A Week Of Hats: Verlaine

Verlaine1As you may recall, the first hat I made for my Make Do and Mend collection was a winter hat. It used to be a beret, which I bought a few years ago in a thrift store because I liked its style and colour, yet never wore because it was in fact too big for my head.

Verlaine2As soon as I chose the theme of my collection, I knew I would be using this hat. I also knew the shape I wanted it to take, I just wasn’t sure how to embellish it. In the end I settled on the simplest of my ideas, which was to finish the edge of the brim with store-bought bias tape and to decorate the crown with the same bias tape and a cluster of the felt flowers (cut from the same felt as the hat itself) that were spread all around the original hat. I debated using shiny thread, either green or gold, to sew the flowers on, but once again I preferred to keep it simple and chose matching thread in the end.

Verlaine3These are the pictures I put in my presentation album, so they don’t show the inside of the hat, but I was able to reuse the petersham ribbon of the beret. There’s also a piece of millinery elastic attached inside the hat, which helps invisibly fastening the hat on the head.

Verlaine4To shape the hat I used a cylindrical block… and a table: once I had gotten the crown I wanted, I carefully shaped the brim on a table so that it would lay nice and flat. I had to be very careful not to distort the crown in the process. It would have been much easier to make the hat in two separate pieces, but I wanted to see if it was even possible to do it in one… and with a little bit of patience it was, so no regrets there!

Verlaine5I was going to write that I’m really happy with the result of this hat, but I’m afraid to sound like a broken record because I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to write that about all the hats of the collection! But seriously, it’s pretty thrilling to see your vision take shape and get to make exactly the hat you had in your head!

Verlaine6One more thing before I let you go, I gave each hat of the collection the name of a song by French singer Charles Trenet. He’s one of my favourite singers (yep, I was born an old lady!), one I usually listen to a lot while sewing/knitting/hatmaking, and so typical of the 1940s that I could not resist paying him that little homage. The song Verlaine is one of my favourite songs in the whole world, and I thought it suited this hat very well with its autumnal imagery.

A Week Of Hats


Collection display for my presentation.

I was still frantically cutting and pasting some pictures and writing in the presentation album a mere two hours before my assignment was due, but I actually finished my hat collection on time, woohoo! The making of the hats went pretty smoothly and I had no problem sticking to my schedule (as long as I cut my normal sleeping time by at least 30% and my rest/leisure time by 100%!); shooting the hats went without a hitch, too, but the presentation album, oh my!


Inspiration page for a knitted turban style hat made from an old cardigan.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong: from missing supplies (I usually buy way too much everything just to be sure not to run out, this must have been the first time I didn’t buy enough: photo paper, kraft, photo corners, you name it!), for which I had to wait until Monday for the store to be open, to a printer that started acting out to the point that I had to pay an emergency visit to my father and his printer because it looked like there was no way mine was going to cooperate and print any picture, let alone thirty decent ones! The silver lining is that my father’s fancy printer achieved much better results than I could ever have hoped with my average one. One of the perks of having a graphic designer as a father. 🙂

Taking apart a hat I made last year in class as practice to make it into another one.

Taking apart a hat I made last year in class as practice and making it into another one.

And I did manage to finish on time, so everything’s well that ends well! Also, it’s very rare for me to be so satisfied with a project of mine, so I can’t wait to show you everything in more details. I’ve decided to give each hat its own article, which means next week is going to be hat week here, with a hat a day every weekday! So if you don’t care for hats, next week might be a good time to take a Rue des Renards break! 😉

A karate kimono becomes a lady sailor hat!

A karate kimono becomes a lady sailor hat!

I’ll see you on Monday with the first hat of the collection!

Better Late Than Never


AquarelleRemember this skirt I sewed almost exactly one month ago? Turns out I had completely forgotten to post the drawing I made in my sketchbook. So no, I haven’t given up on this sketchbook idea yet, I’m just a scatterbrain!

I can’t believe it’s only been a month since I made this skirt by the way, seeing how much I’ve already been wearing it! I wouldn’t have thought I’d be wearing it so much as I’m not ususally a fan of pastel colours, so this is a pleasant surprise. But really, only one month? That’s not possible, I must have been wearing it at least three times a week!

I haven’t been able to accomplish much on the sewing/knitting front lately as I’ve been busier than usual between my students’ exams and working on my hat collection. But I’ve made some great progress both on the exams and the hats: I finished marking the exams this morning and I’ve just put the finishing touches to the last hat! I only need to take some pictures and then work on their presentation album and then I’ll be DONE!

Hat Collection: Summer Hat Sketch

MakeDoMendZomerWow, it took me more than a month’s time to scan it, but here it is at last, the preliminary sketch for the summer hat of my hat collection! As per my self-imposed rule, I’m using only second-hand materials, so the basis for this hat was an old (and not in the good sense!) straw hat literally covered in… moth droppings! [Cue horror scream]

I hadn’t realised that when choosing this hat of course, and I’m pretty sure if I had known it I would have run for my life and looked for another option, but since I found myself at school with only this hat to work with, I didn’t really have any choice but to make do (and mend! 😀 ). So I started by thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!) washing it with soap and water, thinking it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it got the hat ruined after all. And after a few (hundred) washes, the water went from dark grey to transparent and I could begin to mold the hat into a new shape.

I’m actually almost finished with this hat now: I only need to add a few more flowers, the sweatband and some system to fasten it on the head. I bought a bunch of those old (in a good sense this time!) flowers in an antique clothing shop, thinking I’d have plenty enough and maybe more to get the lush flower crown I wanted to adorn the hat. But nope, I need to go buy even more! The good news is, even without the missing flowers, I can already tell what the hat is going to look like, which is pretty much exactly what I had in mind!

After that, only three more hats to make in, ahem, less than a week and a half. Oh, and let’s not forget I also need to make a presentation album of my collection. Time to get panicking I guess!

Outfit Along: I’m In!

OutfitAlongYou’ve probably heard about the Outfit Along co-hosted by Andi of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird. If not, here are all the details, but basically it’s a two for one: a sew along and a knit along combined! The aim is to create an outfit by knitting and sewing two pieces that will go together.

I knew I wanted to take part as soon as I read about it, but I’ve had kind of a hard time deciding on my outfit. There’s an official dress and cardigan pattern for the challenge, both really cute, but I didn’t feel like using those. I plan on knitting the Myrna pattern in the not so distant future, but it didn’t inspire me for this particular challenge. As for the official dress, I already own way too many dress patterns to go and buy another one unless I fall madly in love with it!

After careful thought, I finally settled on a knitting project and a sewing project, so I’m officially in! The knitting pattern I chose is another one by Andi, the Hetty cardigan, in navy blue Drops Karisma yarn (the pattern calls for a thicker yarn, but the smallest size is too big for me, so I had to adapt). And the sewing pattern is one I’ve already used in the past, the Februari dress from Little Miss Y.’s Homemade Wardrobe. I had been meaning to make another version ever since I completed my first one, so I’m really glad to finally tackle it! My chosen fabric is Ship Shape (clementine orange) from the Ahoy Matey collection by Michael Miller (kind of a poor woman’s Le bassin de bateaux, don’t you think? 😉 ). The yardage I have in my stash is fairly small (1,90 m – 110 cm wide), but I think I can make it work.

I still need to buy some lining fabric before I get going on the dress, but I started the cardigan last Sunday and it’s been flying off the needles: I’m not under the impression that I’ve had so much knitting time this week, yet I’m almost finished with the body! Oooh, I can’t wait to complete those two projects!

MMM ’14 – The End!

When I decided on my pledge right before the start of May, I was really worried I was aiming too high and I would end up wearing the same four or five outfits for the whole month. I was also planning on sewing the things I thought were missing from my wardrobe during the month so that I could make it through, but I actually didn’t really need to rush and sew anything. This doesn’t mean I don’t need any new clothes per se, just that I didn’t need them to make it through the month. But what are those pieces I need?

The first thing I realised I needed is cardigans: I love to wear them over dresses and skirts as I find them much more versatile than sweaters, yet I knit more sweaters than cardigans. So from now on I’m giving priority to cardigans when choosing a knitting project (but not forbidding myself to knit some sweaters from time to time!).

The second thing is trousers. I had already realised that last year, but I still haven’t sewn any! I never feel the need for trousers during the colder months, nor in summer in fact, but when the temperature is too hot to wear tights yet too cold to go tightless I find myself at a loss as to what to wear. So trousers.

And the third and last thing is tops. Especially tops that are easy to layer. I usually wear a lot of long or 3/4 sleeved tees under dresses when it’s cold (that + layering two pairs of tights = the secret to wearing cute dresses in winter by the way), so I was lucky that this May was pretty warm (warmer than last year!) because I own exactly none that are me-made.

Other than that I must say I’m pretty satisfied with my me-made wardrobe: I really sew/knit things I find both pretty and useful. And it was really the best feeling spending a whole month wearing only things I had made myself! Also, I was forced to think outside the box and find a few garment associations I don’t think I would have thought about had it not been for my pledge.

So that’s it for this year, I just need to publish the last six days before I forget! And thank all the adorable people who took the time to leave such nice comments here or on flickr, and Zoe for hosting the challenge again this year! 🙂

DAY 26 (Monday)

Day26The dress is me-made, and the outfit is pretty similar to the one I wore on Day 21, so I don’t have anything more to say about it than what I said about the other one.

DAY 27 (Tuesday)

Day27Or, the last time I was able to wear heels before I cut my pinky toe against the edge of my bed, ouch! I’m not even sure the part that fell off (yes, a tiny part fell off!) is going to grow back. But I was supposed to write about my dress, not my toe! It’s the first time I wear it to work without a sweater over it, and when I saw the pictures I realised with such a thin fabric I may have spent my workday flashing my (not me-made!) underwear to unsuspecting students. Ah well, what’s done is done!

DAY 28 (Wednesday)

Day28One of my favourite skirts with one of my favourite tops. I love red and pink together!

DAY 29 (Thursday)

Day29Yay May and its numerous holidays! I had the day off so I spent the whole day at home and literally didn’t set foot outside. A whole day knitting on my couch. Bliss. The dress is me-made of course (it’s not like I’m wearing very much else!), it’s the first dress I ever sewed. I wrote about it when I wore it last year on Day 4.

DAY 30 (Friday)

Day30Wearing boots on a pretty warm day was not the best idea in the world, but I needed comfortable shoes to let my injured toe heal. The skirt and tee are me-made, and you’ve seen them both already this month, the skirt on Day 9 and the tee on Day 18.

DAY 31 (Saturday)

Day31I’m wearing my me-made shoes and one of my oldest me-made dresses to celebrate the last day of Me-Made-May ’14. It was probably one of the last times I wore that dress I used to love: not only were my finishing techniques pretty lacking at the time I made it (look at that uneven hem from the twisted side seams!), but it’s also getting too old. I wrote more about it last year (Day 8).

See you next year for the sequel! 😉