Thursday 30 March 2017

Summer Straws and Winter Furs

As the time until baby number two arrives get fewer and fewer, my work time has been more and more devoted to making, rather than blogging, so today is just going to be a bit of show and tell.

I've just done a complete stock changeover at The Blackheath Hub, the local shop where my hats are on sale. A full winter collection has gone in, just in time for the cooler weather, and a lot of summer hats are back in my hands.

I'll be listing these ones, for which I happily have these lovely images on my friend Ruanne, on Etsy in the next few days.

Honestly, if this floral one doesn't sell by the time it's summer here again, I'm keeping it!

Straw hats with decently large brims are a must for summer, and very flattering too.

Among the other hats I'll be listing are these versions of the 1954 Butterfly cap I reviewed for the Trove Pattern Project. I couldn't decide between red velvet and leopard print, and my Instagram friends were similarly divided, so I made both! It really is a cute pattern.

I do like bows on things. As you'll see a bit in the winter hats too!

Sadly I don't have beautifully modelled photos of these ones. The weather here has almost literally been stinking hot or raining for a month now!

There's a lot of 1960s inspiration and a lot of faux fur in this collection, with a little bit of 1940s (still fluffy though) thrown in for good measure.

I think I prefer the basic hoods in the really fluffy white fur, but the rich red has a lot going for it too. And as you can see, I'm enjoying adding pom poms to things!

My love of pixie hats continues, in furry 60s hood form this time. I've played with the shape a couple of times, and I think in future I will make some further revisions, but overall it's looking cute!

From the forties I'm exploring fur-trimmed tilt hats, with big silk bows. I swoon over these whenever I see vintage examples or illustrations, and I'm happy that I finally made one. Ok, two.

And finally, some seriously lush ear muffs. I got the idea for ear muffs on a more substantial base than just a thin band from a 1940s millinery book, but I've taken their instructions as a base and done it my own way. I'm getting really happy with them now (they are SO comfortable it is ridiculous) and once I've worked on another variation I have in mind, these are set to be one of my first sewing patterns! Look out for them in my post-maternity world. (Right now I can't think too far beyond the next five weeks, to be honest, and life is dividing into "urgent" and "later, whatever, I don't care".)

I hope that whatever season you are in, and preparing for, I've shared something to inspire you in your hat wearing! Keep an eye on the Etsy shop for the new listings (and use the discount code "uptheduff" to get 30% off from now until the shop closes for maternity leave in about two weeks), and if you happen to be a Sydney/Blue Mountains local, pop in to the Blackheath Hub to try something on!

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Trove Pattern Project: 1954 Beach Hat

Today I'm taking the Trove Pattern Project into the 1950s again, with that excellent publication, The Australian Women's Weekly. And we're embracing what's left of the summer sun (here at least) with a "Pretty Beach Hat".

My first thoughts were that it was a silly sort of pattern, just an oval with a notch taken out, but it does have a lot of positives. While it isn't going to protect the back of your neck or shoulders, it has really good sun protection for the face and shade for the eyes. From a sewing perspective, it is much easier than more complicated sewn sun hats, and was quick to make up.

The best bit, for me, is that the simple shape makes it perfect for novelty fabrics or trims. Since it only requires a small amount of fabric, you can buy something fun or use leftover fabric to make a matching beach ensemble.

I decided to embrace novelty and kitsch with open arms, by lining mine in swordfish fabric and decorating the top with felt cut out shapes. Lobsters make everything more fun, right?

Following are my comments and additions, and you can access the original article with pattern and instructions here.


  • 1/2 yd of 36 inch wide fabric. Key note here: the pattern fits on a fat quarter.
  • 1/2 yd contrasting fabric for the underlining.
  • 1/2 yd leno for interlining. Leno and buckram are these all-over-the-place terms depending when in time you are and where in the world you are too. Grrr. But essentially, a stiff material, but not crazy stiff, is what I could work out. I used something I had bought from a fabric shop labelled as "buckram" that is much lighter and not blockable like millinery buckram. It did a good job.
  • 1 large button. How exciting for button hoarders to have a project that only needs one! Lovely unmatched buttons get their time at last.
  • 2 yds bias binding.
  • Not mentioned in the pattern - ribbon or similar for the tie strings. I used one metre of ribbon.


It's a one-size-fits-all, which is nice, and the shape is quite simple. The measurements they have given aren't the best ones for drafting it, but then I'm coming from a very mathematical perspective. And the fit is irrelevant so accuracy isn't too important either I suppose!


Like most vintage patterns, and the free ones especially, instructions are a little sparse, but in this case there isn't much you could do to make it go horribly wrong.

Having said that, I did my best. I tried to skip the basting and dive straight into the machine sewing, and there were lumps and bumps all over the place. I sighed, swallowed my pride, unpicked the stitches and sat down to baste the silly thing. It was worth it.

As you can see in the photo above, a little more ironing wouldn't have been a waste either.

The basting (and sewing on the button and ribbon) was the only bit I did by hand. The rest is machine stitching. For most hats I would hand sew bias binding around an edge, but I didn't think it was worth it for this project, and their binding looks pretty wrinkly to me so I considered that approval of my methods.

They don't tell you where to attach the tie strings, but trying it on yourself or a mannequin head makes it pretty easy to pick a spot.


Once it is sewn, do up your button and tie up your strings! It's a really easy hat to wear, and if I'm honest, much cuter than I thought it would be.


My addition was the felt cut out shapes. I've seen vintage straw hats with novelty felt shapes as decoration, and I thought it would be worth having some fun here. Simply cut your shapes out of a thin felt and sew or glue them on. I used glue, but perhaps if you were planning to wear this to the beach and have it face the harsh elements, sewing would be worth the time.

What do you think? A bit silly and basic or kistch-tastic?
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