July 6, 2010

Setting the crown depth on the sewing machine

I’m making a summer straw hat for my dear friend Eulalia, I’m sure she will use it often (we have no lack of sunny days here in Barcelona).

I am using a brim block that does not have a hole in the middle and because of that I’ve had to first block the crown, and then cut the straw material separating crown from brim in order to block the brim separately.

Having to cut through a straw capeline is a scary thought and it’s important to think it through before getting the scissors. I’ve finally decided to run a row of stitches all around the crown before cutting it in order to avoid the straw from fraying, and also to have a good guide for cutting.

The tricky thing here is to have an even depth all around the crown and that is why I Macgyvered a way to do it. After deciding the desired depth I taped a ruler to the front of the free arm so that when the tip of the crown was in contact with the ruler the needle fell exactly at the point where I wanted my stitches to be. As I was sewing around I kept the flat tip of my crown in contact with the ruler thus keeping the stitching at a constant crown depth.

I will let you know how the hat progresses!


  1. Ei Cristina!!
    Que bonitos los sombreros que haces!!!y el blog me encanta, muy util, ahora solo me falta perfeccionar un poco mi inglés…

    Comment by agnes — July 20, 2010 @ 10:44 am

  2. Gracias Agnes!!!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — July 20, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  3. Una ingeniosa idea Cristina, como todas las que tú tienes.
    Los sombreros de paja son preciosos y muy fresquitos.Estoy deseando verlo terminado.

    Comment by carmen — July 29, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  4. I love watching your cork block making, as well as your summer hat and the way you showed how to saw a straw hat. Please be patient cause I’m just a quarter mixed Filipino-Hispanic,here in the US but does not speak the dialect.Thanks and have a nice day.

    Comment by roland arcebal — September 21, 2010 @ 3:24 am

  5. Sounds very exciting, but my suggestion to you – work with your hands. Straw dos not like sewing machines and responds much better to hand stitching techinques. In my Atelier I have abandoned the idea of working with sewing machines all together, only hand work. The best instrument God gave us is our hands. Can not wait to see the final result. :-)Good luck!

    Comment by Anya — October 14, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  6. Dear Anya,

    I suspect you have not thoroughly visited my blog and just landed at this post, otherwise I don’t understand your comment.

    I am a firm believer in handstitching. I am nevertheless convinced that a sewing machine is not a bad thing, and that an “anti-technology” approach to millinery is misguided. In this case, staystitching the straw was the best thing I could do, and doing it by hand would not have worked as well.

    I believe that both design and execution should be important, and I’d rather have a machine sewn hat that has incredible design than a mediocre handsewn hat, and I guess you would agree on that point.

    Good luck to you too.

    Cristina de Prada

    Comment by cristinadeprada — October 25, 2010 @ 11:39 am

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