Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Trove Pattern Project - 1939 "Doll's Hat"

The Trove archives hold such a lot of treasures that it becomes hard to choose which pattern to review next. This time, I put the decision out to the Instagram community, and the response was strongly in favour of this option.


It wouldn't have been my pick, but I went with the crowd, and I am not unhappy with the end result.


This free pattern is from the January 5th, 1939 issue of "Table Talk", a Melbourne publication that lasted from 1885 to September of 1939. They call it "one of the smart new "doll's hats"" and say that you can make it in a night. You can find the full instructions here.


Materials
  • They recommend velvet or velveteen. I've used an old fabric from my stash that is...one of those two! The thickness of the velvet-type fabrics is great for hiding stitches and for looking nice, but it does get a bit bulky at the edges. And collect fluff. I'd love to see this in a funky cotton print for more of a daytime look.
  • The foundation is sparterie or buckram. You won't find much sparterie around these days, but buckram is easy enough to find from millinery suppliers.
  • 10 inch wide veiling. I think mine was about this width. If you didn't want the full-face veil effect, you could use narrower and have it just cover the eyes. You could also try using a soft tulle or net instead of the veiling.
  • Ostrich feather. I am avoiding feathers in general, but since I did still have one around, I decided to use it. Other fun trim options could include flowers, fabric loops, a bow of veiling, anything that can cover the seam!
  • I also wired the edge, and I would recommend doing this, so add some millinery wire to your materials list.


Pattern
  • As the title of the article says "You can make this smart hat without a pattern." By which they mean that it is easy to draft, since the shape is a cone, making the pattern a circle with a sector (pizza slice) cut out.
  • I found the size to be good for my face, but it would be easy to scale up or down. Remember that the radius of your pattern circle becomes the slant length of the cone, and the bigger the sector removed, the pointier the cone.


Sewing
  • The instructions, like most vintage ones, are brief compared to what we are used to, but the pattern is very simple. As long as you can do some sort of hand stitch and you tuck in all the raw edges, it should work out fine.
  • They recommend that the underside fabric be tacked in a few places to keep it on, but I would honestly recommend glue. I was taught to use fabric glue (sparingly) on concave surfaces to hold the fabric on, and I think it is the best way. You will be sewing the edge anyway, and it also helps keep your fabric in the right place as you do so.

  • I didn't attach the veil all the way around the edge, just sewed it securely at the back, and tacked a few points around the front. I also should have pulled the bottom edge up more. I have too much veiling floating around instead of the face-wrapping look in the illustration.


  • One thing I didn't do, and should have, was make my trim cover the point where the band is attached to the inside. You can see in these photos that the band is pulling the hat in and making a dent there! Oops.  I moved my feather over it, but it was a windy day so it never stayed in place.
  • And yes, you could probably make it in a night. If you have the kind of life that allows a full night of sewing. I made it in bits and pieces of three nap times, but it wouldn't have been more than 3 or 4 hours, I think.


Wearing
  • This hat is designed to be worn forward and titled to one side, down close to one eye. For a different style of wear, the positioning of the band may need to be adjusted. It can be tilted to the left or the right, and you can see I changed over partway through my shoot!
  • The velvet and buckram band was a comfortable and secure attachment, and I found the hat easy to wear.
  • Keep in mind that if your hairstyle is very bulky you may need to make your band bigger. Mine was ok over my plaits, but it was more of a stretch than it had been when I tried it on with my hair down.
  • If you can conveniently already own a matching velvet dress, you should do that. It worked well for me.


To my modern sensibilities, this is a fancy hat, suitable for evening wear or perhaps the races, and as such I can't see myself ever wearing it! On the other hand it is flattering, and it was quick and easy to make, with only hand sewing required.


All in all, I rate this pattern pretty highly and would recommend it as a project for any one with confidence in their basic sewing skills. There is nothing advanced in it, but you do have to fill in the gaps in the instructions with your own experience and common sense.


That's enough selfies for me! Too many, really.

If anyone else makes this, I'd love to see the results and hear your experiences.

If you've missed any of the other pattern reviews in my Trove Pattern Project, you can find them here:

24 comments:

  1. LOVE this hat!! ohhhh how marvelous! It would be perfect for the races, simply divine actually. Good job on the hat creation.

    Liz :)

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  2. I love it! It looks fantastic on you, and TBH I drool over anything with a veil. Love the matching dress as well!

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    1. Veils do add a certain something! Thank you :)

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  3. When it says to make the band big enough to go round your head, which bit of your head? Because the picture just looks like it loops around back up-worn hair.

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    1. And of course I also meant to say: the hat looks amazing, you look amazing, this series is going so well, we should all sign the Fund Trove petitions, and how serendipitous that you had that dress.

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    2. Good question, Rhi! I'm adding another image into the post that better shows how mine goes. It is going around below the bump at the back of the head, and around the top towards the front, if that makes sense? Mine is across the point where my fringe starts.

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    3. And thank you! And yes, fund Trove!!!

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    4. Ah, ok, that image does help more. Attaching hats to the head always seems like the hardest part of "proper" millinery rather than making soft hats in crochet where they are just pulled on.

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    5. That is so true. Elastic does a lot, but I like the wider, more decorative bands so much as I try them out.

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  4. I really like this hat! (Love the matching dress too!) I'm going to have to try making this one- thanks for sharing your tips.
    The Artyologist

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    1. I hope you do! I am sure you would make a fabulous version and I'd love to see it :)

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  5. Oh this is brilliant! I really want to give making hats a go but it's all so confusing and most of what I read could be in Chinese for all I know! You make everything sound so simple and I may just be inspired to make this hat in the future. I could definitely see me wearing this to a vintage event. Right I'm off to read your other reviews now and soak in all your wonderful knowledge! xx

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    1. Thank you Cate! I'm glad you think my comments are helpful. Feel free to ask any questions you have if you make any of the patterns :)

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  6. Gorgeous! The hat, your dress (which I'm epicly in love with), and the outdoor setting that you shot it in. What a sweet, chic tilt hat. You did a marvelous job with this pattern and have created a hat that I think a huge range of vintage fashion fans would, as I have, go(ne) weak in the knees for.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica. The dress is from Evelyn Wood Vintage Fashion House here in Australia. It can also be a coat!

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  7. What a great hat and it goes so well with that dress. Nice work ;)

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  8. I admired that jacket of yours recently. It goes beautifully with your hat. I have press studs to buy later this week and I might be tempted to grab some more buckram and tuck into hat making again. This does look like something that i could do.

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    1. You did! I like it as a coat but with short sleeves it isn't as useful as it could be.

      Do it! Very doable. We should have a craft day.

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  9. I'm glad that you made this one, it looks really marvellous. Great set of photos, the hat suits you so well and I love the matching dress. I'm interested in the idea of making it in other fabric, even though I love velvet, and with other trims. Hmmm. Brain is ticking!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad I made it too. I hope you give it a try as well!

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  10. I love this hat, and your blog in general. I am trying the same thing - making hats from vintage patterns, although I have only made three to date. Thanks for the great links and bags of inspiration.

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    1. Thank you! I would love to hear about your experiences and see your hats too!

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