Projects from 2015

Here are a few things I’ve been working on since last June. So for a few minutes, let’s step back into 2015, shall we?

#1 – Hats

I’ve been out of the millinery game for a while, but I never lost my love for hats. I especially love felt hats so when I got the opportunity to make myself a fedora, I jumped at it.

I was a little bit nervous at first because it’s been years since I blocked a hat, but it all came rushing back (big thank you to the late Ms. Albrizio, the best millinery teacher ever) and I was really pleased with the results. It’s a wide brimmed fedora with a telescoped crown and two pinches in the front. It’s all done by hand (except for sewing the lining together) so it took a nice chunk of time, but I prefer it that way because I don’t like to see stitching on hats.

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The inside is lined with pink satin and I added a purple sweatband just because.

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I had to break my “no flash” rule for these two pics so you could see the iridescent feathers.

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In the future, I’ll post pictures of the process so you can see how it went from an unformed felt like this

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to an actual hat. BTW, I love this color so much and I don’t think the picture does it justice. It’s really a vibrant purple/fuchsia.

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I’m thinking about using these feathers, but I’m not sure yet.

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Here’s how they look together.

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#2 The Cape

I also managed to do a bit of sewing. I made Simplicity 8017, a vintage reissue. I left the pockets off, but everything else is pretty accurate. The fabric is a light weight coat material that was in my stash. I think it’s a wool blend and I had a little under 2-1/2 yards – just enough to make the short version. The buttons were from a gigantic bag of buttons a friend game me a few years ago. I may actually have more buttons than I can use in this lifetime.

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The only lining I had on hand was white. I tried to dye it pink; it came out closer to salmon. I also added a small interior pocket to the lining for my Metrocard or a debit card.

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I didn’t have any problems with the actual sewing, but the instructions were really confusing in some places so I had to wing it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the reissues do not have the same instructions as the original patterns. The reissues are more like an odd mash-up of vintage and modern instructions which wouldn’t surprise me since through most of the mid- to late-20th century, pattern companies assumed seamstresses were already familiar with basic construction techniques.

I was going to make bound buttonholes, but I changed my mind. Then after it was 80% finished, I remembered the buttonhole attachment for my machine doesn’t work, so I had to make buttonholes by hand. Then I realized I didn’t have the right thread (buttonhole twist). At first I wanted to scream and/or cry, but then I decided to use the opportunity to learn a new skill and I improvised with embroidery floss (I’m not sure how this is going to hold up, so I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, I found a great YouTube video and practiced on scraps for a couple of hours before I tried doing them on my cape. Each one took about 30-45 minutes they turned out quite nicely. Not perfect, but I’m very happy with them.

Overall, I’m pleased with my new cape, but I won’t be making another of these. I mean, how many capes does one person need – unless you’re Olivia Pope?

#3 The Purse

I’ve been DYING to make a book clutch so I finally started one. I bought this book over a year ago

Alice in Wonderland

I was halfway through lining it with felt when I changed my mind. Felt just didn’t seem elegant enough for such a pretty cover. I’m still working out the plan, but I think some balsa wood could create a good frame and I want to line it with velvet. The closure is still up in the air.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my hat and cape as often as possible. If I ever wear them together, I’m thinking about calling the look “musketeer chic.”

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