Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Trove Pattern Project - 1949 Pixie Hat

The Trove Pattern Project is back with another review, this time a free pattern from the Australian Women's Weekly from 1949. It's a pixie hat, "as worn by Princess Margaret", and you can find the pattern here.

As you know, I developed an interest in Pixie hats last year, and my research back then turned up this pattern. I knew I wanted to make this one of the first patterns I tried out.

My review today is pretty short because, compared to the 1954 scarf hat, it has very few issues. I've only made up a quick version, so you won't be seeing any close ups of my long hand stitching and lack of lining.


  • The magazine version, and Princess Margaret's original inspiration, were both made of velvet, and I've done the same.
  • One key step in the process is stretching your fabric on the fold of the brim piece around the wired buckram brim foundation. So you will need something with stretch, or with a reasonable amount of give and cut on the bias. This is actually the secret to how my version ended up being a colour block hat - the first pants I cut up fabric I tried didn't have the required give.
  • They do suggest felt is possible, but I think you would end up with too much thickness at the brim when it is folded, unless you used a very thin felt.


  • The size worked for me as it was - my head size is 22.5 inches. It isn't even tight!
  • The pattern is hand drawn, and not close to symmetrical, even though the hat looks like it should be even. I don't know why this bugs me so much, but this is so often the case with these patterns and I don't know whether it is on purpose or not. I think in fact that is exactly why it bugs me. Anyway after drawing my own I folded it in half and evened it up.


  • The hat sewed up easily and the instructions covered the steps pretty well. You have to stretch the brim over its foundation, as I mentioned before, so the more stretch your fabric has, the less bunching you have at the join of crown and brim.
  • I did struggle with the joining the brim and crown and it didn't look like it would sit up properly, but once I put it on there was no problem.
  • I didn't bother with lining or the headsize ribbon, but the instructions for these seem ok.


  • The hat is designed to sit towards the back of the head, with the brim across the top.
  • In windy situations I'd recommend a hat pin or some other attachment, but for the purposes of wandering around and taking photos I found it stayed on fine with nothing.

Sorry about the blurry photos by the way. I failed at selfies again!

This hat falls into the category of "looks cute, but I wouldn't wear it." As I mentioned on instagram, I felt like a 1940s witch as soon as I put it on, and I can't really get past that. I love the shape of the brim framing my face, but the pointed crown is just a bit too much for me.

You could round off the crown, but then it wouldn't be a pixie hat, so why bother? I'd love to find a way to make it wearable, but I just don't know how to do it. Perhaps trims would help. I feel that a pixie style without the halo brim might actually work better for me.

Short of any inspiration in that direction, I'll be keeping this pattern for vintage Halloween looks or maybe a cute Christmas elf. Or scaled down for an adorable little girl's hat!

What do you think? Too witchy or just the right amount of pixie charm?

I've already started on the next pattern, and I have hopes for its wearability...if I can just work out the instructions.


  1. Hi Tanith! I see what you mean about the witchiness, but I wonder if you rolled the brim back more whether that would soften it a bit and give it the pixie look you were looking for. Also maybe shorten the crown a bit. Of course those things then make it a different make it a different hat entirely I suppose. Love your experiments!

    1. Hi and thank you! I often read reviews of sewing patterns where the writer says how much they love it but they changed about half a dozen things! I like your suggestions and I'm sure they would work, but as you say, it would be quite a change. If I wanted one to wear I think I would give those ideas a go!

  2. I really love this hat! It has a delightful witchiness too it. I recently snagged a 1950s pixie or conical hat. It kind of looks like a traffic cone lol. I can't wait to sport it this summer

    retro rover

  3. It is saying witchy to me as it is at the moment but the original illustration with the bow and veil doesn't say that so maybe it is the plainness that causes us to think witches hat.

    1. I did wonder if trims would help so maybe I should be less lazy and give it a try!

  4. It is a bit 40s witch, isn't it? Still, I think the wide brim around the face is very flattering, and the right DGAF woman could totally kill it.

    1. I had to look that up! I wish I was one :P

  5. Love/want/super need! This hat is absolutely delightful, cute as button and chic as the day is long at the same. If you ever start selling them in your Etsy shop, please let me know. :)

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Oh thank you Jessica! I will of course let you know if I do that :)


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