Completed: Serpentine hat

There is a first time for everything and this time I made myself a hat! I used the Serpentine hat pattern from Elbe textiles and I really like this pattern. It only took 2 evenings of sewing, which made for a nice change from the quilts that I am making that take a whole lot longer to complete. I made size S which is a good fit for my smallish head (for commercial patterns I wear a 56 cm).

Despite my huge stash I did not really have much suitable sturdy fabric options for a hat (must change that soon!) so to try out the pattern I used a remnant of curtain fabric. I now match our former living room and current bedroom curtains… For the top and band I used the same fabric for the lining but I did not have enough left for the brim lining so I used a floral batik instead. Because the batik was not particularly sturdy, I put some woven sew in interfacing in the brim to add some structure.

Changes that I made

Apparently, I am not able to completely follow a pattern to the letter so I made some changes. Because I found the outer fabric a bit boring on its own I did some topstitching with contrasting 38wt Gutermann Sulky thread on the outside band before assembly and also through both sides of the brim before attaching it to the band. I think this may provide some extra structure to the brim too but I’m not entirely sure because I haven’t tested it without topstitching.

The pattern is written to be reversible but my hat isn’t. I am very much a Dutch stereotype when it comes to cycling. I also burn very easily when it’s sunny, so in the summer I often wear a hat when I cycle. We live close to the sea so on most days you can add some wind and then a hat is not very likely to stay on top of your head for very long. The two commercial hats that I own and wear have this feature inside the band that helps to keep the hat more secure on top of your head. It’s basically a tunnel of fabric through which a ribbon is threaded that you can tie so it fits snugly around your head. I incorporated this into the Serpentine hat by tracing the first 1 ¼’’ of the inner side of the brim and sewing this into a tunnel that is open on one side to thread a ribbon through. I now realize that it may make even more sense to trace the lower part of the band instead of the inner part of the brim, and I will try this next time. I first basted the tunnel to the right side of the band lining before it was attached to the brim. The outer band is attached to the brim by topstitching and if you add a tunnel make sure to push it out of the way so you don’t accidently stitch through it.  

This hat stays on my head very well. It does not completely survive the cycling test though. When there is a head wind the brim flaps up against the band so it is a bit too floppy for that purpose. For walking around it’s absolutely fine, however. On my next version I am going to use a sturdier interfacing to see if that adds the structure I need. I am also going for a much brighter colour because it’s summer!

Have you ever made a hat and are there any patterns that you recommend?

P.S. my June newsletter goes out tomorrow or Thursday so if you’d like to read a bit more about what I get up to, want some book recommendations or read about other random and not so random stuff there is still time to sign up!

Completed: Erica’s pincushion

In May and June the Dutch MQG organized a pincushion swap and of course I participated. I had to make something for Erica, which is great because last year she made me a very beautiful mini quilt so it was nice to make her something in return.

Everyone had to make an inspirational mosaic and answer some questions so their swap partner could get some ideas. Erica likes green and nature and wanted a small pincushion with room on the sides to stick needles in. The pincushions in her mosaic contained a lot of triangles (my favourite!) and fussy cutting which I decided to incorporate into my own design.

I played around in Adobe Illustrator to create a foundation paper piecing pattern to use for the top of the pincushion. The block was originally 4 inches but as I started assembling it this felt too large for a small pincushion and I reduced it to 3 inches. Oh, and yes, I do remind myself to check the printer settings before printing FPP patterns.

I was super happy to find a fabric that I could cut a ball like flowery thing out of that somewhat resembled the flowery pictures that she put in her mosaic. That fabric also contained several other smaller items that I fussy cut for the corners. I picked some green and yellow-green fabrics to work with that purple fabric and as a fellow lover of green I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

The sides are 1 3/8’’ high which was mainly determined by the print that I wanted to fussy cut. The sides were sewn to the top and bottom using Y-seams and this came together without problems. Y-seams don’t scare me. I filled the pincushion with lavender scented crushed walnut shells. This was the first time I used this type of filling and I really like how it feels when you push the pins into the shells. Apparently it helps to keep your pins and needles sharp. I also like that it adds some weight to the pincushion so that it sits a bit more stable. The lavender smell is great; it reminds me of summer vacations in southern France with my parents.

My guild’s theme for this quarter is scraps so I made a scrap card to send with the pincushion. As part of the swap we also included 50 grams of our own scraps in our package so we’d all get some new fabrics to play with. I chose a variety of sizes and shapes and a combination of prints and solids.

You are probably also curious to see what I got in return. Ingrid made me a pincushion from the Deluxe pattern of Heidi Staples. I love the fussy cutting of the text fabrics that she included. This pincushion has a pocket that can be used to put a pair of scissors in but I prefer to keep my scissors elsewhere so I used the nine patch to organize the different types of pins that I use most often. The top of the pocket can be used to clip wonderclips on, I think this feature will really come in handy. The scraps that I received were very different from the fabrics that I currently have in my scrap box so they were a very good addition to add some more variety to my projects. All in all, I consider this another very successful swap!