November 21, 2008

Fabric flower hat

I promised to show you the flower on the hat, and here it is. This is one of the hats I’m bringing to Madrid for the Hat week. I’m very honored to be able to show three of my hats there, among those of people who have been in the business very long and are very experienced and well known. 

This pattern is a variation on the one I made from a play-doh model. This version is not only meant to be worn tilted to the right, but also has a shorter crown. I hope you like it!

November 1, 2008

Making a simple flower with flower making irons

A few years ago I took a (very short) course on making artificial flowers using special irons, and after the course I bought the full set of irons. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t attempted to make a flower since, that is until this week. A small pattern hat I’ve been sewing (another variation of the one I created from a Plasticine shape) was in real need of some cheering up and I decided to try my hand at making a flower from the same fabric (a wonderful fabric by Gratacós). Unfortunately this fabric is not made fully of natural fibers, so I’ve had to be very careful with the iron temperature (too hot and the fabric would simply melt).

I’m no expert in making flowers, but here are some pictures of the process and of the results, as well as the pattern. Click here to get the PDF of the pattern. The pattern is loosely based on a pattern from a Japanese book, you can check it out at this link.

First thing to do is to brush the fabric with hat stiffener (the chemical smelling/bad stuff), make sure you do it on a ventilated room or outdoors. In my case I cut circles slightly larger than the pattern and then brushed the stiffener. Hang the fabric outside to dry (the stiffener will evaporate).

Once the fabric is dry one has to cut the flower pattern pieces (3 large ones and 4 small ones). Notice that one of the petal cuts goes all the way to the center which will allow us to overlap one end over the other (one petal over the other).

Now it’s the time to bring out the flower making iron and the cotton fabric covered rubber base (I bought this foam rubber base along with the irons, and covered it with cotton fabric). The rubber base is springy and allows us to push down with the iron and get the right shape.

Because my fabric is not made of natural fibers I had to be extremely careful with the temperature of the iron. It’s better to start with a lower temperature and build up . I pushed down on the center of each petal and then on the center of the flower. When pushing down the iron on the fabric the result will be an indentation that gives the petals a three dimensional feel.

My flower is made in three sections. The center section is composed of one large and two small pieces. Start with a small piece, overlapping the ends, wrap a second small piece around and finally the large piece. Make it so the overlapped pieces fall on different sides. Pin in place. The lateral sections are made in a similar way to the center one but using only one small and one large piece. these are squashed and put at each side giving the flower a nice effect of volume. Pin, arrange, and when you’re happy with the result, sew in place.

To finish off the flower nicely I made a small pad of stiff interfacing covered in the same fabric., the idea was to sew the flower to the wrong side of the pad, making it more stable and easier to sew onto the hat.

Because the result with just the flower was a little bit too classic for my taste I added a halo of biot feathers. These are strips of goose feathers that come sewn in a ribbon and are sold by the meter/yard. Because they are on this ribbon base they are easy to sew onto projects. I sewed the feathers first and then the flower, underneath is the good side of the pad.

The result on the hat is stunning, I will soon post a picture of the finished hat.

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