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Dec 27, 2012

Hats Entertainment!



The balder older I get, the more I like hats.

Seriously, I do think hats are great.  Not only do they keep your head warm in winter and cool in summer, they can give an ordinary face a little something extra and they can certainly pull together an outfit.  I have never made a hat myself (a few makeshift turbans notwithstanding) but I've come close.  Remember when I planned to make myself a bucket hat?  For various reasons, that never happened.

But look what came in the mail today:





Readers, this may be the pattern that gets me making hats.  Or at least a hat.

I've generally been of the opinion that hats, like shoes and knit tee shirts, are best bought commercially.  And yet there are all sorts of hat patterns out there.  I picked up this 1950's Vogue at my local flea market.



Some vintage hat patterns are definitely giggle-worthy.  McCall's 8009 makes me think of a wisdom tooth extraction.







Vogue has a line of vintage-inspired hat patterns, as most of you probably know already.
 

The hats on the envelopes always look attractive, but I haven't seen too many made up with great success.  I think this is because, ultimately, hat making is difficult.  It requires an excellent eye for proportion, a good hat face (and a vintage-style hat usually requires a complete vintage-stye look) and access to quality hat making materials.  Most of what I see in the notions stores even here in NYC, like silk flowers or other baubles, look cheap; I've found better looking stuff at the Dollar Store.

Just $1 each!

Still, when I saw Vogue 8893, my men's hat pattern (from 1994) last week on Etsy, I jumped.  Will I make a hat before year's end?  It's possible.

In closing, readers, do you sew hats (other than, say, fleece caps)?  If so, what inspires you to do it?

Do you think sewing hats requires different skills than sewing clothes, or do you see it as pretty much the same skill set?  Perhaps it depends on the hat.

Somebody's buying all those hat patterns (and bidding up the vintage originals on eBay) -- is it you?

Happy Thursday, everybody!



33 comments:

  1. I love hats, but don't wear them as often as I'd like, even though I have what someone once called a 'hat-face': oval with long hair, a shape that looks good in most hats. I just always sort of forget to accesorize (one of my new year's resolutions and the reason I just bought a load of little pins and brooches).

    Sewing my own hats hasn't come to mind yet, especially because I tend to stick to very basic beret and wide-brimmed shapes that are easily found on the high street. Making shoes on the other hand...

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  2. Is it me or does the guy in the lower left corner of the first Vogue pattern sort of resemble Peter? =)

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    1. Actually, I was more struck by the resemblance, not perhaps pronounced but definite nontheless, between Miss 4 Quickie Hats and cousin Cathy...

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    2. Cathy is not averse to the occasional quickie, come to think of it...

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  3. I've sewn a pillbox, a newsboy, a bonnet and a birdcage veil (does that count in hats? I don't know). Hat making, at least the kind that require buckram are hard, like the pillbox. All the others were pretty straightforward. I think you'll be just fine!

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    1. And I've knit 8 hats in various styles and trimmed more hats than I care to remember. Until now I didn't realize how much experience I had with hats!

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  4. I make hats all the time but usually they require very minimal sewing. My go to style is always late 30's-early 40's doll/tilt hats. Some of them I posted about on my blog.

    http://thewackytacky.blogspot.com/2011/04/mad-hatter-on-tilt-o-whirl.html

    I have NEVER made a man's hat though. Mostly because I have the world's biggest head! Good luck!

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  5. I think all of the hats on Peter's pattern envelope are modeled by the same man - but yes, I do think he looks remarkably like you in the bottom-left photo.

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  6. Peter, are you reading my mind? I just got the Vogue pattern a couple of weeks ago. And was just going through it again last night. I'm keen on the earflap hat in a nice heavy wool plaid or tweed and the semi-flat cap they have there as well. And the resemblance on the bottom left picture is high. I've made a few caps, a few berets and an undefined style or two. Looking forward to making many more including a deerstalker to go with my Norfolk jacket and knickers. ha ha.

    Michael

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  7. OMG! That's the first thing I thought, too. That guy looks just like you!!

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  8. I've made a few hats, mainly out of velvet, and not all that structured (1990's-era patterns). I love the idea though, so I have a few hat patterns from other decades. The vintage one I recently acquired seems to be based on the premise that if someone can sew, they can learn/execute the techniques to create a hat. The vintage-inspired recent Vogue hat pattern I have involves an awful lot of hot glue for a "sewing" pattern--it seems to be based on the premise that if someone can create a lampshade, they can create a hat.

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    1. You pointed out that people who sew dresses and shirts don't often have the same skills to make a good looking hat. All my sewing mojo has disappeared.
      I don't think I am going to put lots of notions on it. A navy or black ribbon and maybe a tiny feather. I might even rethink the purple. And he does look good in old fashioned hats. They lift his whole outfit.
      What do you think? Make something that is so boring you could buy it or make the gayest hat a gay man ever wore? Attractive but not for everyday wear.

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  9. I love to make hats, and to wear them. I have an enormous head - over 24 inch around, so if I want to wear one I have to make it (my tophat I bought in the UK) and as I've been making costumes forever, I know how.
    Hat making is more 3D than sewing clothes. The rules are different and you have to be willing to go for it but to work neatly and take your time. I have a wide brim tutorial on my blog, and I teach it now and then too. It's the easiest structural hat I know - although velvet berets are my favourite winter hat and are the easiest.
    I love your pattern!

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  10. Funny, I thought the guy in the hat looked like Peter when I first looked at it too!

    And actually, some of these hats are DAMN CUTE, and I wish I had these patterns in my collection!! Sometimes a hat design may look goofy,but provide the basis of something that can be made COOL. A lot of times I buy patterns not for their intended purpose but because the basic SHAPE gives me a foundation to work another idea from, saving me the trouble of having to start the whole thing from scratch.

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  11. I once made a beret from left over cotton . It looks like a tea pot top sitting on my head. I never wore it of course and, never took picture of it.
    Can't wait to see what you're gonna make !
    E.

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  12. I love wearing hats, and mostly make my own, though sometimes I will use a purchased hat and make the decorative trimmings for it. This summer I learned to make roses from silk organza, for a hat that I wore to a friends wedding. I primarily make hats with wide brims, as it is either pouring rain here or in the summer unrelenting sunshine, both of which require a hat; I have made three Gore-tex rainhats since I have a terrible time not losing them on the bus...

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  13. Hat making is very satisfying. Why? 1. don't have to wrestle with yards of fabric during layout. 2. fast project with big payoff 3. top stitching at seamlines and edges add a professional look and it's fun to do 4. get to use a variety of expensive drapery/home dec fabric without a big investment 5. mostly straight stitched so it's perfect for giving a vintage machine a mini work out 6. the finished project looks great.

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  14. Sadly, I do not have a hat-friendly head. Like the rest of me my head is big. Most hats perch oddly atop my head like the angel on the Christmas tree, which is not a good look. I wonder if head size is related to frame size? When I do the "Wrap your thumb and longest finger on one hand around your other wrist" to determine if you are large boned, I have a gap of nearly 1.5 inches.

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  15. I love hats but my face doesn't. I use to collect hats from the 30's 40's and 50's. I actually started as a child when I was about 13. They were relatively cheap then and many were in great condition. I had a lovely collection. Then in the 90's I decided to minimize, if I can't use it, I don't want it.
    A guy I knew said he would love my hats, I gave the all to him. I knew he would love and take care of them. Do I regret it? Yes in some ways, but what would I do with all those hats. I also gave a whole bunch of vintage shoes away. My husband ties everything down that he hasn't used for a year incase I toss it out.

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  16. We love hats and we enjoy making them for us and friends. I've made literally dozens of hats from the pattern you just received.

    We make them in various sizes from left over fabric scraps, including tiny pieces that make the hats look like they were made out of a quilt.

    We have them available for our guest house guests to wear (they look even better after a few times through the laundry) and aren't surprised if a guest wants to take one home as a souvenir of their visit.

    Peter, you look good in hats..... by all means, start making some that fit your style and personality!

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  17. A few years ago, I shaved my head, partly in frustration from dealing with "hat head": I highly recommend going hair-free. I nearly always wear something on my head, usually a close-fitting knit beanie, to keep my noggin warm.
    I make hats all the time, and structured, buckram-frame hats are my favorite. In my experience, successful hats simply require patience, dedication to detail and quality materials. Oh, and practice helps too. There's nothing quite so satisfying as seeing one of my hats walk the runway or appear onstage. (Hmmm, it seems I always make hats for others; gotta make some for myself!)

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  18. I have just promised to make my little brother a hat for Christmas using vogue 8869 which isn't even available in Australia yet. We have picked out some purple wool and am getting some silk wool printed at spoonflower with bits of naked men for the lining. Now after reading this I am feeling down about the whole thing. How can I unread this post? Once you have seen you can never un see.

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    1. Sorry Peter for some reason my reply is stuck halfway up the page

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    2. You pointed out that people who sew dresses and shirts don't often have the same skills to make a good looking hat. All my sewing mojo has disappeared. 
      I don't think I am going to put lots of notions on it. A navy or black ribbon and maybe a tiny feather. I might even rethink the purple. And he does look good in old fashioned hats. They lift his whole outfit.What do you think? Make something that is so boring you could buy it or make the gayest hat a gay man ever wore? Attractive but not for everyday wear.

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  19. Aww c'mon, Kate! *grabs her by the shoulders and gives her a shake* Are you really THAT suggestible that one tiny remark (which is ONLY an OPINION-and you know what they say about opinions!) is enough to "kill the mojo dead? COME, NOW! Why not TRY IT OUT first instead of taking a random INTERNET remark as "gospel"? True, it IS different to work in "three dimensions" (a hat or other 'freestanding sculptural" item) as opposed to "two dimensions (a piece of clothing that needs a body to fill it out) and it's true: some people don't make the transition from one to the other well, but allowing yourself to be 'shot down in flames" by a mere remark on the INTERNET is ,well, LAME. Go ahead and MAKE THE HAT, and damn the torpedoes!

    And yes, keep the notions to the minimum if you are making something for 'everyday wear'. A good place to get feathers, BTW, is a fishing tackle shop that caters to fishing fly makers! I got two lovely LONG pheasant tail feathers for a FRACTION of what they were charging in a notions shop ($2.50 for two nice tail feathers in a range of colours, as opposed to $6-7-8 for ONE measly, undistinguished feather) and they even had peacock 'blades" too.(easy to find "eyes" but damn hard to find the "blades")

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  20. I've made some hats over the years and I've worn them. I also have an rather large collection of hats, the majority of them vintage, and many were made by my grandma and worn by her or my mom. I used to wear them as a teen in that mid- to late-'80's vintage/thrift look. You know, like Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink". Even now, I'm attracted to hats of all kinds. Anyway, I've noticed 2 things about hat making: 1) unless you live in a large city that has a garment district, it's really difficult to find the supplies, even petersham ribbon. 2) There aren't as many resources out there for hat-making instruction.

    I have been lucky in the embellishments, however, because my mother's godmother was a woman who made her own clothes and hats and who saved EVERYTHING. When she died, my mom got an amazing collection of vintage buttons in every color of the rainbow, and all of the embellishments left from her hat making. My mom doesn't make hats, so I took those and the buttons. Nothing like real vintage ostrich feathers. :)

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  21. I know I know. It is lame. But sewing mojo is a fickle thing. Just holding on to it sometimes is the challenge not the sewing. I like the fish tackle place idea thanks.

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  22. I'm itching to make my first hat. I got the new Vogue pattern 8869 a few weeks ago on sale. And I just got in a couple tweed, a wool plaid, a boucle and a few other coatings to play with. It seems easy enough and I have some real stiff interfacing. Just need lining.

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  23. Speaking of hats, take a look at the blog "Victorian Tailoring" (in the list to your immediate right) and check out the smoking cap this guy made for himself, embroidery and all! VERY cool! I will have to check around for some of the patterns he mentions...

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  24. Not sure the nature of the hats you plan to tackle, but http://corsetmaking.com/ has hat making supplies. I also saw book the other day, Sewn Hats by Carla Hegeman, that looked interesting. I have an enormous head (see my little pictures for proof) so I was excited to see that the patterns in that book were scaled to different sizes.

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    1. Er, little league pictures. My hat was so small it sat on top of my head. Oh, the shame!

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