Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Trove Pattern Project - 1953 Scarf Hat

Our pattern today comes from The Australian Women's Weekly, April 22, 1953. Exclusively designed for the magazine by a leading Australian milliner, Henriette Lamotte (no, I've never heard of her), this scarf hat made for an elegant and appealing cover photo for the issue. It drew me in.

If you are subscribed to the newsletter or follow me on social media, you may know that things did not progress well from there.

You can probably see what a simple hat this should be. If you look at the pattern, you might wonder how something so simple even could go wrong, but I managed it.

I muddled my way through my "quick" mock-up version, and there will be no "proper" version. I've done my best, with the help of my very soft-focus phone selfie camera, to make it look good, but the real story follows.

I feel like I have been spoiled by modern patterns, and even by vintage printed patterns, as to the level of instructions I expect. I want something to say "Attach scarf piece to headband piece along the front edge from A to B, right sides together....etc etc" not "Sew jersey scarf around headband over padding". And if I have to sew pleats, I want more than "...finishing with two small pleats to sweep scarf backwards." What? What? Where?

See those pleats? They are wrong. I couldn't work out what to do with them. Why would I even want the scarf to sweep backwards if I'm wrapping it around the front. When I put it onto my mannequin head and wrapped it, two pleats magically appeared on each side. Hallelujah! Now I get it. But they are definitely sweeping it forwards. Darnit.

Also, I need to warn you that you have to wear this draped or tied at the front. You can't just wear it loose. Unless you want to look like a nun. In which case go right ahead.

I suppose you might have a Sound of Music sing-a-long to attend or something.

So to sum up:
  • Confused the heck out of me.
  • I would have been better off taking the vague shape and idea, not reading the instructions and making it up for myself. I had to do a lot of that anyway and at least I wouldn't have felt I was being stupid for not understanding it.
  • I didn't try the instructions for making your own fringe. "Cut 200 15 inch lengths" didn't appeal to me.
  • I neither tried the instructions for making tassels nor used tassels at all. I am not a set of curtains.
  • It seemed like the headband pattern fit really well, but when I wore it today it was a bit too small. It was ok at first but kept sliding back. So test that out on your head before you start.
  • I was really stingy and bodgy on the padding so mine isn't as pleasantly plump as the original. 

Having said all that, it is kind of cute, and if you go for a lot of rides in open top cars in big sunglasses and big coats, it could be just the thing for you. I can actually imagine a number of you stylish vintage ladies in this, but I don't think it is the hat for me!

Let me know if you give this one a try!

If you missed the previous instalments, you can find them here: 1949 Pixie Hat, 1954 Scarf Hat, 1954 Butterfly Cap.


  1. I actually think you did a pretty good job with it! It might not be perfectly in line with the (poorly written) instructions, but it looks pretty cute when it's all draped and styled and you're wearing a fabulous pair of sunglasses.
    It's real Virgin Mary when it's loose though, isn't it?

    1. Virgin Mary! I knew that photo reminded me of something. How funny.

  2. I do think the final result looks quite chic. Who knows how many women making it at the time also struggled? Tell yourself many.

    1. Thank you! I will tell myself that.

  3. I think it's immensely cute - and very, very chic as well. I'd wear that in a heartbeat all year round. For warmth in the chilly months and to keep the scorching summer sun off my head in the hotter ones.

    Thank you for sharing this cool topper with us, including the pros and cons of the design process. I'm a patient soul, but I don't know if I would have sat there and made fringe from scratch either (good, time saving call there).

    I hope that you're doing great and enjoying a beautiful tail end of May, sweet Tanith.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Awww thanks Jessica. I think with a bit of work it could be a really nice and useful hat. And, yes, I think we could all happily skip knotting a fringe!

  4. Ahhh welcome to my world! lol! I still think you did a good job and most of the world probably would never of noticed :) Pat yourself on the back for getting thru it.


    1. Hehe! Perhaps "creative" is just code for "persistent in the face of absolute frustration". In which case, I'm all over it :)

  5. I really do think you have managed to make it look glamorous despite your frustrations with it, though like you said, untied it is very Mother Superior. Which probably isn't a look many 1950's woman were going for either! Not surprised you skipped the fringe!

  6. I agree untied its a nun hat, but tied it looks pretty cute. I dont sew but I do bake and vintage recipes are frustatingly similar, it seems steps are always missing!

    1. I had never thought of that! I am a person who definitely needs very detailed recipe instructions!