The “crocodile teeth” hat and a hat for Halloween

This, so far, is my third favorite hat pattern. It needs some fiddling, as you’ll soon see, but it has SO much potential! Let your imagination run wild with color choices, you’re really only limited by the colors your store chooses to stock but I’ve also found a little workaround on that too : ) Let’s go step by step on this one:

“You will need three-eighths of a yard of each color of felt”

I bought one-quarter yard pieces and fit everything just fine. The wool felt is 36″ wide so even cutting a 6″ x 22″ piece you have plenty for the 7 1/2 ” top crown. The directions say cut a 7″ crown but I learned from the last hat that I needed a little more around, even with a 21 1/2″ head because we traditionally measure our heads ABOVE our ears and for hats like these we need to take into account our ears AND hair. When I measure loosely around my ears and hair (if I choose to put it up or wear a Miss Fisher wig) I measure out at 23 1/2″! MEASURE YOUR HEAD AGAIN before you make a hat and then have to give it away to a small child.

“As shown in the diagram there are two dark strips and one light strip of felt for the side portion of the hat. They are cut six inches wide and as long as your head size measurement.”

Be SURE to add for ears, hair BUT NOT seam allowance! The first time around I did the 7 1/2″ crown top and 23″ side panels. The why will become apparent soon.

“The top of the hat is a circle of the lighter material cut seven inches in diameter.”

Do whatever color you want : )

You can see I did. Ever since I found THIS pattern I’ve loved the red/green color combo:

Now comes the tricky part, the part I haven’t mastered yet: “When you have notched the edges of the side strips…” so I’m going to skip ahead and come back to that part later. Let’s just say I did that and move on.

“…pin one of the dark ones to the circular top piece, letting the ends of the strip EXACTLY MEET and arranging the slight fullness evenly around the center piece.” In case you missed me doing this yesterday just go back and read the last post. It’s such a boring step that I’m not going to repeat pictures of it every time : )

“Sew the strip to the center piece as at A, holding the fullness in as you sew. Catch the ends together with small horizontal stitches as at B.”

Can you see the stitches? They blend into the felt pretty well but you can see the felt edges just meet, no overlap, and I stitched them together. Notice the “teeth” cut into my green felt : )

“Now sew the light strip in place half way between the top and bottom of the first strip at at C.”

Lighter green strip sewn onto dark green but not side stitched yet.

“Then sew the third strip exactly over the second one as at D. Join the ends of these strips as you did the first one.”

Looking rather plant-like here…

All seams have been stitched closed. My mother would say it is “very theatrical.” Has she MET me??? : )

“Turn the hat right side out and fold back the various layers as at E, F and G. Cut the strap trim and the felt buckle. Arrange the trimming to cover the joinings in the side sections.”

Ta Da!!

It reminds me of crocodile teeth, I don’t know why (makes me think of Peter Pan and Captain Hook)  but I still like it. What REALLY needs to happen is a re-cut of the “teeth”. I tried another version here:

Heh, heh….

I am not usually one for the black/orange combo but as I was digging through my boxes o’ stuff I found a piece of orange BAMBOO felt that I bought at Stone Mountain way back when I was working on the City challenge for Sew Weekly. I had some grand scheme to make a Golden Gate bridge sort of vest-thingy with it but scrapped the idea. This is by far the softest, nicest felt EVER. It’s a little thinner than the wool/rayon felt and not nearly as stiff which is why I used it as the middle layer. That and orange next to my face is a bad idea.

The changes I made to the Halloween hat was cut the top crown 8″ in diameter and the side pieces 24″. I trimmed off a tiny bit of each side piece once they were sewn on so the pieces wouldn’t overlap but I’d rather trim than re-cut the entire panel because it was too small/tight. I cut the zig-zags further apart and shorter but I’m not happy with them yet. The good thing is I have some depth to play with. When I get it right I’ll definitely post the dimensions.

I didn’t use a self-cut felt buckle, I dug through my bags of buckles and used vintage bakelite because why not : )

The biggest reason to cut your side panels larger than you might think necessary is that by the time you fold all those layers of felt up you’ve got 4 layers of felt wrapped around your head and those 4 layers take up space! I don’t think I’d use the bamboo felt as the lower piece, I don’t know how well it would wear but who knows, if I see a yummy color that I MUST have I’ll give it a try.

On the green hat I added the strap after the hat was sewn together, the Halloween hat I stitched it in with the first layer. It sits down pretty low on the head and face, lower than the drawing shows and yes, you could cut the bands down to 5″ wide and it would be fine. Might have to try that in the future…

The Pattern: The Smart Little Hat

Fabric: Wool/Rayon  and Bamboo felt

Ease of Instructions: Very easy, my only issue is she doesn’t include any dimensions in regard to the “teeth”

Effectiveness (1-10): I’ll give this an 8. It might be nice to try a version that uses narrower side panels.

Notions: Optional buckles, easy to change out.

Hours to complete: An hour and a half for the first one, one hour for the second.

Total cost: Had the dark grey and orange felt leftover from a Sew Weekly challenge, bought some black but since I bought the end of the bolt I paid less than $8 for two yards, so maybe $3.

The first of many hats

Hats, hats, hats…I’ve been a hat-making machine lately! Why make one when you can make ten or so?

This was NOT my first hat but right now it’s my favorite. I’ve discovered that the directions don’t *quite* tell you enough details so I’ll do my best to fill in. At the end of each I’ll rank the pattern so YOU can decide on whether you’d like to try one!

First up – I’m using the wool blend felt you can now get at Joann’s. It runs $10.99 per yard and is 35% wool, 65% rayon. They technically carry a 100% wool felt but in my area finding that is as likely as finding a clerk that knows how to sew. Seriously. The store nearest to me is DREADFUL which is why, at the beginning of the year, I made a vow to go there as LITTLE as possible. I’ve been three times in 6 months where I used to go once or twice a week. But I had no appropriate felt for this project so up I went.

Second – when I went to cut this out the cutting chart shows FIVE side crown pieces but if you do simple math you’ll see that you only need FOUR pieces, two of each color. Ruth even says “The side crown is made of two sections of the light material and two sections of the dark, each section cut six inches wide and seven inches deep.” Why she drew five is a mystery.  “The brim is of the light felt and cut three and one half inches wide and 27 inches long, one end slashed diagonally, and the other slit so that the diagonal end may be slipped through it. These dimensions are for a 22″ head size. They may be easily altered to fit the head that is larger or smaller.”

If you need help figuring out how to cut a 7″ circle check out Kathleen’s videos here. I ended up cutting mine 7 1/4″ in diameter and I’ll explain why in a bit. Here are all my cut pieces:

“Join the side sections of the crown as at A.” I used a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Stitched the final seam and then pinned the side crown to the top crown. Stuart was not amused that I was using HIS ironing board.

“Pin side crown to center arranging the slight fullness evenly. Hold this fullness in as you sew the side crown to the center as at B.”

What you hope to have is a side crown that is SLIGHTLY larger than the top crown so you have to do a *little* bit of easing. Just a LITTLE. Why? Because our heads are round bobbly objects with ears on the side. Trust me here, this works.

Stuart is still not amused.

“The turn crown to right side and join brim to it as at C holding the brim portion slightly full as you sew.”

In other words you want a little fullness as you stitch the brim on as well. Again, ears. And hair. If the hat pieces were straight we’d have a hard time clearing the ears and hair.

Now here’s where the directions end and the hat still needs finishing! I pulled some ribbons out and decided a pop of red on the inside would make me happy. I top stitched it through all the layers and then turned it inside.

I rolled the ribbon in about 3/8″, pinned and then hand stitched. You don’t need to be super careful since stitches won’t show but don’t stitch through the outer grey band!

Stuart has decided what I’m doing is really, really boring and has fallen asleep. Like babies and dogs we don’t disturb sleeping kitties.

“Arrange creases in crown and tack them invisibly.”

I couldn’t figure out how to do more than one and be happy with it so one it is.

“Add jewel pin if desired.”

Maybe later.

Frankly, it is ADORABLE!

Here’s the deal with the measurements – the pattern states this is for a 22″ inch head. Mine is 21 1/2″. I wanted a little more ease so I did a slightly smaller seam allowance (I think 3/8″ was standard at the time) along with the bigger top crown and am quite happy with it.

I haven’t had time to do the kind of photoshoots I want to do to really give these creations their due but if I wait until I have time on the weekends I’ll burn out. For now I’ve got the hat(s) on my hat form but I PROMISE a full-on photo soon!!

I’ve devised this little chart as a way to keep track of how well each of these patterns makes up:

The Pattern: A Two Toned Felt Hat

Fabric: Wool/Rayon felt

Ease of Instructions: Easy if slightly incomplete and that picture of pieces you need to cut can throw you off if you’re not paying attention

Effectiveness (1-10): I’ll give this an 8.5. It’s a little boxy but still adorable.

Notions: Found grosgrain, possible buckle or pin to come.

Hours to complete: ONE!

Total cost: Had the dark grey felt from a Sew Weekly challenge so I only had to buy the light grey felt – ~$3.50

Next up – Crocodile teeth and a hat for Halloween…


The Art of the 20’s Dress is here!!

So I went to Australia….

And I saw a TON of cool stuff, and hung out with cool people, and did a bunch of cool things. All of that will be shared soon : ) But I think it’s time now to get our Miss Fisher on and sew some 20’s things, don’t you??!!!!

 Here we go – buttons, buttons, I’ve got buttons, because we all like buttons:

Copy and paste the code below for your 200 px badge:

<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank" ><img src="" alt="20’s Sew Along" width="200" height="176" longdesc="" /></a> </div>

Copy and paste the code below for your 300 px badge:

<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Twenties Sew Along" width="300″ height="263″ longdesc="" /></a> </div>

Here are the “rules”:

1) You must have fun.

2)This is a non-competitive sewing “challenge” inspired by the looks of the beloved show “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”.  It is meant to broaden horizons and give anyone who has EVER wanted to try the 20’s styles a chance to try something new. In MY case it’s because I’m short, busty and curvy, not at all like the waifs of the era. I am GOING to tackle this decade and own it : )

3) Use anything, any pattern, any photo you like for inspiration. The 20’s has a range of styles that might surprise you. I’ve posted many, many inspirational pieces here and you can find more on The Midvale Cottage Post. I’ve got some other links I’ll include in future posts but there is no shortage of information out there!

4) I made a Flickr account! Just go here to join and upload your ideas, your inspirations and even your questions! I’m going to learn how to make a nifty end-of-challenge video like Rochelle does with her Sew for Victory challenges AND even have a couple of give-aways!

5) HAVE FUN! You can even do a dress in the spirit of Mayhem if you’re so moved. You’ve got until July 20th to make the dress of your dreams, or a hat, or a shawl… Just do something : )

Have I missed anything? Probably. This is what I’m starting with – hats. Yes, hats. Why hats? Well…my original plan was to start with the underwear and work my way out. Only problem with that is hand work – I’ve made a couple undergarments but they need dozens of small hook-n-eyes sewn on so they’re wearable. Last weekend, just BEFORE I was to sit down to finish everything and then do photos, I did THE STUPIDEST thing you can with a cat, I put my hand through the bars of a carrier to “comfort” one of our foster kitties as she went to her new home. She bit me. Duh. Now I can’t hand sew until my index finger (it just HAD to be the index finger, right?) heals. I can barely type, which is a BIG part of my job so work has been interesting the last few days. Ouch. So hats it is : ) But you’ll like these I promise.


I’ll be posting pics of the things Trish from Quiet Vintage Sewing and I saw at the exhibit and found op shopping. That woman can SHOP! I had the BEST time hanging out with someone who loves vintage and knows where to find it. Because of her I had to buy a second suitcase to get everything home… It was WONDERFUL!

Stay tuned : )