Sunday, 25 October 2020

Autumn Roses hat - part 2, completing the hat

Once I had made the basic structure of the two hat brims, the next stage was to cover them in fabric. My stash contains several pieces of black satin, and I chose one which was lightweight and drapey, but thick enough to cover the white base well. I covered the brims with the fabric wrong side out, and made the binding with the fabric right side out, to replicate the contrast on the original.

Showing the shiny contrast binding

It’s always tricky to take 'in progress' shots of anything made in plain black, because they invariably turn out as just dark blobs of various shapes. Suffice to say that the lower brim was easy to cover, the upper brim was not, I had the sense to attach the binding to the upper brim before I attached the brim wire, and I made the binding slightly too wide. Then, when I came to sew the brims together, I discovered I had a problem.

Oops! Mind the gap

Although the upper brim on the original hat looks the same width all round, it's possible that it was made longer at the back so that the two layers would meet. My layers however were a long way off meeting. The original hat has a small, almost flat, crown, similar to the stay in Vogue 7464. I decided to make my version more curved, and to attach the back of the upper brim to this. Then, I struck lucky. While looking for some buckram scraps in my 'millinery bits' box I found a small fascinator base - I think it had been a freebie in a goody bag I received at an event at The Hat Works. It was the perfect size, and far more rigid than anything I could have made. I covered it with some soft, fluffy interlining to make it smooth, and then with a layer of fabric.

Freebie to the rescue

I had to put a strip of binding over the seam where the upper brim was attached to the crown, but hoped that once the hat was trimmed, it wouldn't show too much.

The completed, untrimmed, hat

Once the basic hat was made, it was time to trim it. This project has been percolating in my brain for a couple of years, and I bought the silks for the flowers ages ago. The colours were chosen to go with a length of dress fabric which has been in my stash for . . . ooh, ages. I couldn't find the templates from the silk flowers workshop I did with the Millinery Magpies, but fortunately this blog came to the rescue - I was able to recreate them from this photograph I'd taken at the workshop.

The flower shapes - thank goodness for blog pictures!

I made a mock-up flower, and discovered that I didn't need to use the largest template. Even so, cutting out six fiddly silk shapes for each flower took a long time. The petals were too small for my flower making tool to shape effectively, so instead I used my mini iron with the ball head attachment; and it worked perfectly.

Silk roses production line

Egg boxes turned out to be the ideal size to hold the petals while they cooled and dried.

My high-tech drying arrangement

With the fabric which inspired the colour scheme

To hold the six layers of petals together, I made stamens from embroidery floss, knotted round a length of black thread. Each end of the thread was stitched through the petals and tied underneath, then the threads were used to attach the flowers to the hat.

Making the stamens

In line with the original hat, I added a few leaves, made using silk from my stash. The template for these was easy - I simply snipped a couple of leaves off the rose bush in my yard! Then it was just a case of placing the roses on the hat until I found an arrangement I liked, and sewing them in place. Finally, I lined the crown so that there were no raw edges. Unfortunately, by the time I had done all this it was too late to get any pictures in natural light, so these ones will have to do. (Warning - hat spam ahead!)

Comparison with the original illustration

Side view showing more of the flowers at the back

Front view

This angle really shows off the shapes

Can you tell how much I love this hat?!

It's a while since I’ve done any hatmaking (I have really missed both classes and Open Blocking weekends at The Hat Works this year) but I'm really pleased with how this hat has turned out. It provided lots of puzzles to solve, and has kept me fully occupied for the last couple of weeks - and just now, anything which enables me to turn off from events in the outside world is particularly welcome. It's even made a further little dent in the stash!

Another metre used up

Update 17 November Just for fun I had a go at recreating the original image, although sadly copying the original hairstyle was beyond me!

The Tulip Gazette, November 2020


  1. Replies
    1. Well done I just sew my brim wire around the edge with a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine.

    2. I think I would have to unpick and redo so much if I attempted this on a machine that hand sewing it would be quicker!