Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Walk like an Egyptian

During lunch I popped into H&M and found a bracelet that just screamed my name. Or, at least, Art Deco.

I love the colours and I love the Egyptian flair to it. I'm thinking it would look lovely with a floppy sunhat and ridiculously wide linen trousers.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

DIY: How to make a simple hat

One of the simplest ways of making a hat is to start out with a ready-made cone. You can get them everywhere in wool, quite often very cheaply, but in the example I'm about to show you, I used a jute cone from Nehelenia Patterns.

You need:
1. hat cone
2. water and cornstarch, mixed in a spray bottle
3. lots of pins
4. pot of boiling water
5. hat block or wig holder or similar (I used a styrofoam head - I have a wood hatblock which is great for fitting and blocking, but the styrofam head is easier to handle and better for pinning when you're draping and shaping IMO)
6. plastic

Cover your hatform/hatblock with the plastic. Like this:

It's just to make sure that the hat doesn't stick to your hatblock/styrofoam head. You won't keep it.

Hold the hat over the boiling water until it's thoroughly steamed (I don't have a picture for this, but I kinda think you'll get it anyway). Spray down the inside (just the inside!) with the starch.

Put the hat on your form and stretch it until you have flattened the crown down. Pin it down.

Shape the hat as you want it - make ridges and drapes, form the brim as you want it. The hat is going to be soft and stretch easily, so it's not hard. If the hat seems uncooperative, try a little more steam (you can hold the styrofoam head over the pot and just apply a little more steam where you need it). Pin the hat down as you go.

Like this:

If it all goes kablooey, don't worry. You can just start from the beginning by steaming it up and reblocking/reshaping it.

Once you have a shape you like, make sure it's thoroughly pinned in place and leave it for at least 6 hours to dry.

Here's mine:

Once it's dry, it will be quite firm and hold its shape. It's partly the steaming and partly the starch that does the trick.

Now the fun starts. You can apply any sort of trimming you like - ribbons, flowers, butterflies, bows...  You can match it to the outfit you're going to wear it with by using the same or matching colours and styles, because it's no biggie to swap the trimmings for when you wear a different outfit. Just make sure to sew and not glue any trimming on, and you can just snip them off and stitch whatever else you like.

For this, I used some paper flowers I had lying about, and some scraps of  fabric. I sewed a wide ribbon out of the fabric and tied a bow at the back, before stitching the flowers in place on the side.

Eh voilà! That's it!

A brand new summer hat!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

My week in pictures

I took an early morning 10K hike through fields and woods. I even crossed a few streams. 

Naturally, I wore my plus fours. 

Only in Sweden; a freshly made rune stone I came across on my hike. 

I wore one of my new hats.

And I passed through the small Swedish town of Nässjö.

So how was your week?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Je suis modiste!

I haven't finished the hat I began last week. Instead, I finished another hat project that I began a while back.

I didn't properly make this because I got a ready made felt cone, but I blocked and draped it and added all the embellishments.

It began like this:

Then I steamed and starched it and draped it on top of my wig holder. If you never tried free form blocking, you should. It's really fun (and extremely easy).

I made mine assymetrical with two pleats running over the brim across the forehead, and down on the left. To balance that, I added some trimming on the right side - I made two large 'petals' with three tongues out of black wool felt which I starched and sewed on. I also made a felt flower (description here) and a draped 'ribbon' out of felt across the front.

And voilà! Suddenly I had this:

From the right side:

And the left:

From behind, the asymmetrical shape is clearly visible:

I sewed rather than glued on the trimmings. That way I can just snip them off if I want to make changes to it. If I grow tired of it, I can just steam it and reshape it!

My only regret is that it's pretty much spring here and so I won't be able to use it for long before it gets too warm. Anyway, when I get enough energy together to put on some make up, I'll show you what it looks like when it's being worn by a real person.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Mosaic meme

Many years ago I came across a rather fun image-based meme that I thought would serve rather well as an introduction to me.

Here's how to:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Creative Commons Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favourite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your favourite word?

Here’s my mosaic:

 I've shown you mine. Now show me yours!

Picture sources:
1. Betty Hackney, 2. Shop front of the New York Marble Bar and Ice Cream Parlor, Queen Street, Brisbane, ca. 1912, 3. Tonsåsen Sanatorium, Valdres, Norway, 4. White, 5. [Portrait of Barney Bigard, Ben Webster, Otto Toby Hardwick(e), Harry Carney, Rex William Stewart, Sonny Greer, Wallace (Leon) Jones(?), and Ray Nance, Howard Theater(?), Washington, D.C., between 1938 and 1948] (LOC), 6. Carnaval: vrouw in matrozenpak / Mardi Gras: woman in sailor suit, 7. Frolicing [sic] in the surf at Oldsmar, 8. Man and woman at Warwick Farm racecourse, 9. Dulcie Deamer, c. 1920s / by Leighton Studios, 10. Pen en papier / Pen and paper, 11. Sail Wagon, Brooklyn (LOC), 12. Rollen tapijt en traplopers

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Perils of Being Boring

In the immortal words of Trent Reznor: My butt hurts.

Reason: yesterday I started on a new hat. It's going to be a wool and faux-silk cloche and since I don't have a table to work on and always pattern and cut on the floor, I spent a few hours yesterday crouching on the floor. This was not something my gluteus maximus appreciated and today I am paying the price.

Anyway, I'm freestyling this (as in, I made up the pattern myself on the go), but I was inspired by this picture.

I'm only halfway and I have to undo the last two rows of stitching because I made pleats where I now realise there should be no pleats. Anyway, here's how it looked when I'd pinned together the wool parts:

I think it'll come out nicely, although let me tell you that undoing stitches in wool felt is a pain in the...

Yes, that's right. That was where this post started., wasn't it?