August 29, 2008

Hat from self made pattern (from 3D shape) – persian lamb


A short while ago I tried to make a flat pattern from a 3D design that I had previously sculpted out of plasticine. It turned out pretty good although the resulting pattern had many darts (in order for it to stay flat). If you didn’t read about that process you can do it now by following this link.

This time I’ve tried to see what would happen if I eliminated the darts and compensated by cutting the pattern pieces on the bias.

First I’ve traced the pattern pieces onto another paper and reduced the width on the sides to compensate for the darts that I’ve eliminated. Only one dart remains, on the back, that will help to do last minute adjustments to the right headsize size. I’ve also modified the pattern so the hat has a nice tilt to the right by trimming the bottom on that side.

Once I traced the pattern onto the fabric and cut the fabric, I machine sewed the side panels together and trimmed the seam allowances. Finally I sewed the top piece on. The result was a bit flimsy and the top piece did not stay nice and flat, so I decided to zig-zag nylon wire to the top edge using the beading foot of the sewing machine.


Finally I zigzagged the seam allowance so that it all stayed in place. That was a bad idea because the zig-zag was visible on the outside. Fortunately brushing the pile with a wire brush helped to hide it, but next time I will do that bit by hand.

The hat is finished on the inside by slipstitching the hem first and a grosgrain ribbon onto it (which also helps to adjust the headsize). For the moment I’m leaving it without lining because it looks pretty neat as it is.


Here are more pictures of me with my hat (I’ve used a American vintage brooch -possibly early 50’s- to cheer it up):


August 17, 2008

Black cloche for a theater play – ribbon trimming

Filed under: Black straw cloche,Millinery projects,millinery techniques and cheats — Cristina de Prada @ 11:41 pm

Black cloche straw hatThis beautiful 1920’s cloche is the result of the combined efforts of Nina and me. All credit for the design must go to her since I just helped her apply the trimming.

The first vintage ribbon that we were going to use, a wide waxed black ribbon turned out to be “burnt” and ripped very easily so it ended up in the bin.

The second choice, this beautiful vintage moiré ribbon looks very beautiful on the hat.

Nina thought of this classic ribbon trimming, where a running stitch following a zigzag pattern is made, and when the thread is pulled the ribbon gathers in a beautiful manner. She asked if I knew how to make it and I remembered seeing it in a book (probably more than one), so I just went ahead, and it was relatively easy. I marked the sections (corners of the triangles) with pins, and although I began by folding the ribbon and marking it with my nail, I ended up just doing it by eye using a long needle.

Here is a picture from one of the books that show how to make this ribbon trimming (often referred to as purled ribbon or shell trimming).

This is from a book called “Ribbon Trimmings A Course in Six Parts” by Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences Department of Millinery (Reprinted by Viv’s Ribbons & Laces, Sloan Publications ISBN 0-9631893-0-1).

Here is a detail picture (sorry for the low quality!):

The beads are in fact plastic half spheres with two little holes to sew them on. They shine wonderfully. The three ribbon pieces that stick up have been carefully sewn in place for a natural look, and give the hat a nice sense of movement (we used up to the last centimeter available of the ribbon!). Finally, just say that the hat is unfinished, and will have a long black veil hanging from the right side, because it’s going to be a mourning hat on a theater play.


August 16, 2008

Beehive hat “crossroads” – another hat with the new block

Beehive hat crossroads version

Here are some pictures of the block and of the process of making this hat (click on any of the pictures for an enlarged view).

This is the seagrass cone used for this hat. People not familiar with the hatmaking process will be interested in seeing this (often people don’t understand how the whole thing works!):

Seagrass cone

And this is the new block, that I love, bought at Van der Broek block makers in the Netherlands. Their website is in Dutch, but soon they will have an English version:

Hat block - beehive


I’ve simply sprayed the cone with water and blocked the top (it’s an easy shape to block). the headsize opening sinks into the block, so I’ve used a sort of brace to get a neat finish. I made the brace following a tutorial from the incredible and highly recommended The Hat Magazine. It’s from one of the early issues, and I had not found a use for it until now!

Blocked seagrass cone  Underside of the block  Headsize brace

Below are pictures of me, pinning the brace in place with my wonderful new tool, the pin pusher. I discovered the tool through HATalk e-magazine. It was one of their monthly giveaways, and when I contacted them about it they said I could buy it directly from them. Two pin pushers (one for me and one for Nina!) cost £19.85 including shipping (from UK to Spain), which I find very reasonable.

I’m in love with my new tool. You insert a pin which is held in place (inside a shaft) by a magnet. Then you just push the pin in place (it has a spring). Soooo easy, no more fussing with hammers! In order not to push the pin too deep I have used a collar that came with a drill bit I bought some time ago and that is fixed in place with a little screw.

Inserting the brace on the headsize opening My new pin pusher! Love it! Close up of the pin in place

…There’s much more… click where it says “more” to see the rest.


August 10, 2008

Beehive hat – new hat block

Filed under: Hats made with new beehive block,Millinery projects,Millinery suppliers — Cristina de Prada @ 11:01 pm

New beehive hatI call this shape a beehive because I can effectively wear my hair up and put this hat on. I really love it!

The block is beautiful and it must be said that buying a block (unless you’ve had the chance to try it first) is an act of faith because you can imagine the kind of hat that you will get, but you don’t really know for a fact!

This wonderful block comes from a Dutch block maker called Van der Broek that has an astounding array of block shapes for sale. Their website is in Dutch, but I’ve been told they will have an English version soon.

The material of the hat is a twisted seagrass hood that I bought ages ago at Manny’s in New York city (now sadly going out of business), and it was very easy to block by simply spraying the cone wet and stretching it over the block.

I used straw stiffener (3 layers because the material was quite soft) to help it keep its shape.

The red double silk cording (no idea if it’s called like that or not) that I’ve used for the trimming, is a vintage treasure that I got from my friend Nina. I back stitched the whole length by making long stitches underneath and  tiny ones on top.

Because the material frays easily I have machine stitched the headsize ribbon.

Here are two more pictures of the hat (Mimi modeling the hat with great style):

Back view of the hatClose up of the hat

I have made another hat with this block and will post pictures of the process and of the block. If you cannot wait and want to take a peak just go and take a look at my Flickr pictures

August 5, 2008

Ribbon memo board – easy project for a nice gift

Filed under: Sewing projects — Cristina de Prada @ 5:14 pm

Memo board

I’ve made this old fashion ribbon memo board for my brother Joaquin’s birthday.

I’m very happy with the result, although my idea was to put decorative upholstery nails on the intersections but I couldn’t because the MDF board that I got (kindly donated by master woodworker friend, Esteban) was so dense that I found it impossible to hammer the nails on. I even had to hammer down the staples because they didn’t go all the way down!

If you want to see how I made it, you can check the pictures and comments on my flickr following this link.

If you have any questions, just let me know!

P.S. Yes I’m also working on hats… more on that soon!

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