Top Hat! The first of many…

My first step was researching….. so many hours of eye burning, headache inducing, internet research. Until I stumbled upon This Site. Thank you American Duchess, you are simply amazing and nothing short of an absolute inspiration! The tutorials are fantastic, and the blog is loaded with information and humor (two of my favorite things!).
So taking up Millinery has been kind of tough, and I have to admit not my forte thus far. Its been pretty hard to find information on how to make good quality hats of all different sorts. Especially difficult to find exactly what materials I need to make such hats. Finally, I have come across a few sites with information on how to do this and what to use. Hence the reason I have started trying my hand at hat making.
Using all of this information (found here and on the previously mentioned blog) this is what I have come up with.
The first step was to determine what size I wanted the finished product to be, and since this was to be a mini hat I didn’t use the dimensions of my (sometimes lovingly referred to as “HUGE”) head. I cut the basic pieces out of embroidery cloth, with no seam allowances as this portion is for structural purposes. Then I cut the same pieces out of a heavy canvas with the seam allowances included. To get the tapered center I decided to make 4 darts around the middle of the pillar of the hat (but you can see that because I forgot to make the darts in the actual hat material, and only did them in the 2 structural pieces).
This is where I made the darts in the pillar of the hat
The next step was to attach the two pillar pieces together. Remember that the embroidery cloth doesn’t have a seam allowance but the canvas piece does. So you have to center the embroidery cloth inside the canvas (or learn from my mistake, and mark it with a piece of chalk).

Here you can see the pillar pieces sewn together, and the darts are visible

The next step is to make the top of the hat. I stitched an ‘X’ through the center to keep the two structural pieces from shifting or puckering.

Now its time to notch the outer edge of the top. When you add it to the pillar this will help reduce the bulkiness of the fabric and make it fit much better.

Now its time to make the brim. I doubled up the canvas here, for more structure. You will clip the center of the circle to the seam allowance once you stitch the layers together.

Now to cut the top, sides and brim out of the fabric for the outside of the hat. I used a brown corduroy fabric that I have had forever (and couldn’t think of any other use for). Sew the pillar pieces together. Once you cut the circle out of the fabric for the top you will want to stitch it to the canvas and notch it the same as the structural piece.

Now to add the top to the pillar…. this part seemed kind of puzzling to me. But here is how I finally figured out to do it: push the top through the bottom of the pillar, toward the top of the hat. It keeps the tabs inside the hat and is easier than trying to tuck them in from the top. I was fortunate enough to have an embroidery hoop that was the perfect size to stuff inside the hat and hold the shape while I whip stitched the top on.

Ta-da! It has a lid!

Next I cut out the brim. I cut a big circle, wrong sides together, and sewed it to the canvas just as you see it in this picture. Then I cut out the center, turned it right side out, and the brim was ready for the wire! Now some people put the wire on the outside, but I didn’t want mine to be visible. So I measured the size of the outer-most edge of the brim, cut the wire, and formed a circular shape. I used another embroidery hoop to help me get the shape, but my brim was more of an oval. In order to fit it inside I had to kind of mash the shape anyway, so it worked out okay. If I were to do it again, I would encase it in fabric and add it to the brim like cording, or possibly whip stitch it to one side of the outer fabric.

Clip the inside edges to the seam allowance, and stitch it. Then I added a piece of bias tape to have a more finished edge. You could also do this with the lining, its totally a personal preference thing. 🙂

Now to whip stitch the brim to the hat! I just stitched through the tabs, not the bias tape.

the last step was to stitch the bias tape to the lining of the hat. Since it’s such a small hat this isn’t really necessary, but since it was my first hat I thought “what the heck, why not?” and added one.

And this is the finished product! I just have to add embellishments, like ribbons and what not. I have some netting and stuff I will add. I am thinking of making this one a little more Steampunk-esque but I haven’t decided yet.

I will post my finished product when I get the details all added, and I promise it won’t be a crappy mobile phone pic 🙂

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About kosherpickles

I am Sheena, and welcome to my crazy blog! No matter which one you are reading, you are surely in for a ride! I have been living with Bi-polar Disorder for over half my life. Writing is the one thing I have found that helps me live with it, instead of battling it. I am also a Graphic Designer, and a photographer. I am pretty passionate about life, and the little things are what make me happy. Questions? Feel free to ask, I'm pretty much an open book. View all posts by kosherpickles

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