This Christmas my gifts have been things that I have made myself, which I believe have more value (and require much more effort) than going to the shops and buying something or the other. Basically I have been running around like a headless chicken for a few days trying to finish up my gifts (and had no time to do something nice for Peter, sorry Peter!).
My brother Joaquín has been nagging me for a long time to make him a hat (and rightly so), so for him I’ve made a fur felt Fedora that suits him really well. For my brother Jose Manuel I thought it would be great to make a Smoking Cap, and I think it was a great idea because he looks very dashing on it (turned a bit too tight, so I’m fixing it now). For his girlfriend Helena I adapted this pattern hat from the Japanese Book to fit her small -but smart- (54.5 cm) head, and she looks like a million dollars.
Here are some more pictures of the hats:
For my Mom I made a tote bag with long comfortable handles. The cotton fabric (Kleo by Alexander Henry) is very colourful and works very nice on a bag. The tote has a small pocket for the cell phone, a big pocket, and a strip of fabric with a clip to hold the keys. It has a rigid oval base, so it stands comfortably.
Ever since I made the knitting bag for my Mom, she’s wanted to have a street tote bag. She doesn’t go out at the moment because of health problems, but I hope this gift will encourage her to start going out on little walks with me.
All in all it was fun to make the gifts myself, and I’m happy to say that they were greatly appreciated.
Happy Holidays to you all, and my best wishes for 2009!
One of the hats I made for the Hat Week exhibition was this Bird of Paradise in felt.
I’ve been thinking about having birds on my hats for a long time, and after having a lot of sketches done I decided to try and give it a go. My idea at first was to cut a silhouette of a bird to then appliqué it on a hat, but once I had designed and cut out this bird I decided it deserved to be on its own.
It’s made with one of the felt cones I bought during my escape to Kopka in Germany. It’s a beautiful peach bloom fur felt cone off white in colour. With the idea of making the most out of the cone I folded it in four selctions and then traced the shape of the cone into a piece of paper. I drew the shape of the bird within that space, using up as much of the felt as possible. The result is pretty good, and the curvature of the cone is ideal because as a result the bird sits very nicely on the head (with the help of a metallic Alice Band).
The tricky part (one of the very many) was the cutting of the felt. I traced the shape with a pencil on the wrong side and used small curved scissors for the intricate parts. Once I had my first bird cut out, is when I decided I wanted it to be a hat on its own, which meant that I would have to cut another one identical and sandwich them together with some millinery wire in the middle to allow me to adjust the position of the wings and tail.
I must confess that I didn’t expect this to succeed, so I stopped taking pictures altogether (no one really wants to document a complete disaster), but here is what I did:
I wired the bird following the contours, and sewing with a curved needle without going through the felt.
I cut the second bird, but this time I cut it slightly outside the line, so later I could trim it to exactly the same contour as the other one.
I cut a section of narrow tubular ribbon and inserted the thin metallic Alice band into it.
I tried on the hat and decided on the position of the Alice band, and I pinned the ribbon in place (the idea of the tubular ribbon is to allow the band to be adjusted, and even to replace the band with one of a different the colour).
I glued the two birds together section by section. I used a glue called Copydex by Pritt. It’s nice because it comes with it’s own brush attached to the cap, which minimizes the mess, and it makes a great bond.
Once it was glued together and dry I trimmed the edges of the felt to even them out, and I sanded the edges slightly.
This hat (and I call it a hat because I do not like the word fascinator) had a lot of attention during the exhibition, and one of the visitors, a young lady, unpinned it from the chair and tried it on (see picture below)… next time we will have to chain them on!