Search Results for: me made may

The Unconventional Way to Make a Hat

how to make a hat the artyologist

Millinery is the ancient and detailed profession of designing, making and trimming hats. Despite the fact that hats have largely fallen out of fashion, millinery is still alive and well. It is an art form that requires a high level of skill, and the knowledge and use of materials and techniques such as steaming felt, straw and buckram. There are tutorials and classes out there that teach the proper methods to forming hats.

how to make a hat the artyologist

This is not that kind of tutorial.

This is the quick and easy, but perhaps not “proper” way to make a hat. Someday I would like to be able to improve my proficiency in hatmaking, but in the meantime, using the resources available to me, and the limited knowledge I do have, I was still able to come up with a way to achieve the effect I was looking for. So if you’d like to know how I made the coral hat I wore in this post, keep reading!

little hat before the artyologist

(Little hat, you are so cute, but such a failure)

I made this little flowered hat a few years ago. However, it was a first attempt and it wasn’t very good.  When I took a good look at it, I decided that (like the coral hat) it was just too small and never worked with my hair styles. Me Made May was a perfect time to try and fix it so I could wear it! My first thought was to add flowers to the sides, like I did to the coral hat, however that didn’t work out as there was the netting to deal with, and I couldn’t just widen it like I did with the coral one. However I liked the idea of an explosion of flowers atop my head, so the only way was to take it apart and start over.

how to make a hat starch and fabric the artyologist

(The brand is Api’s Crafters Pick Fabric Stiffener)

The base of this hat was made with an old curtain. The weave of this lace reminded me of the hats from the 50’s. For the coral hat I used an old piece of goat hair interfacing I had. You could use any piece of stiff material, as it will be starched into shape. First, cut the fabric into the size needed (and make sure not to cut it too small like I did!) if you have a hat similar to this already, you could just measure it and cut the fabric to the same size.

Now, saturate the fabric with fabric starch. I used this brand that I picked up at Michael’s craft store. It kind of looks like white glue, but it dries stiff and clear. The easiest method I found was to put the lace into a small bowl and just pour some of the starch over it and work it in with my hands. It’s messy, but don’t worry: it washes off easily! You could also use a brush if you wanted.

Once the fabric is completely saturated, you are ready to form it. You can use a hat form if you happen to have one lying around, but as I mentioned this is the unconventional way to make a hat, and I do not have a hat form. But, never fear, lot’s of things can be used instead! I have heard that bowls make great forms, and I would like to try that for the next hat I make, however for this hat, as I wanted a “cap” style, I used a foam head.

using a foam head as a hat form the artyologist

(Dear foam head: you are creepy, but you work!)

Wrap your form in a layer of plastic wrap, if it is porous, so the starch won’t wreck it. Then place the lace over the form and wrap it in another layer of plastic wrap to secure it in shape. Let it dry overnight, and then carefully remove the outer layer of plastic. The cloth will probably still be wet as the plastic doesn’t let in enough air to dry completely, but it will most likely be dry enough to hold shape. Once you have removed the plastic outer layer, let the fabric dry completely, until it is hard and in shape. You are now ready to make a hat!

wire gridwork how to make a hat the artyologist

(The wire grid on the inside of the coral hat; the wire won’t show so I didn’t cover it)

Measure the circumference of the edge of the fabric and cut a length of wire, adding an inch to overlap and secure together. For this lace hat, I only wired the edge, but for the coral hat, where the wires would be covered, I made a framework of wires. A great place to get wire is in the hardware section rather than in the craft section, as the supplies are usually cheaper there. I use a roll of wire I got from the dollar store (I don’t remember what gauge it is). Note that this is not memory wire, as it doesn’t spring back into shape, but can be bent out of and into shape. I used two pieces for added strength, and taped them together by wrapping them with washi paper tape. You could also use masking tape or florists tape- I’ve used them before- I just used washi as that is what I had handy.

building the wire edge how to make a hat the artyologist

(Taping the wire together first, and then wrapping with ribbon)

Now you are left with a nice solid ring, or gridwork, but an ugly one, so it is time to cover it if you are making a mesh hat where the wire might show. If the hat is solid fabric, you don’t need to cover the wire, as it won’t show. Covering the wire can be done in two ways: either sew a narrow channel and slide the wire into it, or wrap it with a ribbon. To wrap with ribbon, secure the end with some hot glue and then wrap, adding a dot of glue every once in a while to keep it nice and tight.

Now bend the wire into the shape that you need it to be. I simply placed it on my head and pressed it into shape.

Now it is time to secure the wire to the base! Using a needle and thread, sew the base onto the wire around the circumference. Make sure to keep it even the entire way around. Then trim off any excess material. If some of the starch has dried across the lace (see picture below) then just poke through it with a pin to remove it.

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Now you are left with the perfect base to embellish!

Play around with options before you commit, by pinning flowers, bows, ribbons (anything is game!) onto the hat before sewing them. I pinned the flowers I took off the old hat onto the new base. I also decided to try a veil to see how that would look. I pinned it all together as a mock up and tried it on!

decorating the hat the artyologist

Unfortunately, it looked like the entire 1980’s had exploded into a hat. This was not quite the look I was going for. 🙁 So, perhaps this tutorial should actually be entitled, “How to Start Fixing One Hat and End Up With A Completely Different One”!

I decided that I did like the pink peony though, so I started thinking about how I could incorporate that into my design. Then I had an idea: edge the hat in ribbon leaves!

Here’s how to make ribbon leaves. They are very easy and quick to make. (I made them all in the time it took me to watch a movie. Actually, I trimmed the entire hat in that time, so you can see it is actually very quick to whip up a hat). Cut a length of ribbon long enough to fold both sides in at a 45 degree angle. Press into shape. Sew a running stitch along the bottom of the triangle and then gather. Trim off any excess, but make sure not to cut the gathering stitch.

ribbon leaves

I also decided to make a new centre for the peony so that it would coordinate with the ribbon leaves. Once you have figured out your design, sew the pieces onto the base. You can also use hot glue (but make sure to test first to make sure that the glue won’t soak through and show to the proper side, or you’ll end up with a spotty look). As you are sewing, make sure to catch only the under layers, or make very tiny stitches, so they won’t show to the front.

make a hat sewing on the leaves the artyologist

When I made the coral hat, I covered the goat hair lining with a piece of satin, but stitching it around the edge of the base (in case any showed through) and then I just sewed a thousand peach coloured silk flowers to the top of it. This took a while, but I used long stitches, making sure to only catch tiny bits of the flower, (like the ribbon leaves above) so you wouldn’t see the stitches.

coral hat how to make a hat the artyologist

(I also added a little pouf of veiling, just for some fluffiness)

I decided to add a veil to the lace hat, so I gathered a piece of Russian netting to create a short veil. I got the netting at Fabricland, but if you don’t have access to this kind of netting, and you want to add a veil, you can use any kind of netting or tulle.  I made the veil narrow, as I didn’t want it to come over my face, but rather just over my forehead. If you need to cut the netting to size, make sure to cut through the middle of the squares. This way you will have a nice edge and the netting won’t fray. (If you are using regular tulle, also try to cut along the edges of the pieces where the threads join, otherwise you end up with thread “legs” sticking out, rather than a neat edge) If you gather the veil in a semi circle shape, it will pull into a rounded shape and the edges will meet up with the sides of the hat. To gather, put your needle through the little squares in the Russian netting and gently gather into shape. Trim off any excess netting, but make sure not to cut your gathering stitch. Then, stitch the veil onto the hat, but make sure not to stitch through the good side of your hat.

russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(cut through the squares, and gather by stitching into the squares)

how to gather russian netting how to make a hat the artyologist

(I used only 1/2 the width, but you could use the entire width for a veil that would cover your face)

Now you have a hat, but how will you secure it to your head? I used a length of elastic, as I have found this works best with my short hair, but you could also use a comb, attach the hat to a headband or add loops and secure with hatpins or bobby pins. I use a black elastic, as it blends better with my hair than white would.

make a hat attaching the elastic the artyologist

(the messy inside of the hat- but it works!)

Now you have another hat to add to your collection!

Oh and a couple of notes:

-The fabric stiffener is water soluble, so do not wear your hat in the rain!

-I have not been able to come up with a good way to line the hat, as of yet, so for now the coral hat is not nice and neat on the inside. I’m OK with that, as when I am wearing it, nobody can see the messy inside, but if I figure out a way to line it, I will someday. Do you know of a good way to line it?

So there you go, the unconventional way to make a hat! Would you try making a hat, or have you ever made a hat before? How did it go? What kind of hats do you like the most?

Also, stay tuned for a post later this week, where the hat will make it’s debut! (Or rather, I guess since I have already shown you the hat, it will not be a debut, but . . . )

how to make a hat the finished hat the artyologist

Why Everyone Needs A Flower Covered Hat

image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Quite simply put, flower covered hats are the best.

Sometimes elegant and graceful, sometimes verging on the point of ridiculous, they inject a bright touch of colour and fun to any outfit they are paired with. Flower covered hats have been around since, well forever, considering that women (and men!) used to wear wreaths of flowers in their hair in ancient Greek culture even before traditional hats were “invented”.

Adorning the heads of women the world around, throughout history and still today, it’s no surprise that flowers are so popular for headwear, considering they are so naturally beautiful. Flowers add a lovely touch to any ensemble, whether there is one flower or many, whether they form a crown, an accent or a full fledged hat, whether they are real or fake or whether they are brightly coloured or muted pastels. There is just something about wearing flowers in one’s hair that adds that sweet touch of whimsy to any ensemble.

image of grass and simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Now take this outfit for example, I wore last Sunday. Without the floral hat, this navy dress would be prim, proper and conservative. Adding a peach and coral flower covered hat however, takes it from a quiet and traditional vintage look, to one resembling the vibrant and eccentric early 1960’s. It kind of reminds me of the bridal hats of that era, except for the fact it’s not white. 🙂

It was the perfect thing to wear, on Sunday for two reasons. One, since we’ve had a rainy stretch lately, and are in need of a touch of spring, a floral hat reminded me of the fact that the rain will not last forever! 🙂 (I actually like the rain, but still, a Spring hat was needed)

And reason number two, we are 2/3 of the way through the month of May, and I pledged to wear each of my handmade garments this month. (Read about Me Made May here) This hat and dress are two of the items I made that I still needed to wear, so Sunday was the day!

I actually made this hat a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t very good, and every time I attempted to wear the hat, it just looked stupid. Really it did. So this last week I examined it to see why exactly it was stupid and I came to the conclusion that I had made the cap too small, so it didn’t look like a hat, and it was too large to be an accent or fascinator. With that realization, I was able to fix the hat by adding two bunches of flowers to the ends, so it now comes down to the ears like a crown (or bridal hat!) instead of just floating on my head without any purpose. Note to self- do not make hats too small, or they look ridiculous!

image of trench coat and flower covered hat the artyologist

Anyways, I’m not sure what era this outfit is supposed to resemble, since the hat looks late 50’s/ early 60’s to me, but the dress is Simplicity 1777, a 1940’s repro pattern, and the shoes also resemble the platforms of the 1940’s. Whatever, that’s the nice thing about living in this day and age- we can choose what we want to wear. And hopefully for you that includes a flower covered hat 🙂

So, what do you think of wearing flowers on your head? Do ever wear hats with flower accents?

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image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hatThis unique and dramatic pose is called “the Goose” 😉 Don’t you think?

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Sundresses in the Rain

image of lilac blooms portrait the artyologist

It is lilac season again! I’ve never lived in a place with so many lilacs before, so it is very nice to experience this year two hedges just bursting with lilac blooms. Are the lilacs blooming where you live? Or are they already done and gone? (Alberta’s spring comes slowly!) This is a photo heavy post I warn you, simply because the lilacs are so beautiful, I couldn’t narrow the photos down. . .

image of lilacs, seersucker dress and umbrella the artyologist

image of seersucker peasant dress the artyologist

It is so strange how quickly the weather can change, as earlier this week the temperatures were +30 (celcius) and now for the next few days we have hit a rainy spot. So, what do you wear when it is Spring, but you look out your window and it’s raining? Why your sundresses, of course! Dressing as though it is the sunniest, warmest day does wonders to improving a cloudy day. (This is my scientific hypothesis of course!) Do you ever dress contrary to what the weather demands?

image of trenchcoat lilacs and umbrella the artyologistOk I concede, I did wear a coat when I went out! But the rain did stop long enough for these pictures.

image of seersucker dress and lilacs

So, this seersucker dress is one that I got a nice little kick in the pants to finish, because of my Me Made May challenge. I was looking at my closet at the beginning of the month thinking, “wow, I don’t actually have that many me made garments at the moment”, and then I saw this one sitting in my mending pile, (yes… pile) as it had been sitting there for months just begging to be fixed.

I sewed this dress last summer and spent an extreme amount of time on it, even hand picking the zipper in place, and meticulously sewing the lace waistband in place, because the seersucker was a bit of a pain to work with. The lace piece that I used for the accent detail was the perfect shade of grey/brown and it matched the stripe in the seersucker perfectly. It was wonderful, but I only got to appreciate it once, as when I washed the dress the colour washed out of the lace and faded to a disgusting shade of yellow 🙁

image of lace waistband before after the artyologistJust gross.

Now, that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finish a dress and it is hanging proudly in your closet is one of the nicest feelings, but that was very abruptly replaced with the horrible feeling of having to redo something. And if there is one thing I hate, it is redoing something I have already finished- especially when it was perfect the way it was. So, alas, what to do? I didn’t have any other coordinating lace in that width, and the waistband looked so bland without any accent. I wasn’t sure what would be the best option with the least amount of deconstructive work (I really didn’t want to take the dress completely apart), and then my mom suggested that I edge the waistband in narrow lace, and tada! It worked!

image of seersucker dress waistband the artyologist

Whew, a dress saved, and just in time to wear it out into a rainshower! Ah well, the rain won’t last, although I actually do love a good stretch of rain, and goodness we need it, but for now, when I wear my sundress in the rain, I’ll be singing in the rain 🙂

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Sunday Style: The Bloomin’ Plum Tree

image of floral dress and peach straw hat the artyologist

Ah, the sweet smell of Spring. If only you could smell this lovely flowering plum tree too . . .

I am so glad that this year there is an abundance of beautiful flowering trees around our place, not only because they look and smell wonderful, but because they stand in as exceptional backdrops for photos as well!

image of yellow floral dress vogue 1044

I suppose I don’t have much else to say about these photos as you’ve seen this Vogue pattern 1044 dress before, when I wore it for Easter. I changed it up a bit this time around though, and chose this combination specifically because of my Me Made May challenge to wear all of my homemade garments and accessories. I made the dress, and the striped clutch and I was originally going to pair the ensemble with a peach silk flower covered hat I made a few years ago, but let’s just say I was having hair issues and that didn’t work out the way it was planned. . . But that’s OK as this straw and peach floral accented hat worked perfectly as a stand in. So, even though it wasn’t a 3 for 1, it ended up being a 2 for one handmade outfit, which is OK with me. Let me also toss in a note about how I absolutely love the combination of stripes and floral, yet somehow I have never thought to pair these two before now. I need to wear this clutch more often, because it is one of my favourites, and I just feel like black and white stripes go with everything . . . (That sounds strange, is that even how you are supposed to say that? You wear a purse? You carry a purse? I don’t know. I’ll just say I accessorized with this purse.)

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Hopefully wherever you are, flowers of all varieties are out in full force as well, filling the air with their wonderful scent and heralding the approach of summer!

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A Year of Reading | My Favourite Books of 2023

a cup of tea in a blue floral patterned teacup sits on a wooden background and a vintage book is open beside it

Happy New Year, Dear Reader! Can you believe we are already in 2024? For this first post of the new year I thought I would share my favourite books I read in 2023. Last December, I decided that I wanted to finally read some of the books on my To Be Read list that had been there for a while, as well get through all of the unread books on my bookshelf. (I think that’s my goal every year, and I always fail, but I still keep trying…) I compiled a shortlist of 14 books, some of which were available in the library and some I needed to buy or borrow from others. Then, to accomplish the other goal, I pulled all of the unread books off of my bookshelf (they get lost amongst the other books) and dedicated a shelf specifically for them. As I purchased and borrowed new books throughout the year, they joined the others on that shelf and then as I read them, they went back onto my main bookshelf. (Or into the donation bin for a few I didn’t enjoy!)

This method helped keep me focused and I was able to get through quite a lot of them, while still giving me the freedom to read what I was in the mood for. I know some people like to schedule books to read each week/month, but I would rather have an array of choices and pick what appeals to me the most in the moment. I like to read a variety of genres, but I’m not necessarily always in the mood for all of them.

While I did read almost all 14 of the books I had planned on, I didn’t make it through The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas. It was a lot thicker of a book than I anticipated, so if I finish it in 2024, then I will consider than an accomplishment! I did read more than those 14 books this year, but this list is a bit on the smaller side, since not very many ended up being ones I “loved” and wanted to share. But now, onto the books that I did like in 2023, in no particular order…

The book Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxes sitting on a wooden background

Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas

I said they weren’t in particular order, but we’re starting off with what was, by far, my favourite book of the year. Last year I read Hitler’s Cross by Erwin Lutzer… which then led me to read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas… which then piqued my interest in more of Metaxas’ books… which then led me to this volume about William Wilberforce. This book was published in conjunction with the 2006 film of the same name. While I am familiar with Wilberforce, I loved learning more about him as well as the other Reformers and Abolitionists. This is one of those books where a good subject is made even better by a great author. Here is a small example of Metaxas’ writing style, in his “Acknowledgements”, so you can get a feel for what I mean.

“Life is a collaborative effort. That books are is a cliche, but not a fiction. I wish first and foremost to thank my typist, yours truly, for quite literally transcribing my thoughts as I thought them, a feat hardly to be explained, and yet quite literally true.”

While the book chronicles a serious topic, it is not depressing. Metaxas explores both Wilberforce’s personal and political life, his Christian faith and how that propelled him in his work, and the ups and downs of the Abolitionist movement. I found this to be an extremely encouraging and uplifting book, akin to the the way I feel about The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom; it is definitely one I will pull out and read again. If you have never watched the accompanying film Amazing Grace, then I also recommend it!

Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder biography book sitting on a wooden background

Laura by Donald Zochert and the Little House Series

Alright, so this wasn’t one book but 10, but I’m including them all in one review. I hadn’t read the Little House series for probably 15 or more years, so when I picked up this biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, I was inspired to read them again. I liked the biography because it filled in some of the areas of her life, clarifying details (such as which States “the West” were, or specific years events happened) and shared Laura’s story from an adult perspective. Then, after I finished the biography, I read the Little House books, spacing them out throughout the year, with other books in between, so I wouldn’t get tired of them as sometimes happens when you read a series too fast. Because they are children’s books, they are quick to read, but they are so enjoyable. As I read them, I just keep thinking about how glad I am that I am not a homesteader, because I would definitely be dead before the first snow came!

paperback version of Les Miserables book sitting on a wooden background

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I’ve had this book on my list for years, but was always intimidated to start it because I thought it was probably a difficult read which would take me too long to get through in time, if I got it from the library. I found a copy at a second hand book store last year and discovered that I could have borrowed it from the library years ago because I read the story in under a week! However, I am glad to have my own copy now, because I love the story so much I will definitely re-read it in the future.

I was familiar with the general storyline since I have seen the musical both performed live and as a movie, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much more I liked the book. Hugo has an excellent writing style and, obviously, delves deeper into the characters and events than a musical could ever sum up. I thoroughly enjoyed this one: if you liked the musical, then you will love the book too.

adorned book sitting on a wooden background

Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

I was simultaneously encouraged and convicted when I read this book, which is a study on Titus 2 about Biblical womanhood and the importance of “older” and “younger” women learning from and teaching one another. She talks about how that learning and mentoring can only happen when we are involved in each others lives, and dives deep into this passage of Scripture (it’s a 14 week study). I liked the book so much that I am actually now reading it for a Bible study with several women from my church. However, even if you don’t have a group to go through it with, I still recommend it to read by yourself as there is plenty of food for thought and opportunity for personal reflection. (I also love the cover design of this book!)

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David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

This is the only audio book I listened to this year. I really meant to listen to some more, but just got busy listening to other things, like podcasts, in the evenings and forgot all about audio books (even when it would have been nice to listen to while I was sewing and crafting). This was Dickens’ personal favourite of the books he wrote and while I wouldn’t say it is my favourite, I do love to read his stories- or rather listen to them because I love his style of writing and storytelling, and the characters are always so loveable. I listened to this version. I already briefly mentioned this in a post earlier this year, but it is worth repeating again this wonderful quote, which is so typical of Dickens’ wordy descriptions,

The pigeon-pie was not bad, but it was a delusive pie: the crust being like a disappointing head, phrenologically speaking: full of lumps and bumps, with nothing particular underneath.”

I got very frustrated with this story about halfway through, because I didn’t like where he was taking the story, but then he brought it around and resolved it with a strong and satisfying conclusion.

what kitty did next book sitting on a wooden background

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

This was another book that had been on my “To Read” list for a few years, recommended to me by my book and Jane Austen loving friend, but it wasn’t available at the library, so I had to get it secondhand. It was on my Thrift Books wish list, but was always out of stock, until one day in October when I checked and it was in, so I quickly grabbed it! This story follows the Pride and Prejudice character Kitty Bennet after Elizabeth and Jane’s marriages. It was written in the style of Jane Austen’s writing and I enjoyed the characterization of Kitty; I thought she was quite believable when compared to the original work. It was a meandering story, which I liked, however, I thought that Kablean’s climax/crisis was a bit weak and could have been resolved a bit more believably. Despite that flaw, I am sharing this one in my list because I like reading about the Bennet family from different perspectives (I’m not sure there is a more famous historical, fictional family than the Bennets) and if you like Jane Austen fan fiction, then I think you will too. I also really liked the cover design of this one! (Ps- if you like reading about the Bennet sisters, then you will probably also like The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, which has a completely different storyline to this one!)

Well, there are my favourite books of 2023. As for this year, I don’t have any particular reading goals other than to finish the few that I didn’t get to this year. I’ve also got quite a few Classics on my list, so maybe I will listen to more audio books of those. I’ve started listening to Wuthering Heights (it’s been so long since I last read it that I can’t remember any of the story) so I’m already off to a good start on that.

What books are on your list for this year? What were your favourite books of last year? Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think of them?