Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Make a Victorian Hat

I have been wanting a Victorian hat for some time now. Unfortunately, the type I was interested in would cost buckoo bucks that I could not afford. Being the crafter that I am, I figured if I did enough research, I could figure out how to make one with the materials I can get in my small town. I first read up on hat making to no avail. I am not a milliner and cannot find buckram without resorting to online purchases. And to tell the truth, I wanted to do it cheaper. This was a problem. I needed something that is flexible yet sturdy enough to form the base of the hat. Luckily, I got some great advice from others who were making hats in one of my previous blogs: Wired Mini Top Hat. So now with a plan I began to execute my procedure.

I began with craft mesh that I picked up from Walmart in the crafting section. It comes in sheets and circles. The circles are perfect enough that I don't have to do much trimming to get the size. I looked at Blanches Place for ideas on what form of hat I wanted. I settled on the 1870s hat. On the website, there are dimensions on the size of the hat. I used this as a starting step, but trimmed everything down to a shape I liked.

Then, I got out the 16 gauge wire (also can be found in the tools section at Walmart), and I attached the wire to the outside of the brim using the nylon thread I had purchased. This thread is stronger than cotton and will hold up better. I had tried on my sewing machine using a zig-zag stitch, but it didn't work well. Either it did catch the mesh or the needle kept hitting the mesh and bending. The wire is traditionally used to shape the brim when completed.

After that I sewed the top plastic circle to the brim making sure that the bottom of the side of the hat matched with the inside circle of the brim and the top circle. After this step, you have a bowl, of sorts.

Then I cut 4 pieces of fabric slightly larger than the frame: the top circle, the side of the hat, and two circles for the top and bottom of the brim piece. (I'm not very particular about the inside of the hat just yet.) I hot glued the smaller of the circles to the top of the hat. Then I glued fabric to the side of the hat making sure to role the fabric down on the top of the hat to make a nice finish.

Now, I took the two larger circles with right sides facing one another, and stitched around most of the perimeter. After flipping it inside out, I slid in the wired brim section and sewed the rest shut trying to keep the stitches as invisible as possible.
Then, I cut a circle out of the middle of the brim piece, making sure to leave enough to fold up to secure to the inside of the hat sides. I glued and sewed it altogether. After making sure all the seams are nice looking, I add any finishing touches, and there it is!

Hope this helps some!

ETA: Here's another hat I recently made that didn't include the wire brim, but holds it shape perfectly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baby Hats for Charity

I'm a big supporter of volunteer work. Before I had my littlest one, I used to drive meals for Meals-on-Wheels and cook for the Senior Center where I used to live. After moving to our new town, I attempted to volunteer for our local WIC, and was basically blown off. I was very disappointed. So, in lieu of actually going out and giving my services, I have been making newborn hats for a charity. They don't take very long to make. I picked a simple pattern that I can do anywhere, but I enjoy sharing something that makes a special day even more memorable. I know more people can volunteer somehow, if they just found something that appeases them. So, in honor of all those who want to give back. Here's my two cents. . .

Other Victorian Hat

I got the other finished yesterday, but didn't have time to post it. This one is more classically Victorian to me. It's larger for more room to add extras. As I expected, this one was easier to make overall. I cut down the sewing by hot gluing some of it, which worked very well with the plastic frame. I still sewed the wire onto the frame and the brim. When I put it on, it looks huge, but I know when I get my hair up and into some period clothing, it'll be perfect.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I finished my last Ravelympics project today. She's The Thrifty Critter from Nikol Lohr. She's made from scraps from previous projects. I like how funny she looks. I laugh when I see her. Now onto more pressing matters. I feel to urge to design something again. What, I'm not sure.
Maybe the Critter will tell me. : )

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I've been knitting like a madwoman these past couple of days for the Ravelympics. I have finished my long coveted Staitjacket from the Naughty Needles by Nikol Lohr. I love this sweater, and am contemplating making another out of a different yarn. The style suits me well.
I also finished a swap hat for my partner. AND I finished spinning two skeins of yarn! Wow!

I saw, also through Nikol Lohr, that there is a Yarn & Fiber School that she is hosting in Kansas. I wish I could go. I would love to learn some new techniques and get together with other yarnies, but I honestly can't afford the tuition. We are barely scraping by on one income! Maybe I should suggest a scholarship?

Here's a close-up on my purple skein. I think I've gotten better at being more constant with the drafting and spin. It's a beautiful color! Now to figure out what to make or give it to. Hmm...