nobis opus splendeat: we need more glitter

Posts tagged ‘hat’


Check it out! Someone found my hat and pinned it!!!

That’s right, someone looked at something that I did and liked it so much, they want to look at again later.


This is a monumental day. I think there should be cake. Cake all week.

Yeah, that's me. A long long time ago, ready to bake!

the giant sun hat

A few weeks ago I was on some heavy medication for a busted tailbone (just ask me how much fun THAT is) and I was off work because I couldn’t sit on it.  We don’t get a whole lot of nice warm weather here in Calgary and the the entire weekend ended up being up around 30C (about 85F… hey, stop laughing, that’s as nice as it every gets here!) so I went outside… for about 8 hours.  In my medicated haze I decided that the baseball cap that I was wearing would cover my face.  I used SPF 70 2 or 3 times that day on my arms and they only burned slightly. The hat covered my forehead in a semi-circle down to my eyes so it’s bright white, and I very badly burned the rest of my face.  When I came back to work, people asked me if it was a chemical burn.  It ended up peeling about 3 times, 4 in some places.  One day my husband came home and I was crying and when he asked me why I told him that my face just hurt so much.

So to avoid EVAR burning like that again (and because I had the pattern already and it was just so cute!) I tried my hand at Amy Butler’s “Blue Sky Hats”. We had a corporate sports day coming up, and even though I couldn’t run around with a broken tail, I was a scorekeeper so I’d be sitting outside in the sun all day long.

First, when I sat down to look at the fabric suggestions I was very surprised. The pattern says that you can use quilt weight OR home dec weight cotton. The brim is the same print top and bottom, but you can line the hat in something else. The hat is then reinforced with heavy interfacing or canvas. If you use in both cases the cap part of the hat uses 1 layer of interfacing, but with quilt weight cotton the brim uses 3(!!!) layers of interfacing!

I used some of Patty Young’s Flora & Fauna, the black one with the polka dots and the bright pink flowers, and I had enough to line it in the same thing. There are essentially 2 pattern pieces – the brim piece and the cap piece. The brim piece is the entire brim, the cap piece is 1/6th of the cap. In the end I ended up cutting from the quilt weight 12 cap pieces and 2 brim pieces, and from the canvas 6 cap pieces and 3 brim pieces. It just seemed like a whole lot of fabric for a single hat!.

The instructions for the most part were very concise but clear, except that the quilt-weight version seemed to be an after-thought to the pattern instructions. There is a step that indicates that if you’re using home dec fabric, baste the single interfacing layer to the exterior brim, but if you’re using quilt weight attach interfacing to the exterior and interior layers… and this is the last time it’s mentioned. stay-stitching is used on the brim, and then you cut notches in the curved seam, but it’s not clear what’s going on with this basted line. I found myself having to read the instructions out-loud to myself somewhere in the middle to figure out which pieces were supposed to go where in what order.

In the end, it’s a really sturdy, REALLY well built hat. There is a whole lot of fabric involved, but it doesn’t seem bulky or overdone. I’m trying to figure out the SPF factor of 5 layers of fabric, but my face was very safe all day long. The brim ended up stiff enough that it stands up on its own, but soft enough that you can, for instance, lay down on the ground on your front to score-keep for a game of ultimate frisbee with a broken tail and not have the brim jab into your back. It could easy be folded up to take with you to the beach, but isn’t too floppy to be able to see out from under.

the mushroom hat (aka, the Strawberry Shortcake hat)


generations of Strawberry Shortcake. source:

Okay, I’m not talking about the first one (though I dearly love her from my childhood!) or the second one, but that third one on the far right… that’s what this hat reminds me of.

I was looking for cool hat ideas – I’ve been really into hats lately – and I’m still learning about the mechanics of how a hat goes together when I noticed that none of my pattern books have any hats! They all have the same “pyjama pants, cosmetics bag, jewelry roll”, but the only hat pattern I seem to have is the one that I tried out already that didn’t work out so well. So I started Googling and I came up with this link and got straight to work!

The outer cap and outer and inner bands are made from a Japanese fabric that I picked up at modes4u a while back and was scared to cut into for the longest time. The brim is 4 layers of black canvas with 2 layers of light fusible interfacing (I don’t have any heavy interfacing at home… oops!). For the lining I decided to use this gorgeous satin fabric that I had leftover from a skirt that I made (I’ll post it at a later date). After creating the pattern (watch out, it’s in metric! 4cm is about 1/2 inch.) I skimmed the instructions and closed the laptop and faked it from there, so I don’t know if I constructed it in the same way, but it’s my own!

I sewed together the outer and inner cap and then pinned them to each other. Then I constructed, turned, and top-stitched the brim. I attached the outer and inner band to the brim and then attached the band to the cap. The cap is a whole lot bigger than the band, so I pinned in 8 places around the band and tucked the cap every so often.

I love this hat! It’s cute and it fits beautifully! If I were to make it again (and I think I certainly will be!) I would:

  • Make sure that the seam where the top is sewn shut is sideways instead front-to-back. Alternatively, I’d like to try attaching a fabric-covered button there to cover the gap.
  • I’d make the cap part even bigger.  The instructions just say “a curved line”, so I drew a relatively conservative line between the two points, but I want to try bowing it right out!
  • I think the original might have been a lighter cotton to make it floofier. I know that’s not a word, but my mom always told me that if you can use it in a sentence, it’s a word.
  • I should have hemmed the satin – I already knew that if you don’t, it runs like crazy everywhere! I might still cover it with a ribbon…

quatchi, my usual hat model

*toot toot* part 2

So I went home and stared at my hat.  I love the fabric, I love the concept, I love everything about it except the height.  So I grabbed the biggest section in the middle and started pinning.  I pinned about 2 inches I think (1 inch on each side) and then tried it on… my husband made a face – too small.  I pulled it back to about an inch (1/2 inch on each side) and tried it on… much better! I went to look in the mirror and it looked like I thought it was originally going to look!



It kinda feels like double-vision when you’re looking at it… if I were to do this again with such a distinctly repeating print I would have shifted the bands down the fabric so the viewfinders weren’t stacked on top of each other like they are now. But nonetheless I really like the hat now! 😀

*toot toot* all aboard!

I was working on a hat last night. I used my highly-coveted Ruby Star Rising Viewfinder fabric (I think it actually hurt to cut into that!). I used the pattern out of my One Yard Wonders book for the “Good Hat Day” hat and I checked out Pink Chalk’s review HERE and they said it was easy, fit well, and it looked good with no major problems.

There is only a single pattern piece for the brim, the rest of the pieces are different sized rectangles. The pattern is to face some pieces of fabric with the “wrong” side out for “contrast”… perhaps I’ve been conditioned too much to have the “right” sides out, but the “wrong” side out just looks wrong to me. So I planned to have all the pieces right side out, and according to the pattern text, this is just fine. I still ran into quite a few problems with this pattern.

When putting together the bands, for the exterior it says to sew right sides together (ok) and then to put the wrong sides together to join the two ends (what?), and then for the interior it says to sew the wrong sides together (whatever) and then put the right sides together to join the two ends. Won’t you just end up with raw seams that way? I ignored the instructions and reversed the seams so the raw edges were facing in.

When attaching the brim, it just says “attach”, when in reality I think you need to sew a seam all the way around. I did this and it forms the bottom seam of your hat.

How the heck do you put the top on this hat? the nearest I can figure is to fold under the top raw edge of the exterior, stack it on top of the top circle and the interior and then blindly sew them all together in one go, but the instructions just say “sew together”. I ended up facing the raw edges into the inside of the hat so it’s no longer reversible.

that's one scary looking hat... what height does it have to be to qualify as a "top hat"?

Why is it so tall? I feel like a train engineer! (hence the name of the post) I’m going to take out a section of the height and make it shorter because I don’t feel like it’s wearable as it is. Maybe the circumference of my head is just too small compared to the height of the hat! But the fit on this hat is amazing. It is just perfect for my head, and again, I have a fairly small head.

Quatchi - my usual hat model... he's got a big head.

vacation sewing!

One of the coolest things about blogging and reading other people’s blogs is the moment you realize that there are a lot of people out there that are just as crazy as you are. And today, the crazy I’m referring to insatiable need to complete last minute sewing for a trip or event, sometimes as close as minutes before leaving the house. Last year I made a soft case for my camera and all of my camera parts while we were waiting for the taxi to arrive. This year my vacation sewing included:

  • a hat (see the “welding hat” post)
  • a wrap skirt
  • two zippered cases for cosmetics and hair clips
  • a neck pillow for the plane

So let’s start at the top… the hat.  You’ve already seen it, but here are some “action shots”!  We went to an area of Bavaro Beach near Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for 7 days.


me, my hubby, a coconut, and my hat at the beach near Punta Cana

It was THE BEST! It blocked all sun, kept me cool, and I even wore in the ocean and while snorkeling to keep the sun off of my white, white head. AND, it’s really like 2 hats because it’s fully reversible, which is da bomb when you’re traveling! (I couldn’t find any pics of me wearing it the other way, but I did!)

Next, a wrap skirt. This one was the weekend before I left. My sewing buddy watched in amazement while I just started hacking and sewing. It was roughly something like this:

*I’ll put a diagram in here when I get home today*

I have one picture of it waiting to be packed, but it kinda sucks, so here are some “action shots”!

me, my hubby, and my FIL waiting to be picked up by a bus out front of the hotel

on the tour

So overall, the skirt was a smashing success! It was just long enough, just wide enough, the ties were just long enough… but if I was to do it again I would make some loops to string the tie back through… I might still add them to this skirt. The material was perfect, it’s by Trans Pacific Textiles, carried at Hawthorne Threads, HERE!

Next, as I was throwing everything down the stairs in a pile to shove in my suitcase, I notices that I needed something to contain all of the little things… hair elastics, barrettes, pills, and everything else that a girl totes around with her on vacation. I made 2 of them, matching, one half the size of the other, using a Kokka light canvas, lined with a muslin, and purple zippers from Zipit, my favorite Etsy zipper store!

Sorry, pouches don’t really lend themselves to “action”!

And lastly, but not least… ly? A neck pillow. This one I totally winged at 8pm the night before we were to get up at 2am to go to the airport. I was cleaning up my sewing stuff and I saw the minky cuddle fabric stacked up on my table and it just came to me. I looked through all of my books for a pattern, but the closest I could find was a baby feeding pillow which was way to big. So I folded the end of the fabric into 4 (to make 2 pieces that were each symmetrical) and just started cutting. I sewed the right sides together and hand sewed the gap closed after stuffing. The result was the snuggliest and softest pillow EVER (not to mention cutest!), and everyone around me on the plane was jealous.

the snuggliest, softest, cutest travel pillow EVAR!

And when I got *REALLY SICK* on my vacation and spent an entire day just laying on the deck of my room trying not to die, it was a huge comfort. I didn’t have any of my sicky-pyjamas or my blankets to cuddle up under, but I did have a super-soft hug of a pillow!

a super-soft hug of a travel pillow

and even more exciting is the fact that I just ordered a couple of days ago the matching silky satin for pyjama pants 😀

So anyways, that’s the story of my vacation sewing. See ya later!

what’s in a hat?

For my dad’s birthday I made him a hat. Not just any old hat, it’s a welding hat. At first glance, you might wonder what exactly is wrong with these welding hats? They look weird, like a real ball-cap’s geeky younger brother. They’re often made from strange fabrics, like someone just reached into the scrap bin and started sewing. They don’t have a stiff brim, kind of like when you were little and your mom made you a pair of jeans, but they never looked or felt like real jeans (not my mom, she’s a denim expert – love you mom!).

I come from a family of welders… each boy in my family was taught to weld at an early age, and my grandfather even owned a welding company, complete with a welding truck, called “Triple ‘B’ Welding”. I wish I could find the picture of my brother’s tattoo, it’s a copy of the patch.

My uncle's tattoo...

So when I saw Haley’s post about welding hats, I went more than a little crazy. Growing up my grandfather wore one full time, and everyone else has a bunch of them. So what’s up with a welding hat?

  • The tall body and tight fit to prevent sparks from hitting your head.
  • A slightly floppy brim so you can roll it up and shove it in your back pocket
  • A very deep brim for maximum coverage, but where it attaches to the body of the hat is not very stiff, so you can bend the brim up and have it stay put
  • It fits almost the same way all the way around, so you can turn it backwards and keep sparks from going down the back of your shirt, or sideways to protect your ear
  • 100% cotton, synthetics would melt and good luck getting it off then!
  • Crazy patterns – I have absolutely no idea why, but it seems like the crazier the better!

So here’s my attempt at a welding hat, using a scaled down version of Haley’s pattern, and consulting the instructions HERE.

me. i look like a derfwad trying to take a picture of myself with my own phone in a mirror.

Quatchi is a much better model, here you see "the flip up".

I used Tool Shed in Brown from Suburbia by Caleb Gray for Robert Kaufman, and Measuring Tape in Yellow from Tailor Made by Cosmo Cricket for Andover.

So there you have it. I think they’re adorable hats and because they’re 100% cotton and flexible, they’re awesome:

  • under helmets (biking, rollerblading… I actually burnt the top of my head once through the slots in my helmet… the brim is very flexible and will fit under your helmet easily, and I like it backwards to keep the sun off of my neck)
  • swimming (yes I constantly burn my head doing that, and these hats are a nice snug fit)
  • kayaking (it’s very nice to dip it in the water and put it back on your head cold and wet, and the brim is nice and deep for glare off of the water)
  • just looking awesome – ’cause welders are awesome 😀

Some tips to get it right:

  • Get a pattern!  Welding hats have a very specific look, and when I showed my mom the picture, she said we’d nailed it. Haley made her pattern from taking apart a welding hat.  Each hat piece is slightly asymmetrical, and as that other link says, that’s key in getting the shape just right (your head isn’t round, is it?  ok, most people’s head’s aren’t round, they’re oblong).  Cut half facing one way and half facing the other and keep track of them when you’re sewing them together.
  • Cut all six pieces at a time.  If you want to get really fancy, I suppose you could try to cut 12, but that would likely be disastrous, 6 is sufficient.  You just want to make sure that they’re all exactly the same size.
  • Do read all the directions. As that other link says, you want to make sure you sew the 3 pieces that look the same together, press, sew the other  3 pieces together, press, sew the two halves together, and then press it the best you can.
  • That’s all I can think of.  Besides requiring a bit of patience and precision, it was pretty straight forward once you know what you’re doing. In a nutshell: put together the outside, set that aside, put together the inside, set that aside, put together the brim. Put all the pieces together inside-out, turn, top-stitch.  That’s it!

When I showed it to my mom, she was quite pleased, she said that I’d totally nailed it, but it was missing the brim stitching.

My dad loves his hat. The first thing he said is “you’re gonna be in trouble”. When I asked why, he said “because your uncles are gonna want one too!” Apparently the people that they’d been getting their hats from are long gone, so my uncle had given my mom one to dismantle and make a pattern from and she’d never gotten around to it. After I gave the hat away I missed it, so I made one for me! I used Robert Kaufman’s Rosettes in Leaf from Night and Day 3, and Love in White from Feeling Groovy by Doodlebug designs for Riley Blake – the greens matched perfectly!

Thanks again, Quatchi!  This one is going on vacation with me!

the life of a ninja…

I started working on this fabulous welding hat pattern from Haley, The Autocrat earlier this week. I started by cutting fabrics… check it, I cut 6 pieces at the same time!

and then I got distracted.

Distracted by sleep – I was in bed by 6pm two nights in a row this week… I blame the medications that I’ve been taking.

Distracted by work – I put in 16 hours on my contract programming project in the last week, trying to get it finished so the hardware can be deployed on location next week… and that’s apart from my full-time job.

Distracted by fabrics… I wasn’t totally sold on the fabric that I chose for the inside of the hat, and then it came to me yesterday which fabric I really wanted, so I have to re-cut.

And distracted by love – I have a romantic Valentines Day weekend planned with my hubby! I won’t have time to work on it until at least Sunday, though I have a baby shower to go to on Sunday.

It ain’t easy being a ninja.

wip clue…

guess what I was working on last night…

more on that tomorrow…

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