Saturday, January 17, 2009

From the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey School of Amazing Feats: the Felt Hat

Both views of this hat are from out-of-print Vogue 8175. That said, I'm gravitating like a magnetized pair of scissors to the one on on top. That's the one I need to wear today to detract any attention from my cold-ravaged pink nose and for a jolt of color on this dreary, overcast Saturday morning. I'm not even sure what coat I'd team up either one of the beauties with, but I'm just in love with how retro these hats are...just the thing that either Katharine Hepburn or Ginger Rogers would wear in any one of their movies from the 1930s or 1940s, paired with some ultra-padded coat or jacket just like the model in the above photos.

If you do happen to take my class (and I urge you to do so because there's a contest. If you wear what I consider the best hat to class, you will a prize and your picture will end up on the Vogue Fabrics web site), you will find this hat extraordinarily easy to make. Since it's completely made up of felt, you don't have to finish the edges. None at all. There are no also wires involved in the making of this topper for you techno-phobes. Zilch, making this hat even easier than making a Play-Doh dinosaur. If you can operate a sewing machine, you can sew this pattern (we're talking about the hat itself, not the envelope and the instructions, ok?). The felt is stiffer than day-old Wonder bread so at it doesn't need any interfacing or wiring for the brim to stand up. How's that an amazing trick worthy of Ringley Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus? There's a good chance that you'll make it in the correct size from the get-go. Most women have heads that measure about 22 inches around, I've found, give or a fraction of an inch or so. Doesn't matter what shape, length or width the rest of your body conforms to. Most of us ladyfolk really do have noggins about the same circumference. However, even if the entire class uses the exact same cuts even fabric (this is what's Vogue is selling in the way of 100 percent wool felt) there's still a good chance our creations will still appear unalike in the end. Here's why: we'll embellish them in our own way. Some of us will opt for a buckle, others a feather, others for something even completely unique.
I can imagine a group photo afterwards. I'd imagine it'd look like a head shot of a group of Rockettes with all our hats, contrasting but the same. For those of you who don't live anywhere near Evanston, Ill., how would you make this hat? Felt or something else?


Anonymous said...

I have this pattern (and don't live close enough to Evanston - worst luck!). I have always wanted a deep hunter version or a deep brown version made of felt. I could never find felt in a color I liked at my local stores. Another excuse I have for not making it was that I thought I needed millinery wire and buckram. It's exciting to find out that's not the case!

Oh - another fabric I was thinking of using was taffeta, for evening wear.

the_lazymilliner said...

Casey: Vogue Fabrics has the 100 percent wool felt in white...which can be dyed. I think it's time for Kool-Aid run (at least for me). Order what you need, make it the hue you desire, and tell how me how it goes!

Anonymous said...

What a terrific idea! I've never done Kool-Aid dye, but I'm sure I could master it. You can bet this will be my next sewing project!

Thanks so much for the idea and inspiration!


Angel said...

High, my friend gave me this pattern. I'm making view F, she make view E....She has the instructions, and I'm totally lost. Is there a tear shaped extra piece in the upper part of the hat besides #13 (crown) and #14 (the brim) that I don't have? I just need a teeny bit to get me over the hump to finish this out of black 3" faux fur....206-522-5522 or

the_lazymilliner said...

Angel, I'm not sure. I'd have to look at the pattern. It's been a while. Bug me again soon if you don't find what you need to finish your hat.