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.
The inside is lined with pink satin and I added a purple sweatband just because.
I had to break my “no flash” rule for these two pics so you could see the iridescent feathers.
In the future, I’ll post pictures of the process so you can see how it went from an unformed felt like this
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.
I’m thinking about using these feathers, but I’m not sure yet.
Here’s how they look together.
#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.
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.
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
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.”