Big Four 2018 spring patterns – Vogue, Butterick and more

Hi, I spent some time looking at Big Four 2018 spring patterns – Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s and Simplicity. They were the pattern companies I grew up with. (Last fall I blogged about a few patterns from Simplicity and Vogue, which you can read here.)

My mom mostly bought patterns from Butterick, McCalls and Simplicity from Jo-Ann – back when the chain only sold fabric and it was known as Jo-Ann Fabrics. She made clothes for me and my three sisters when we were growing up.

I don’t recall her ever buying any Vogue patterns. I’m not sure why she didn’t buy Vogue but it’s most likely because those patterns were more expensive and some are complicated to sew. She mostly sewed by following the pictures in the instructions. English is her second language so she didn’t bother reading the instructions.

Here are a few of the spring patterns that caught my eye.

Big four 2018 Spring Patterns

They are listed in no particular order.

Vogue

Big Four 2018 Sewing patterns - Vogue V9299 - top with belt - CSews.com

I love stripes so this shirt (V9299) grabbed my attention for its fun use of stripes. Plus I like the waist-defining belt. I don’t know about the puffiness of the lower part of the sleeve but that could certainly be toned down.

The pattern has many variations in length and sleeve styles. You could lengthen it to make a shirt dress.

Big four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vogue V9299 - tops with sleeve and length variations - CSews.com

This Vintage Vogue reissue  (V9295) is from the 1940s. I love the neckline, which has front tucks.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue pattern V9295 - ca. 1940 - CSews.com

Look at those tucks and lovely neckline!

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue reissue V9295 - 1940s dress with tucks

The pattern envelope says the suggested fabrics are: sheer cottons, lace, crepe de chine, burnout velvet and rayon challis. You need lightweight fabrics because of all the tucks, which are also in the short-sleeve version.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue reissue 1940s - line drawing - CSews.com

Here’s one of Sandra Betzina’s latest patterns. It’s described as a pants pattern. This is version A, which is described as having “wide straps give jumper effect.”

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern V1580 - pants - CSews.com

Sandra designs for ease of wear so I’m sure you can easily take down the straps so you can go to the bathroom. I like jumpsuits but I’m usually reluctant to make them because you have to get half undressed to go to the bathroom. And you need to be careful that the top part doesn’t drag on the floor, especially in a public restroom.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern V1580 - line art - CSews.com

If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sandra speak, take it. She has great sewing tips and delivers them with a great sense of humor. Plus she has such a warm personality. I heard her speak at Cañada College last spring at their annual Artistry in Fashion event. I also got a copy of the latest edition of her indispensable fabric guide – All New Fabric Savvy (affiliate link here).

Simplicity

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8605 paper-bag waist pants pattern

I like the paper-bag waist on pants and skirts. These pants look fun and easy to make. Plus the pattern (8605) includes a skirt! I’ve been wanting to make a casual paper-bag skirt.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8605 - paper bag waist skirt and pants pattern - CSews.com

I’ve tied RTW shirts that buttoned in the front. I like that look. This Simplicity pattern (8601) for woven fabrics gives you the option of just letting the front piece hang down or tying it in a knot. I like the striped version.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8601 - front-tie top pattern - CSews.com

One thing that really jumped out for me as I perused Simplicity’s offerings is that there is a lot of diversity among its models. For example, this vintage 1950s reissue (8592) features a plus-size model and an African-American model. There are two size ranges – 10-18 and 20W-28W. Kudos to Simplicity for making such a wide range of sizes available.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Simplicity - 8592 - dress - CSews

New Look is part of the Simplicity group of patterns and this flight jacket pattern (6545) jumped out at me because it features an Asian model and it’s a fun pattern.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - New Look 6545 - flight jacket pattern - CSews.com

 

McCall’s

I like the pleats in this McCall’s dress designed by Phoebe Couture. I initially saw it as a top and a skirt but it’s a dress. I think you could add a waistband and just make a skirt from this pattern.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - McCall's M7720 - Phoebe Couture dress pattern - CSews.com

This is a pattern for a costume (M7733) but I’d just wear it as a regular jacket.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - McCall's costume M7733 - fitted jacket by Yaya Han - CSews.com

 

Butterick

The drawstring detail on this Butterick dress is nice (B6552).

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - B6552-Butterick dress pattern with lace-up front

I’m not thrilled by the color-blocked version of this pattern (B6567) that the model is wearing but I do like the lines, which you can see in version B, which has longer sleeves. You could shorten it to make it more of a tunic or lengthen it to midi-length, which is my favorite skirt length.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Butterick B6567 Lisette dress - CSewscom

 

This pattern (B6556) by Gertie has a lovely square neckline.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Butterick B6556 - Patterns by Gertie - CSews.com

And that’s the end of my roundup. Have you seen any new Big Four 2018 spring patterns that you like?

Fall sewing patterns – Simplicity and Vogue

Fall sewing patterns - Vogue V9267, Simplicity 8452, New Look 6532, Simplicity vintage reissue 8462

Hi, I finally took some time to go through the new fall sewing patterns from the Big 4 – Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. I wondered if I would see anything I liked. Some patterns were not very interesting or were just things I wouldn’t wear. But I did see a few from each company that I would like to sew.

Here are a few highlights, in no particular order, from Simplicity and Vogue. I’ll get to fall patterns from Butterick and McCalls later this month. This post would have been way to long to do all four!

Simplicity fall sewing patterns

I like this interesting 1950s knit top pattern (8452) reissued by Simplicity this year. If you visit this page, be sure to click on the tab “Envelope Back,” which has what appears to be the original illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to put it on.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Check out the front, which just tucks in the waist of whatever you’re wearing.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Love the back! I only wonder if it will stayed tucked in the front. It’s super easy to make because it’s just a rectangle so I will definitely check it out.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Apparently Simplicity will be celebrating its 90th anniversary next year. I also discovered that in honor of this event, they are selling various sewing-related goodies on their website, including a sewing planner and tote bags – all featuring vintage Simplicity images.

I’m assuming the anniversary is the reason why they are reissuing so many vintage patterns. There are patterns from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, such as this 1940s ensemble (8462).

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8462 - 1940 vintage sewing pattern - envelope front

I rarely see vintage separates reissued. I would make this bolero jacket, blouse and skirt pattern! But I likely wouldn’t wear them all together unless I made the skirt and jacket in different colors. I’m not too thrilled by the fabric choices here.

I love vintage dresses and have made a few, which you can see here and here, but I realize that I don’t wear them very much. So I’ve decided to focus on garments that I know I’ll wear more than once or twice a year.

This Simplicity pattern seems influenced by sewing blogs, which is where I first heard people discussing pattern hacks. So here’s a skirt that was drafted to be hacked. I like the drape of this skirt as is so I may just buy it for the basic skirt.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8474 - skirt pattern hack

The only other new Simplicity-related pattern I’d like to make is this New Look pattern (6352), which are very reasonably priced – just $4.29 at full price!

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

I really love the jacket. You could make it from a great home dec fabric.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - jacket

The pants are nice, too. I like the subtle flare.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

Vogue fall sewing patterns

I’m sure many people have seen Kathryn Brenne’s stunning design for this knit dress. See the image at the top to see what that skirt looks like when it’s fully open. Amazing.

Fall sewing pattern - V9268 Kathryn Brenne dress

I saw on Kathryn’s Instagram account (@kathrynbrenneoriginal) that the pattern sold out once already. Wow. So I guess Vogue did another printing because it’s still available on the website. (Follow her IG to see her great style – such striking clothes and great accessories.)

One thing I realized when looking at the current crop of Vogue patterns is that many of them have several designs aimed at covering up certain parts of the body, such as the belly, hips and derriere. It makes me wonder about the age demographic of Vogue pattern buyers. 😉 [See comments below about why this sentence is struck out.]

Here’s a fall pattern by Sandra Betzina (V1515). It doesn’t look all that interesting on this model but I saw another version in person on Sandra when I attended Artistry in Fashion last month. She eliminated the elastic around the neckline and it looked much better.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit - Sandra Betzina - V1515

Here’s the pattern cover. Sandra says she noticed in Japan that they have layered tops. She designed this one to be similar to what she saw there. It leaves a deliberate gap between the skirt and the hem of the top. Sandra says this helps to hide the waist.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina, V1515

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of her wearing the version she made. But it was flattering and I think this would be a fun layering piece to have in my wardrobe.

Sandra wore a version of this dress (V1551) to Artistry in Fashion, too. It doesn’t look very exciting here, perhaps because of the fabric choices but I can tell you that it looked more interesting on Sandra. The bottom half reminds me of Kathryn Brenne’s dress.

Fall sewing pattern - Todays Fit by Sandra Betzina - V1552

The important thing when making this dress is to use a fabric that drapes nicely. Otherwise the sides will stick out, which would be unflattering.

OK, I know I said I was going to highlight patterns I would make, but this custom-fit Vogue dress (V9267) is so pretty, I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Also, it has separate pieces for different cup sizes (A through D) and there are two skirt options, this flared one and a fitted version.

Fall sewing pattern - Vogue V9267 - dress with custom fitting options for bust

What are you making this fall?

Big Four sewing patterns – a look at spring possibilities

Hi! I’ve been pinning a lot of early spring fashion photos on my @csews Pinterest board “Sewing Inspiration.” Then I waited to see what was in store for Big Four sewing patterns – the Big Four being Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. I meant to post about it last week but went off-topic and wrote about the Statue of Liberty instead.

Here’s a look at what I discovered, what I liked, what patterns reminded me of some indie pattern designs, and what stuck out. They aren’t in any particular order except by pattern company name.

Butterick

I picked out these four Butterick patterns: This wrap dress (B6446) with three lengths and a sleeve variation looks easy to make and comfortable to wear. This midi-version is my favorite length.

Butterick - B6446 - sewing pattern - Misses' Pleated Wrap Dresses with Sash

Here’s Gertie’s latest sewing pattern (B6453) with two skirt variations. I think I would change the gathered skirt to inverted pleats, like one of my Chardon skirts. Gathering can get bulky.

Butterick B6453 - Patterns by Gertie - Misses' Princess Seam Dresses with Straight or Gathered Skirt

I picked this Butterick blouse (B6455) as an example of impractical sleeves. You can’t wear it while cooking and if you’re eating, you definitely have to hold your sleeve out of the way when you reach for anything. But this pattern does have three additional sleeve variations – two are shorter and another has the sleeve gathered at the wrist – so no dipping danger.

Butterick B6455 - sewing pattern - Misses' Gathered, Raglan Sleeve Tops

I made a knit top several years ago that had lovely bell sleeves. I just loved the way they looked but then hardly ever wear it because the sleeve just gets in the way.

I like this top (B6458) because of all the color blocking possibilities. Five pieces make up the top part of the bust area. I like the extra ease in the front pleats. There’s also a more fitted variation and a sleeveless version.

Butterick B6458 - sewing patterns - Misses pullover, paneled tops

Five McCalls Patterns

This knit dress (M7538) is fun and has plenty of color-blocking opportunities, too. You can do a lot with the crisscrossing band in the middle.

McCalls - M7538 - sewing pattern - Misses' Crossover-Band Top and Dresses

I’m not usually a fan of jumpsuits but this pattern (M7539) intrigued me, plus there’s a dress and a romper variation. The main issue I have with jumpsuits is clothing management when you go to the bathroom. You have to get half-undressed.

McCalls M7539 - sewing pattern - Misses' Dresses, Romper and Belted Jumpsuit with Collar and Pocket Variations

I’ve always been secretly attracted to the off-the-shoulder look but never worn anything like this Big Four sewing pattern (M7543). I think as a young girl, I thought it was the height of sophistication – baring the shoulders just seemed so adult. Now I look at it and wonder how tight the elastic would be to ensure that it didn’t fall off.

McCalls - M7543 - sewing pattern - Misses' Off-the-Shoulder Tops, Tunic and Dress

I like the use of lace in this sewing pattern (M7544) but I don’t know how this style would look on me. I have broad shoulders and maybe all that gathering at the top would make me look like a big puffer ball, even with my small bust. There are also two pleated variations.

This dress (M7535) reminded me of the Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Koo but without the princess seams. I have the Skater Dress pattern but haven’t made it yet. I first saw the pattern when Katie of Kadiddlehopper made a lovely Lady Skater and blogged about it here in 2013.

McCalls M7535 - sewing pattern - Misses'/Miss Petite Fit and Flare Dresses

Simplicity

The sleeves on this dress (8292) are a bit much and remind me of the Flutter blouse and tunic by Papercut Patterns but with less full sleeves. I made a muslin of the Flutter blouse a while ago but it needs more ease in the shoulders. I really liked this version of the Flutter tunic by Sew Busy Lizzie, which is why I got the pattern. But I won’t be getting this Simplicity pattern.

Simplicity Pattern 8292 Misses'/Miss Petite Dresses

This easy pattern (8299) has skirt and pant variations. There’s an elastic waist, which has its benefits. I need more casual pants so I’ve been looking at a lot of pant patterns.

Simplicity Pattern 8299 Misses' Skirts or Pants in Various Lengths

Version C of this Big Four sewing pattern (8300) reminded me of the Sew DIY’s Nita Wrap Skirt. (I was a pattern tester for Sew DIY. You can see my version here.) It’s cute but too short for me. I’m just not comfortable showing that much leg. 😉

Simplicity Pattern 8300 Misses' Skirts with Front Variations

Here’s a fun overall dress and knit top (8301) by Mimi G, the founder of fashion, lifestyle and sewing blog Mimi G Style. I first heard about her last month when Abby Glassenberg interviewed Mimi G for her While She Naps podcast. Then Mimi just seemed to be popping up everywhere – Simplicity and then I saw that she also organizes a three-day Fashion Sewing Conference (!) in Los Angeles, which will be taking place June 16 to 18 this year. She has more than 200,000 followers on Instagram (@mimgstyle). Wow.

Simplicity Pattern 8301 Mimi G Style Misses' Overalls and Knit Crop Top

This shirt (8297) appealed to me because it has quite a few variations. I’m not sure I like the peplum in stripes because they’re not cut on the bias. I think it would look better in a solid or nondirectional fabric.

Simplicity Pattern 8297 Misses' Shirts

Vogue

Color blocking appeals to me because you can make the same dress in many variations. You can play around with colors and patterns. This knit dress (V9240) has many possibilities.

Vogue V9240 - sewing pattern - Misses' Knit Paneled Dresses

I like all the elements of this Five Easy Pieces pattern (V9246) set (jackets, belt, top, pants).

Vogue Patterns - V9246 - sewing pattern - MISSES' DROP-SHOULDER JACKETS, BELT, TOP WITH YOKES, AND PULL-ON PANTS

Here’s another jumpsuit (V9245). This pattern also has a sleeveless variation. I don’t like this fabric but I like the wide-leg pants and sash.

Vogue V9245 - sewing pattern - Misses/Misses Petite Button-up Jumpsuits and Sash

I include this Big Four sewing pattern (V9243) because the sleeves kill me. Did someone think more is better? There are other sleeve variations but I don’t think they are an improvement.

Vogue V9243 - sewing pattern - Misses' Princess Seam Tops with Flared Sleeve Variations

Here’s the line drawing for all the versions.

V9243 - line drawing

And that’s it for my brief look at spring Big Four sewing patterns. Have you seen any new patterns that you like?

Big Four sewing patterns - spring 2017 - Butterick B6458, McCalls M7538, Simplicity 8299

Fall sewing – Vogue patterns preview – sailor pants, tops and a vintage reissue

Hi, I know summer isn’t over (!) but fall is just around the corner. Summer clothes at retail stores are all on sale, which is another sign that it’s not too early to think about fall sewing. A preview of the Vogue patterns fall 2015 collection is now on its website. So I decided to take a look at the offerings. Here’s what caught my eye, in no particular order:

I like the top from this Donna Karan Collection outfit V1465, which includes an unlined jacket with princess seams and a pencil skirt. I’m not a fan of the jacket or the pencil skirt. I like A-line skirts, not pencil skirts or closely fitted skirts. I would seriously consider getting this pattern (on sale at Joann’s) just for the top.

Vogue pattern - V1465 - Donna Karan
Donna Karan top – V1465 – Vogue Fall 2015
Here’s the line drawing of all pieces of this suit. The jacket lapels remind me of Grainline’s Morris Blazer (minus the princess seams). The back of the top looks interesting. You can see more photos of the model wearing the entire ensemble here.

V1465 - Donna Karan - Vogue pattern

Here’s a Vogue reissue from 1947 – V9126. I love the pleats and gathers in this dress, which has a side zipper. The recommended fabrics are “Silk Crepe, Rayons, Wool Jersey, Lightweight Woolens.” This could be a really slinky dress in silk. It could be fun to make and I would wear it to work but I can’t see myself wearing it more than a couple of times a year. Though I love vintage dress patterns, I don’t actually wear the vintage dresses I’ve made very often.

V9126 - Vintage Vogue - 1947 reissue
V9126 – Vintage Vogue – 1947 reissue – Fall 2015
Here’s the illustration…

V9126 - Vogue Vintage reissue - 1947

And the line drawings…

V9126 - Vintage Vogue reissue - 1947
V9126 – Vintage Vogue reissue – 1947
This Marcy Tilton top (V9131) has some interesting color blocking possibilities. It could be a nice stash buster and it looks comfy and flattering. This is a pattern for lightweight, two-way stretch knits.

V9131 - Marcy Tilton
V9131 – Marcy Tilton – Vogue Fall 2015
This knit top has a few variations and necklines as you can see from these line drawings.

V9130 - Marcy Tilton - Vogue Fall 2015

I’ve always liked sailor pants. Here’s a version by Sandra Betzina – V1464. But I’d make the legs a bit wider. And I have the perfect striped top for it – the one from the Japanese pattern book She Wears the Pants (you can read my review of the book and see photos of my top here).

V1464 - Sandra Betzina - Vogue  Fall 2015
V1464 – Sandra Betzina – Vogue Fall 2015
OK – so now it’s time to look at a few of the not-so-interesting or odd patterns.

This top (V9124) seems rather unflattering – maybe it would look better with a belt? Definitely not one I’ll be making.

V9129 - Vogue Fall 2015

Is this a cheerleading dress? This is a DKNY pattern (V1461) – I guess you could characterize this as the sporty, fun Donna Karan line.

V1461 - Vogue Fall 2015

OK, this dress (V9124) makes me think of the TV show Little House on the Prairie.

V9124 - Vogue Fall 2015

Check out this Vogue illustration that goes with the dress. Am I right?

V9124 - Vogue Fall 2015

And in case you need a reminder, here’s a photo of the Ingalls family on the show.

Little House on the Prairie

Calico fabric and tiered, gathered skirts are not my thing. There is a shorter version of the dress, which is cute and more contemporary. Here’s the illustration – still not my style but definitely more palatable than the long-sleeve version!

V9124 - Vogue Fall 2015

Thus concludes my brief look at a few of Vogue’s fall 2015 offerings.

Are you thinking of fall sewing yet? What are your plans? I’ve had the Sewaholic Robson Coat on my list for a while (fabric already purchased!), a 1970s vintage Vogue knit dress with princess seams (one muslin done, which you can see in this post), a vintage Vogue cropped jacket, and wool pants are a few other possibilities.

Happy sewing!

My Vintage Weekend

Last weekend was my vintage weekend. On Saturday I stopped by the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, which was having a sale of vintage clothes, shoes, and other accessories. This place  occasionally gets vintage goods from its estate services.  The next day I went to the Alameda Flea Market a.k.a. the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (its official name), where hundreds of vendors convene on the first Sunday of the month, selling a huge array of vintage (and not so vintage), upcycled, and funky items, everything from furniture and toys to clothes and jewelry. I’ll write about that fun experience tomorrow.

The Depot is a nonprofit organization loaded with donated art and craft supplies, vintage goods, fabric, furniture, and more, which it sells. Its mission is “to divert waste materials from landfills by collecting and redistributing discarded goods as low-cost supplies for art, education, and social services.”

I looked at the clothes at the Depot but they were either too small or the styles weren’t what I was interested in. But I was thrilled to find some vintage patterns for $1 each. I spent many minutes looking through two small boxes of patterns from the 1950s and 1960s.

Here’s what I bought. All the patterns included the original instructions but I haven’t checked yet to see if any pattern pieces are missing. They patterns are for bust size 30, 32 or 34, smaller than my 36 but I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult to grade up. I’ve only graded up one size when I made a dress from a vintage Vogue pattern.

I might start with the blouse below (Vogue 9961). I’ve been assured by Melizza (@mujerboricua) via Twitter, that it’s “totally doable.” She had a vintage pattern that she graded up from a size 40 bust to 44. She told me that she used the book Fit for Real People as a guide and she kindly offered to lend it to me if I’m ever in the Peninsula.

This Vogue 7034  dress pattern is size 14, which back then, as you can see, meant a 32 bust and a 35 hip. No vanity sizing back then!

1950 Vogue dress pattern
Vogue 7034 dress pattern from 1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vogue 1955 coat pattern
Vogue 1544 coat pattern from 1955 (apologies for blurry image!). One of the recommended fabrics is “wool hopsacking,” a loosely woven wool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vogue 1960 blouse pattern
Vogue 9961 blouse pattern from 1960. For this pattern, a size 12 meant a 32 bust, 25 waist, and a 34 hip. This top has a waistband.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vogue 5380 dresses - no copyright date listed
Vogue 5380 dresses – no copyright date listed

 

 

Vogue 6419 dress (no date but looks very '60s)
Vogue 6419 dress (no date but looks very ’60s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vogue 7282 dress pattern (no copyright date, 1960s)
This Vogue 7282 dress pattern says “new sizing” on the front. Here a size 12 was 34 bust, 25 1/2 waist and 36 hip. No copyright date but looks ’60s 

 

Vogue dress pattern 5968, 1960s (no date)
Vogue dress pattern 5968. I like the buttons on this dress.

 

I love vintage patterns of the 1950s and ’60s. I’ve also bought some Vogue reissued dress patterns from the 1950s. Have you made any clothes from vintage patterns? Did you have to grade the pattern? How did it turn out?

 

Sewing a Patricia Underwood Vogue Hat

Patricia Underwood design

The first hat I made was for cold winters in upstate New York where I grew up. Using some fake sheepskin fabric, I made a hat with ear flaps. I think I was inspired by some Russian hats I’d seen. I didn’t have a pattern. I just cut and sewed. I’m not sure what happened to that hat, which I made it when I was in high school (oh so long ago).

The second hat I ever made was after I graduated from college. I was inspired by a picture in a magazine. You can read about that experience in this post, “The Red Velvet Hat.”

I took a long hiatus from making hats – until I began sewing again and I wanted to tackle making a hat from a pattern. I flipped through many pattern books at Joann Fabric and Craft before deciding on V8440, which has some great hats by Patricia Underwood.

To make the Patricia Underwood hat, I used an upholstery sample I found for a couple of dollars at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I wanted to use a fabric that I liked and that would be good practice for making the hat with more expensive fabric. (See my post “Fabric at the East Bay Depot.”)

The sample wasn’t very big, less than the yardage of the pattern. But I thought I could make it work by cutting it on the bias, which would make this rather heavy fabric a little less stiff.

Sewing the Hat

Back detail

The pattern is simple – four pie-shaped pieces of fabric with four darts. You use the same pattern pieces for the main fabric and the lining. The trickiest part for me was the topstitching because there’s a lot of it and you have to go slow if you want your stitches to be equidistant and even. This pattern has topstitching along both sides of the seams of each “pie” piece and five parallel lines of topstitching along the brim (see photos below for details). I had to be really patient when I did that part.

After I finished the top stitching, I tried on the hat and realized much to my dismay that the hat was too big! I was aghast. I had just done all that beautiful topstitching! How could this be?

Well, I didn’t take into account that I was using a heavy fabric and when you make a hat, every 1/8 of an inch really counts. When I cut the fabric, I likely made each pattern piece slightly larger than it should have been. Plus the fabric had a tendency to fray so when I sewed it, I should have compensated for the fray and stitched a slightly wider seam and trimmed the seam after I was done.

After setting it aside for a day, I decided I couldn’t let all that sewing go to waste so I decided I to add two additional darts in the back, taking in about a half-inch each. I held my breath, took my scissors and sliced through the finished edge (five rows of topstitching!). Then I sewed two 3/8-inch darts and put the hat on again. It worked! Now the hat could fit on my head instead of falling over my eyebrows. (Click on the images below for larger views.)

5 (!) rows of topstitching
Topstitching detail
One of the extra darts