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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: