Sunday, 17 October 2021

Hat mending

The house reorganisation trundles slowly on. I must admit that I'm taking a bit of a scattergun approach - mainly because the job is so big that if I tried to plan it all out, I'd just give up altogether! Anyway, in the process of sorting out a shelf in my workroom, I found this.

It's a 1940s hat which I bought at a vintage fair some years ago. It was cheap, because it needed some (OK, quite a lot of) work.

The braid trim was coming loose . . .

Side view - the braid is attached loosely or not at all

. . . as was the stitching which had given it some shape.

There was once a stitched-down fold above the braid

In fact, there were odd bits of loose thread all over the place.

Some of the many loose threads

Inside was no better. The elastic was only attached at one side, and the petersham band was coming unstitched at the back . . .

The back of the petersham and the elastic, there is no label

. . . and the front . . .

The brim had stretched a bit where the petersham had come unstitched

. . . where there was also a hole in the felt.

It looks like a tear, rather than moths

I had thought about fixing the hat several times, but had given up because I couldn't work out what it should look like. Then today, the obvious finally dawned on me - it doesn't have to look exactly as it did when it was made, it just needs to look like a hat I want to wear. Duh!

It's an odd construction. The brim and the top of the crown are made from a heavy, quite coarse felt with a fair number of white hairs in it. However the lower part of the crown is made from a ring of a different, thinner, felt. This is joined to the brim with a narrow seam, but the two parts of the crown are butted together and joined with tiny stitches. I've no idea if this combination was used because the thinner felt was easier to manipulate, or if it was 1940s make-do-and-mend coming in to play. Or both.


I started with the obvious stuff; reattaching the petersham and the braid, and sewing up the hole. Then I had to think about the shaping. The remains of the stitching for the front pleat ended at the sides, but the markings in the felt showed that there had been some sort of fold all the way round.

Marks on the back, but absolutely no shaping left

I recreated the front pleat by following the remaining thread, and decided to sew a very narrow pleat round the rest of the crown. It doesn't show as a pleat, but just pulls the crown in a little.

Small but definite shaping at the back

Finally, I attached a new length of elastic, as the old one had perished. By the time I had done all this, it was too late to take photos of me wearing the end result, but I shall try to do so soon.

All neat inside, now

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