So I love my pink sweater newsboy cap from last year; the color is cheerful and it is so warm with the angora sweater shell and tie silk lining. However, the style is a bit dated; it is more "marshmallowy" than the lower profile newsboy caps people are wearing today. I did a bunch of experiments with the Vera Wang winter white boucle I got from fabric.com for $1.95/yd (more on that later) to determine what level of felting I wanted. I did a fairly large piece in a hot water wash and a tumble dry. It turned out more felted than I want for a coat (can you believe I'm actually experimenting rather than jumping in willy nilly?), but I didn't just want to throw it away as it was so thick and warm. So I got the idea to make it into a hat.
Because I didn't want to use the Saturday Night Hat marshmallowy pattern again, and couldn't find a decent pattern anywhere else, I decided I'd have to draft one. Keep in mind that (1) I am the Slapdash Sewist, and (2) I have no idea how to draft. I don't necessarily recommend you do this at home.
So first, I put a tape measure on the top of my head measured down to my ear to get the "radius" of my head. It was 6 inches. So I scrounged around my kitchen and found a bowl with a 12 inch diameter and traced it. I cut out the twelve inch circle and folded it into 8ths, and then cut out one of the wedges. Thus endeth the scientific portion of my pattern drafting.
Then I sort of added some width and length and cut out the lining (also a Vera Wang fabric, the silk/rayon satin) based on this pattern. I put it together and found that I needed more width and a little more length and kept adjusting the pattern little by little until it was where I wanted. Here is the evolution.
The Saturday Night Hat pattern piece is on the right for reference; that hat is a 4 panel with darts in each panel to mimic an 8 panel. I folded the SNH pattern in half to better show how the shape compares. My final pattern did not end up so very different from the SNH, but is narrower and starts the peak higher by enough to take out the marshmallow factor.
After making up the lining, I understood why the SNH pattern is a 4 panel rather than 8 panel. Man, that is a lot of triangle points. I sewed them up to the top as close as I could, trimmed off every other point, and then on the outside of the hat did a couple of circular stitches around the meeting point to keep everything in place.
I didn't have enough fabric for the band around the hat, so I added "hand wash in hot with 5 minutes of agitation, hang dry" to my experiment list. It made the fabric a little tighter and less floppy, and I decided I liked the texture contrast with the rest of the hat. Because the hat fabric was SO thick, I couldn't sew the band around the hat right sides together then turn down because the seam allowance would have been ridonkulous. So I stitched the CB seam of the band, folded the band in half wrong sides together, and layered the upper folded edge of the band over the lower edge of the crown (both fashion fabric and lining) and stitched in place.
I used the bill pattern from SNH, shortening it to fit with current styles. I used heavy interfacing on the upper and lower pieces, but did not add any internal structure as I did with the pink hat because the fabric is thick enough to stand on its own. I pinned the bill to the lower edge of the band and stitched in place. I finished the inside by hand-stitching a ribbon to the lower edge of the band, turning up, and hand-stitching the upper edge of the ribbon to the lining. This covered all the ugly mess of seam allowances (and is apparently the traditional way to finish hats, based on the reading I've done).
When it was done it needed something, but I couldn't figure out what. I could kind of see brass or gold studs around the band, but I didn't have any and didn't think that would really be me. Then I remembered about a hand-made flower pin I'd bought at a fair trade store. I never wore it as a pin but thought it might work on the hat. I took it off the pin back and sewed in placeI think it added just the right touch.
The reason I am interested in making hats is that I have a freakishly small head, and ready-to-wear hats do not fit me. Even the SNH is a smidge too big. So I was determined to fix that problem with this hat. I was a wee bit overzealous and did not add quite enough wearing ease, but luckily I was able to stretch it out a bit on my hat block so it is comfortable to wear, though it is snug when I pull it over my ears. I'm not sure I'd make this again; when I was researching current newsboy styles I came across several that are not panelled at all--they have a round or oval tip and then a one piece crown, like this one. I bought McCall 5995 in that style, though I would shorten the high peaked front crown which screams "sexy policewoman."
Cidell took the photos so there are a bunch of good ones here and the pattern review is here.
It's hard to photograph white fabric to show differences in texture, and of course I forgot to save a piece of untreated fabric, but this is what I've got on how this fabric felts. I did not like the original texture as it was very floppy and loose. I am picturing this as outerwear, so I wanted something more substantial.
Hand wash hot, with about 5 minutes of agitation: 6 inches length to 5 1/2 inches length, about 10% shrinkage; negligible width loss (it's possible I didn't measure very precisely when cutting).
Machine wash cold, hang dry. Original swatch was 6 inches long and 25 inches wide. After treatment was 5 1/2 inches long, but I forgot to record the width before cutting out my band (dumb!). I don't think it lost much.
Machine wash cold, tumble dry. This is the final treatment I decided on and have done the whole piece. I didn't measure the length before putting it in, but I'm sure I lost some. The width is now 47 1/2 inches. Of course, I didn't measure how wide it was to begin with and fabric.com doesn't have the info cached, but I think it was 54".
Machine wash hot, tumble dry: shrank from 15 inches to 10 1/2 inches in length, and from 57 to 40 inches in width, almost identical shrinkage rate of 30% in length and width.
Gretchen the Household Deity