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.