April 26, 2008

Felt Pattern Hat (with faux astrakhan instead) and new shoes!

Filed under: Felt Pattern hat (shell shape) — Cristina de Prada @ 9:24 am

New hat for my new gorgeous Muxart shoesYou might ask yourself why I’m calling this hat a Felt Pattern Hat when it’s not made out of felt but of faux astrakhan fur. The reason is that the pattern comes from Ruby Carnahan’s book How to Make Hats (the 1952 edition with the red cover -hence not the same book from which the Hat for Ship and Shore pattern comes from, that’s the one with the yellow cover).

One is supposed to make this hat out of a felt hood cut open on one side and ironed flat, the pattern pieces being cut from that open felt.

I was ready to sacrifice this felt hood (well that’s a cone not a hood…), when common sense or perhaps a lack of adventurous spirit made me give up the idea, and switch to the faux fur.

The hat pattern is great, flat on the back where it stays close to the head and wonderfully three dimensional on the front. It kind of looks like a crab shell! You can find the pattern and explanations (which are scarce) on Vintage Sewing’s website, which by the way is a wonderful resource for many other books.

Here are a couple of pictures of the hat in the making:

Inserting ribbon - click to enlarge Working on the ribbon - click to enlargeworking on the ribbon - click to enlarge

Check out the cute little bow on top!I didn’t know how to finish the hat until these beautiful shoes crossed my path. My mom decided to get them for me as an advanced birthday present. They are Muxart shoes, a well known cult brand from Barcelona. They are wonderfully retro, comfortable (although the ball of my feet hurts terribly when I stand up for a while but that is lack of practice) and they are just the right shoe to wear with a hat.

When I got my new shoes I knew it would be fun to put a flat white grosgrain bow on the hat to match the shoes, and I actually had to do that in record time because that very afternoon I got the shoes I went with my friend Nina to a a presentation about fashion tendencies (regarding color, materials, textile and accessories) for winter 2009-2010. The presentation was done by fashion guru Angelo Uslenghi and was very interesting. It was my first time in one of these things and I want to say thanks to Helena who got us in (she belonged to the organizing team).

So I bought the grosgrain and rushed to make and sew the bow in place. I will have to re-do it because it didn’t come out 100% right, and perhaps I will completely change the way it’s laid out on the hat. If I do I will take pictures and show you!

For now these are some close up pictures of the hat as it is, but the flash has burned the detail from the bow, sorry about that!:

Front view of hat - click to enlarge Side view of hat - click to enlarge Back view of hat - click to enlarge

Anyone wants to try and make one of these?

April 22, 2008

Wonderful fashion and millinery books from the University of Wisconsin

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:07 pm

Mrs Conde Nast - Image from the book Woman as Decoration, scanned by the University of WisconsinYou’ve got to love the fact that more and more old books that are now in the public domain are being digitized to make them available to a wider audience. Today a new array of books came to my attention thanks to Shay and her blog Little Grey Bungalow.  As you can see on her blog, she has found out a veritable treasure of scanned books (36 in all, related to fashion and millinery) available online from the Department of Human Ecology of the University of Wisconsin.

I cannot beguin to guess which one of the books will tickle your fancy, but I can tell you I went directly for Emily Burbank’s Woman as decoration, from 1920. And I can tell you I was not disappointed, the title gives it away, and the following jewels come from this book:

From the Foreword: “Contemporary woman’s costume is considered, not as fashion, but as decorative line and colour, a distinct contribution to the interior decoration of her own home or other setting”… “A woman owes it to herself, her family and the public in general, to be as decorative in any setting, as her knowledge of the art of dressing admits”.

From the chapter The laws underlying all costuming of woman: “The ideal pose for any hat is a french secret”.

From the chapter Establish habits of carriage which create good line: “Woman to be decorative, should train the carriage of her body from childhood, by wearing appropriate clothing for various daily rôles”.

From the chapter Woman decorative in her motor car: “It is not easy to be decorative in your automobile now that the manufacturers are going in for gay colour schemes both in upholstery and outside painting”.

From the chapter Woman as decoration when skating: “To be decorative when skating, two things are necessary: first, know how to skate…” (don’ say!!)

The conclusion “Remember, that while an inartistic room, confused as to line and colour-scheme can absolutely destroy the effect of a perfect gown, an inartistic though costly gown can likewise be a blot on a perfect room.”

And now on to the remaining 35 books… My next one is Straw Hats, their history and manufacture, the chapter Hand and Machine sewing looks mighty interesting, very little has been written on that subject!

April 16, 2008

The trilby from the Japanese book is finished!

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Trilby from Japanese book — Cristina de Prada @ 12:31 am

My new hand made hatMy apologies to Jane for my long delay in making this hat, which should have been finished a long time ago (we were going to tackle this project together but I fell behind). She did a super job, you can see her posts on the subject if you follow this link. The hat pattern comes from this Japanese book.

After finishing the hat I must say I get the feeling this is not really a trilby (the pictures on the Japanese book are misleading), because the brim is too wide and the angle too steep.  It must be said though that the pattern is really good and the final hat is beautiful and has a nice structure.

I can reconfirm that the patterns in the book include the seam allowance (I thought they did not at first, sorry again Jane!). In this particular hat we’re talking 0.7 centimeters on the lining and 0.6 centimeters on the rest, except for the headsize which is 1 centimeter. Just knowing that it’s included makes it easier to follow the instructions, even though they are in Japanese.

The fabrics I have used are a black velvet I had left over from this hat and a black and white herringbone wool fabric recycled from an old pair of trousers. I used a heavy weight iron-on interfacing that I thought would give the hat the body it needed,  but I believe that if I do another one of these I will try with a lighter weight interfacing.

To make my life easier, I traced the pattern onto the interfacing, cut it and then ironed onto the outer fabric, although to tell you the truth I started with the wrong foot, adding allowance (which turned out to be included) and worst of all sewing the top and side parts the wrong way around (doh!). But the extra seam ended up being a blessing because it gave me enough space to cut trim the excess and start again.

I made size L, which produces a hat with a 59 centimeter circumference. I believe the end result was a little bit smaller, but seems to be fixable by putting a stretcher and letting it stay there overnight (I did it and it worked, but shrunk back during the day… this time I’ve sprayed it with a little bit of water which I hope will help it to stay in place).

This is a hat that has many possibilities, on the picture I’m wearing it higher on one side, but can also be work square, or down… you name it (to see all pictures, also of making process, click here):

Top view of hat Detail With the brim down. Back view

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