Thursday 24 September 2015

A Bridal Whimsy for Spring

For this month's design in my collection of whimsies, I wanted to try my hand at a bridal whimsy, and here it is.

Here in Australia, Spring is bursting into life, and the occasional day is starting to be really warm. Lots of Spring blossoms are out, and wedding season is well and truly beginning.

It isn't surprising that September seemed like the perfect month to do a bridal design, because it was in September, three years ago, that I had my own wedding.

As I've mentioned before, I don't much care for modelling my own creations if I can avoid it, and I certainly didn't feel like doing my make-up and hair to a bridal standard (ok, I'm not actually even capable of doing that), so I've done something different for these photos, and used some props, including my own wedding shoes, my wedding and engagement rings, and a little bunch of flowers. If someone had to make their bridal bouquet from my back garden, this is what they might come up with!

I'm certainly not a bridal photographer, but I had fun doing these.

Bridal millinery is something I would like to pursue more, but haven't yet devoted much time too. I am extremely proud of the custom headpiece I made for Mel's wedding, last year, and I have a lot of design ideas in my head. So perhaps you will see more in the near future!

I was a bit uncertain about adding the green silk leaves, rather than sticking to a completely white/ivory palette, but I quite like it. What do you think about a bit of colour in bridal designs?

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Trove Pattern Project: 1954 Scarf Hat

Today I'm reviewing another free hat pattern from The Australian Women's Weekly, this one from the 14th of July, 1954. It's from the "Teenage section" and it promises the "chic of a head-hugging cap with the practical advantages of a scarf" and that I can "make it in less than an hour" for a cost of "next to nothing".

I'll let you be the judge of the chic-ness and practicality, but it certainly takes less than an hour and, if you are already a sewer and have small scraps to use up, it will probably cost you actually nothing.

You can see the original pattern here (it's worth checking out just for what appears to be ice hockey fabric).


"You will need a piece of material 23 inches square. Printed silk or jersey would be most suitable, but use any material you fancy."
  • You are likely to need to size the pattern up, as I did. In which case, you will need closer to 24 inch of width to make the pattern in the larger size, cut on the straight grain (they don't actually talk about grain, so I made that assumption). If you don't care about grain, you can work with as small as 21 inches square.
  • I used a lightweight cotton for the first trial, a silk for the second, and a medium weight cotton for the third.
  • You also need to make a roll. They say "a roll of cotton wool". I assume they mean sewing and stuffing a sausage shape but I just used some thin cotton quilting batting cut into a rectangle, and rolled up lengthwise. They also say that it should be 2.5 inches in diameter, but looking at all the images, it couldn't possibly be that size. Not even close! Whether that is a typo or measurement fail I don't know, but my first attempt was about 1 inch diameter, then I actually scaled it down again to about half an inch.


The pattern is a sector of a circle, in the original the measurements are radius 21 inch and arc length 23 inch.

I made the hat at these dimensions - too small (looked very cute on a baby, though). My head measurement is 22.5 inches, but my friend who described herself as a "pin head" couldn't fit into it, and it was only slightly too big for a 10-month old. I made my second version with an arc length of 25 inches, and the third was about 27 inches That may seem like a lot, but it includes seam allowance, and the fabric is going to be rolled over at the base, so it will be a shorter length at the point where it is worn.

Note that the pattern sketch in the article is VERY much "not to scale". It looks like a thin slice of pizza, instead of the quite generous serving that the actual pattern will be (even at the original dimensions).

Drafting the pattern (if you aren't Mathsy)

  1. Draw one side of your sector, a 21 inch straight line.
  2. Mark one end as the centre.
  3. Draw the arc. Either put a pin in your tape measure and use is like a pair of compasses, or mark at intervals using tape measure or ruler, and connect the dots.
  4. You can measure your arc length along this line. Measuring a curve can be tricky, so I did some maths instead, and used a protractor. The angle you want is 63 degrees for the 23 inch length, 68 degrees for the 25 inch length, or 74 degrees for 27 inches.
  5. Mark the other side of the sector by drawing a straight line from the centre to the arc at the required distance/angle.


The instructions are pretty brief, so I had to wing it a bit, but on the other hand it is a very simple project.
  • I used a sewing machine to sew the back seam, pinked the seam allowance and pressed the seams open. 
  • For the sewing of the roll I hand stitched quickly and roughly. The instructions specifically said "sew them neatly together" but apparently I still have some obnoxious rebelliousness in me, because my immediate thought was "Don't tell me what to do!" and I couldn't have sewn much more messily if I tried.

  • For attaching the rolled over fabric to itself over the roll at the base, I hand-stitched using backstitch, and keeping the outside stitches very small to reduce their visibility. I actually didn't finish the raw edge until the final version, which I pinked before sewing and found to be an easy option and quite sufficient in my opinion.

  • Finish by tying a knot in the end. I played around a bit, especially with the stiffer silk fabric, to get it to fall just the way I wanted.


Depending on how well the size fits, you may want to use some clips or bobby pins or hat pins to secure the cap to your hair. The biggest version stays on my head fine, but the slightly smaller one would require something to stop it sliding off.

So there you have it. One chic scarf hat.

I'm very excited about continuing this project and sharing more of these free projects with you. This is definitely one of the simpler designs, although it needed more alteration than I expected, and there are many fascinating and elegant designs, as well as other simple ones, to come!

If you are after more for now, last year I reviewed and gave some brief advice on the "Butterfly Cap", also from the AWW in 1954.

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