Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to: 1890s hat

Back in June of this year, I made a new 1890s boater style hat. This one was made out of some lovely turquoise cotton velveteen that I had in my stash. Fortunately, throughout the process, I took a number of photos to show how exactly I made it. And thus, we have a photo tutorial. I should mention straight up, that this is entirely sewn by hand.

1. First off, inspiration image

2. Next up, creating the pattern:

2a. I found a saucer from the kitchen that I liked the size of to be the top piece of my hat. I traced around it.

2b. I then drew another even circle around this for my hat brim.

2c. I measured around edge of the sauce with a tape measure to work out how long the crown should be. I drafted it up as a straight strip and cut it out in paper too.

2d. Once I had all the pattern pieces cut out, I lightly taped them together to test the size, shape and fit of the hat. Yes, I did put this on my head.

3. Pattern Pieces. I then cut out my pieces in buckram, my fashion fabric and mull layer. For the mull, I use a bamboo wadding that I picked up at my local fabric store, but you could use anything. This just give the hat a nice padded finish and helps cover the buckram nicely.

The buckram layer and the mull layer are cut without seam allowance (accept for an overlap on the hat crown), but I added approximately 1.5cm of seam allowance when cutting the fashion layer of the fabric. Make sure to cut two of the brims in the fashion fabric and mull.

4. Creating the hat frame:

4a. I first stitched the hat crown together to make it the right size to fit the top.

4b. Then I whip stitched hat wire to the edges of each piece - around the outer edge of the hat brim, the outer edge of the hat top and both edges of the crown.

4c. I then sat the hat top on the crown and whip stitched the top to crown.

4d. I then tacked down mull layer over every piece of the hat. I also whip the two edges of the brim mull so that they cover the wire edge as well as the edge where the hat top joins the hat crown.

5. Covering the hat

5a. I then stretched the fashion fabric over the top of the hat and pinned it in place on the sides. Next was to stitch this down with a tight back stitch, removing the pins as you go.

5b. I then lay one layer of the hat brim fabric over the brim frame and pinned it in place. I folded it over to the other side and used a hell of a lot of pins to pin it in place.

5c. Next was to stitch this down to the mull layer with a whip stitch. After stitching, I also snipped in between the stitches to help the fabric lay flat.

5d. I then smoothed over the other side of the brim with the fashion fabric and pinned it in place. Next was to tuck the raw edges under so that the hat edges match and pinned (with many many pins again) in place.

5e. Next I stitched the edges together using a straight whip stitch so that the tiny stitches when pulled disappear as much as possible. These stitches need to be close together to get a good finish.

5f. With the edges of the brim matching, I snipped into the seam allowance of the fabric through both layers.

5g. I then pinned in the fashion fabric hat crown with the raw edge folded under. The centre back is also folded so that you have a clean edge to stitch.

5h. Again, tiny straight whip stitches join the seam.

5i. I then folded the bottom of the hat crown to the inside of the hat and stab stitched it down through all the layers. 

5j. Next is the really fun part. I pinned down the hat brim to the inside of the hat. You want the seam allowance of the brim fabric on the inside of the hat. Then I stitched it down with a stab stitch. I warn you, this is rather awkward. 

5k. I then cut a length of cotton twill tape to fit the inside of the hat. I whipped this in place on the hat brim. You won't be able to see this when the hat is worn. Historically, hats weren't lined in fabric, but you could choose to line yours with a hat crown stitched to a hat top in a cotton and whip it into place where I stitch the twill tape. This is easier (and lazier) to do. 

6. Decoration. The last step is to decorate your hat as you see fit. One thing to remember, historically feathers and flowers were both used, but never together. I did have feathers in my stash to match this hat but I decided I wanted to go with the berries look. I had these in my stash and accompanied them with some white flowers. 

The hat then just perches on your hair. I like to go for a jaunty angle.