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Get Your Make On: Mucha-Inspired Headdress Tutorial

DATE:  October 6, 2016     CATEGORIES:  Blog

by Arlene Elkins

I’ve always been a fan of Alfonse Mucha’s work. The Czech artist’s illustrations and advertisements are the epitome of Art Nouveau. His trademark images of women with long flowing hair and dresses, often surrounded by flowers would make a costume that would make anyone stand out at a costume party.

Mucha Job Ad

One of Mucha’s most famous illustrations, this was made for an advertisement for Job cigarette paper in 1896.

My inspiration came from the series that Mucha created depicting women as the seasons. I chose Autumn (it is October, after all) from 1900’s The Seasons.

The Seasons

The Seasons from 1900. Autumn is the second from the right.

deconstructed headdress

Headdress, deconstructed

Here’s what you will need to make an Autumn headdress– with the exception of the elastic and thread which I already had in my stash, I bought all the supplies at Michaels (there is one up the street from us in Porter Square).

Ribbon ($3.99 per roll)
Two fake flowers in autumn colors ($3.99 each)
Orange and gold sliders ($7.99 for seven)
Green wooden disk-shaped beads ($5.99 for four)
Elastic band
Thread

In Mucha’s illustration, Autumn’s headdress had large orange pieces surrounded by smaller green pieces, but I couldn’t find the beads in the correct color and sizes, so I switched it to large green pieces surrounded by orange. Remember, this is inspired by Mucha’s image, so feel free to make any substitutions you wish.

1. Measure your head. Cut ribbon and the elastic to add up to your head measurement, plus a couple of inches– roughly 3/4 of the measurement is ribbon and the other quarter is ribbon. The ribbon ends should go behind your ears.

Pro-tip: Use thicker ribbon. Ribbons made of thin or sheer material may not be able to handle the weight of the beads and flowers.

step1

Fold the ribbon around the elastic

Wrap one end of the ribbon around the end of elastic. The ribbon should cover at least a half inch of the elastic band. I hand-sewed the ribbon onto the elastic, but you can also use a sewing machine if you have one. Repeat on the other end.

sewed ribbon

2. Now you have a headband! Remove the flowers from the stems– I pushed the flower off the stem and then cut off the leftover plastic bit.

Prepare flower

Sew the flowers slightly above where the ribbon and elastic meet– the flowers should sit by the tips of your ears when you put on the headband. I needed a thick needle for the flowers because they had so many petals. If you’d like some extra security, you can use a bit of fabric glue to stick the flowers on the band before you start sewing.

flower headband

A view of the flowered headband from the side. The flower sit by my ears.

3. Sew the disks between the flowers, spacing them evenly.

sewing

headdress half way done

The headdress with the flowers and disks.

In between the disks, sew two of the orange and gold sliders. Normally used for bracelets, sliders are great for sewing! They have two sets of holes which gives you extra hold and the holes are generally large enough for any sized needle. Because I had some spacers left over, I sewed them inside the disks.

sewing sliders

And you’re done– if you want to be! The great thing about this headdress is that you can make it as simple or complicated as you want it. You can continue to add to it (I might had some tassels or chain) or wear it as is.

I spent roughly two hours on the headdress. Your time may vary depending how comfortable you are with hand sewing. Using a sewing machine in the beginning may also shave off some time.

mucha inspired headdress

All finished! Thank you to Skunk for letting us use his space for a backdrop!

Arlene is a maker, dancer, and art administrator. She is also the co-producer of Cafe Raqs, a monthly belly dance show at the Arts at the Armory. Her hobbies include museum-going, reading, and sarcasm.

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