Sunday, May 22, 2011

How NOT to sew a 1940s Hat.

For the play I am in, I really want to make the beautiful View B hat from pattern V7464.  However, everyone says it's impossible to make. In order to gain the confidence to attempt that hat, I decided I'd make an "easier" one first. Big mistake.

The following is a transcript of how NOT to sew Vintage Vogue's Hat Pattern # 7464 (view c).

Don't snip the FOLDED edge of the buckram crown, no matter now much the instructions make you think you should:

If you do, it will cause you to want to sew the crown on upside down like I did.  This is very bad. When you do this it will not wrap completely around the entire donut hole and it will look like a pope hat:

The instructions say to sew the self bias ribbon by machine. I thought that would look ugly because I can't sew in a perfect circle. So I opened the tape up and machine sewed the inside. Then I hand-sewed the outside. Don't do it the way I did:

If you do, you will then trap the stupid pope hat in so that you can't easily fix your upside-down mistake once you realize you had made the upside down mistake.

Next, do not keep messing with the buckram crown trying to find some way to make the darn thing work the way it is. It will get uglier the more you mess with it:

Next, do not decide to cut the stupid crown off and start again. Because, in your frustration, you will then resort to using fabric glue to affix the next one (because remember, you sewed that stupid self-bias on so well it can't be easily removed). Then, the glue will dry and you will realize you glued the pope hat crown upside down. Again. And realize that now it can't be removed at all. Because you glued it:

Then, after realizing you're screwed, don't decide to completely cut out the inside layer of buckram from the messed-up fabric crown in an attempt to make it flexible enough to complete cover the ugly white buckram stay.  Because it still wont cover. And it will look ugly.

However, DO write a Picasso quote on the top of the soon-to-be-covered "buckram stay"
to make yourself feel a little better. It works.

I chose the quote, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."  I wrote this quote because I like the idea that theater costumes are symbolic of the character they belong to. My 1940s shirt dress for Miss Fischer has a subtle blue stripe. The stripes themselves represent her conformity, her towing the party line, so to speak. But the teal blue color represents her individuality and the part of herself she is desperately trying to deny.  The Picasso quote I have hidden inside the hat is another nod to Miss Fischer's personality. She is an art critic for a reason: She loves art, though must destroy it in order to preserve her way of life.

Anyways, back to the un-tutorial. Don't think it would be a good idea to hand-sew some random scrap of fabric onto the un-buckramed crown in order to make it long enough to cover your Picasso quote.  If you do, it will look like a flying nun's hat:

Do not then spend hours trying to hand sew the extra fabric in place so it doesn't look like crap.  Because it will look like crap. And then you'll have to keep fixing it and keep fixing it.  Then, don't sew the bow to the ugly seam line you created in an attempt to hide the ugly seam line. Because you won't actually hide it. At all. 

Unfortunately all of this frankensteining will make your hat not tall enough to look right on your head, and will also make it look rather bunchy. So, it ends up looking something like this:

So, yeah. Don't do any of that and you should be fine.


  1. At least your mistakes are entertaining! I wouldn't even attempt a hat--too hard! You have mad skills.

  2. I think you've found you niche in the sewing-blog world: What NOT to do. Brilliant.

    (And I love the quote inside the hat. Picasso would, too.).

  3. Did you end up making View B? I have never made a hat before but I reeeeeally want to make V7464 View B! However I am scared since you said everyone else is saying it's impossible.... I would really love to see views of it from different angles though and what your take on it was! :)

  4. I started it but haven't finished it yet. I haven't had much trouble with the instructions so far, but I don't have time to finish it since I'm working on a Steampunk ensemble for Comic Con.

  5. You know, your in tutorial made me laugh out loud many times, as I have done things just like this trying to get some sort of silk pursebto show up out if the sow's ear I wound up making. I'm going to be attempting this hat in a couple of weeks.
    I have also, more or less successfully, DONE the view A of the Vogue hat, in yellow and cream felt with brown binding. What I found, after swearing at the instructions innumerable times, is that its sort of like a giant bow. The tails of the brim twist and slip through the loop like the ends of a 'false' bow. Not well explained, but maybe view it from a different perspective. It is very dramatic, even if not 100%tre to the pattern.

    Remember, nobody but YOU knows its not "supposed" to look like that!