My First Hat Fitting

I won the drawing for a straw hat fedora! Last weekend I was thrilled to go to my first hat fitting.

How did this happen? Well, I donated money to hat designer Elwyn Crawford’s Indiegogo campaign and one of the donation levels was to contribute $5 to be entered into a hat drawing for a straw fedora. I had already made one contribution to her campaign but when she added that perk, I couldn’t resist.

Elwyn wanted to raise funds to expand O’Lover Hats, her custom hat business, and start an internship program. I interviewed her last month about her hat business (“Q&A with Elwyn Crawford of O’Lover Hats“) and about her campaign (“O”Lover Hats Indiegogo Campaign“).

I usually buy ready-to-wear hats – either vintage or from a store or craft fair. As some folks may know, I wear hats everyday. (You can read more about my love of hats on my Hats page.) It was a new and exciting experience for me to actually be fitted for a hat.

The hat-fitting experience is similar to what you would do when you sew a garment. You choose your fabric, your pattern, and you have your measurements at hand. In this case, I was choosing which straw form would be made into a fedora.

4 straw hat forms
A range of straw hat forms to choose from

The first thing Elwyn did was to measure my head. Then she brought out a stack of straw hat forms. There are many different forms woven in different patterns and with straw of various shades. Elwyn will then shape the hat into a fedora (cutting down the brim, shaping the crown, and so on). She told me to pick out a few that I liked and then we would narrow it down. I chose these four. I really liked the lacy look of the two hats above. Elwyn has pushed in the crown of three of the hats in a fedora-like shape to give me a sense of what it would look like.

The white straw form that will be made into a fedora
The white straw form that will be a fedora

I put each one on but the lacy ones had more of a yellow tone that didn’t do much for my skin. The white hat form looked the best so that is the one I chose.

Elwyn brought out a few hats for me to try on to see which shape and brim width were the right shape for me. She took into consideration the height of the crown as well as the width of the brim and how the hat shape went with my face. We decided that the black straw hat fedora was The One (see photo below).

I wanted to give Elwyn a sense of my style, which would help her decide what hat design is best for me. I decided to wear something that I would wear to work. So I wore my Cake Patterns Hummingbird peplum top along with a silk polka dot skirt. (You can get this easy-to-make sewing pattern at Cake’s Etsy shop.) I finished making this top last week. I made a blue one in June, which I blogged about (“My First Sewalong – Hummingbird 30 Minutes a Day“).

Elwyn asked me if I had any fedora hats and I told her I had one wool one but hat I didn’t wear it very much. Fedoras are a rather masculine hat. She assured me that she would make sure it had a feminine look to it. She also asked me if I wore polka dots a lot. I told her I just had this one skirt but that I had other skirts with circles and swirls on them.

Creating a hat is a personal endeavor – and Elwyn strives to make something that is not only the right fit but suits the client’s personality.

So now I’ll be waiting a few weeks for Elwyn to do her magic and then I’ll meet her again to see how the hat fits and to decide on how to trim the hat. I can hardly wait!

Here are some more photos of Elwyn’s studio, which is part of the 25th Street Collective in Oakland. She not only creates her hats here, her creations are also on display. As you can see, she’s very talented!

My Hummingbird top (pattern by Sewing Cake) and black straw fedora by O'Lover Hats
My Hummingbird top (pattern by Sewing Cake) and black straw fedora by O’Lover Hats
Hats on display at O'Lover Hats, designs by Elwyn Crawford
Hats on display at O’Lover Hats, designs by Elwyn Crawford
Hat blocks
In Elwyn’s studio: Hat blocks Elwn uses to shapes hats

Author: Chuleenan

Chuleenan sews, collects hats and shoes, and is a fabric addict. She is also the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group.

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