Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I ordered Stylish Cloche from Amazon.jp after seeing the project made by Diary of Matter Hatter and falling in love with it. I did a google search, but didn't find it anywhere. I should have done a little bit more research; although the book was a reasonable $18 the shipping was $35 so the total cost was over $50. I see that it is now available on Etsy for $28 with $10.50 shipping, which is a little bit cheaper.
There are some pattern books for which I might be willing to pay $50, but when I received the book I realized it has just three crowns and three brims, and one of the crowns is a top-hat style crown and I already have several serviceable patterns in that style. The options are stylish and (judging from this one) well drafted, but had I known there were so few patterns I don't think I would have ordered it. Oh well, it's only money. Although there are limited options, the fashion photography in the book showing many different versions and combinations is beautiful and inspiring, as you can see in this image.
The patterns come in three sizes:
S 56 cm (approx 22 inches)
M 57.5 cm (approx 22 1/2 inches)
L 59 cm (approx 23 1/4 inches)
Seam allowances are included appear to vary somewhat depending on the piece (they are marked in the construction diagrams), but it is generally 6 mm, approximately 1/4 inch. The text is Japanese but the numerals are Arabic and the instructional diagrams are extremely clear and detailed. There is no real language barrier to using this book, which is quite a feat on the part of the technical illustrators! Hats off to them, if you'll pardon the pun.
My head is actually 21.5 inches rather than 22, but with the small seam allowances I figured I'd just sew them a little bigger if need be. However, those tiny seam allowances turned out to be a problem in my relatively thick fabric, and in fact the hat turned out too small, which is so annoying! It spent several weeks on my hat block stretching, but the stretching didn't really take. Sad. The upside is there is no chance of it getting blown off in the wind; the downside is the large welt it leaves on my forehead. In the future, I will plan to trace the pattern and then strip out the allotted seam allowances and add back my own, larger SA (I prefer 1/2 inch). Although seam allowances aren't marked on the pattern in the traditional Western manner (a dashed line along the entire perimeter), they are marked with little lines topped with a circle at various points so it shouldn't be *too* difficult.
For this project I used Crown M and Brim B in size small. I used wool tweed left over from making this pencil skirt. Actually, I cut out and made the hat at the same time, and there was pretty much nothing left of the fabric, which I thought was quite a coup.
The pieces fit together well and create a pleasing line. The crown does seem to be a smidge too tall for my head, but that may be because it is too small to properly pull down all the way.
I lined it with some of the Vera Wang Silk/Rayon blend (it's great for hat-lining, thick and slippery), and finished off with a ribbon.
Because it's too small I haven't gotten a ton of wear out of it--there is a small window of weather in which you can wear (1) a wool hat but (2) it doesn't cover your ears--but it was a promising foray into the book and I can correct the size issue on the next one. All photos are here and the pattern review is here.