Sunday, 4 July 2010

Making a mini boater - tutorial part 2

Right now ladies and gentlemen, where were we? I believe we'd just blocked the sinamay crown and brim.

First take your sinamay off the block. The easiest way to do this is to cut the cling film and remove it on this, then remove the cling film from the hat. Cut the shape of the brim using the shape you originally identified (I used this plate) and cut the crown by measuring down a constant amount (mine's 2 inches)

Now put your crown onto your brim, with the crown on the outside if that's possible (it's difficult as you've used the same size block for both but stick with it). Try to line up the grain of the sinamay on the crown and the brim. Stitch the two together using a double thread. It goes against what you'd expect, but have the thread showing on the outside of the hat.

If you want to wire the brim, first stitch a bias strip of tarlatan to the edge (or a very small very thin bias strip that's smaller than the trimming you're going to use. Stitch the wire to this. It prevents too much hassle with the sinamay unravelling). I didn't wire this brim as it's so tiny it doesn't really need it. Then stitch your trimming (I've used matching navy cotton bias binding) to the edge of the brim.

(Oh dear, I didn't take a picture of that stage. You'll have to look at a later picture to see that).

Now we're onto trimmings. You can do whatever you want here, but I've made three leaves out of the same sinamay by cutting a leaf shape and rolling the edges. I've made another rose with the fantastic tutorial from Prudence Millinery to go with it. Finally, a bias strip of the same fabric as the flower has been used as a hat band. I've not pressed it too hard so that it sticks up and gives a bit of extra shape to the hat.

Finally we need to attach it to the head. For this hat, elastic would work, but I prefer a hairband. I make mine by bending millinery wire to the shape of my head. Normally I'd make a very small one to be attached with hair grips. I made it a bit bigger this time like a normal hair band but I'm not as keen on that actually.

Now stitch the hat secrurely onto the hairband. This always feels like it's going wrong until all four contach points are stitched and suddenly it's very secure and very comfortable.

All takes a while, but it's so worth it. I wore it out tonight and it's a gem to wear.

In the last few photos it's sitting on the bag I made my mum for her birthday but it's bedtime now so you'll have to wait until later in the week to find out about that.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Making a mini boater - tutorial part 1

I've had a few queries about how the mini boater was made (and I desparately want my own) so I've decided to make another one and show you how it's done...

I'm making this one with some sinamay I've been dying to use for ages rather than silk-covered buckram, but the concept of blocking it is much the same. The silk covering is a bit more complex - maybe I'll do another of those and show you as well - do you want it?

Ok, to begin with you need to think about the shape and size of the hat. I haven't got a mini boater block so I searched around the house for things that would do. The crown of the hat is blocked on a metal wine cooler and I've based the brim around a side-plate. I needed a flat piece of wood to block the brim on so I've used an old drawer. Here's what I based the hat on:

I covered the drawer and the cooler in cling film (just normal food grade stuff) to protect them from the water and to prevent the sinamay sticking to the blocks. I'm blocking both the brim and the crown in one go, but if you've not done much blocking before I'd suggest doing them separately (do the crown first, then when that's dry take it off and do the brim.

Next I cut out 4 pieces of sinamay. This was as I'm using a patterned sinamay - if I was using a normal one I'd cut out 6 pieces and if I were using buckram I'd cut two pieces. I took the size of my hat (remember the plate) and cut them out an inch or so bigger on each side.

Cut a hole in the middle of two pieces about an inch smaller than the crown block.

Now wet the first layer of sinamay (I use that spray bottle you may have noticed) so that it's nice and flexible. Pull it down over the block, making sure some of it still sticks up - you'll be attaching the crown to this later. Repeat with another layer of sinamay. With 'normal' sinamay this should be at 45 degrees to the first layer and a third should be in same direction as the first. To keep the pattern of mine I blocked just two layers in the same direction as one-another. Secure the centre with a hair band or some elastic.

Pin out four poles using millinery pins like these or household pins (you'll need a thimble to get them in the wood, but they work a treat). Stretch the sinamay flat, but remember to keep your shape.

Now use a few more pins to flatten the sinamay out across the wood. This should be nice and easy as you're just flattening it back to its original shape.

Now that that's done, onto the crown. You'll need the rest of the sinamay. Again get it nice and wet, then drape it over the top of your 'block'. Use another elastic or hair band to hold it in place as low down as you can without missing bits. If you're using three layers of 'normal' sinamay, the middle one should be at 45 degrees to the others.

Now gently ease the folds of sinamay. If you pull it on the bias, it will stretch that way allowing you to form it into the shape of the block. This also gives beautiful patterns which are great fun to play with - go on, have a go.

Now it's time to pour a glass of wine, pop on Film Four and watch the end of The Day After Tomorrow (oh no apparently not - my husband's come down and switched it over to Mock The Week based on the fact we've got The Day After Tomorrow on DVD...he may have a point.

I'll be back at the weekend with part 2.
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