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks! I wore my hair flipped out that morning so it isn’t really 20s style, but I thought it worked okay with the bowler. (I have a retro 20s cloche that looks really stupid with the flip, but is cute when I turn my hair under.) I had a little too much fun playing with the photo editing, hehe.

      And yes, for a small church, we have quite interesting extra activities – I wish all my online friends could have come too!

  5. Leila January 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I’m impressed with your church, too. Very fun. Love the hat. I don’t know if it’s because I know it’s authentic …but it looks like it is.

    • Brooke January 24, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Thanks! I read somewhere that bowlers were made to be “hard hats” of sorts. And the real kind (like mine) really are! I’m not sure I could permanently dent it even if I sat on it because the inner structure is so stiff!

      • Leila January 24, 2013 at 11:46 am

        that’s interesting and maybe this is unrelated but you know how in movies if someone’s being put down they punch a hole thru their hat? I wonder if that started in connection to the hats being made on the cheap, or that a man with less means wouldn’t be able to afford a real quality “hard hat” hat.

      • Brooke January 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        Hmm… interesting thoughts! And here’s a little more about bowlers being “hard hats” and also the “everyman” hat, when before, hats were a sign of rank in society.

  6. agirlinwinter January 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    That hat looks great on you! It sounds like a really fun evening.

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