Right, so we left of with the ‘cap’ part of the Jeff flatcap finished, so on to the body of the hat. As a reminder, our block for this project was the Guru’s classic cap block.
The body of the hat was to be made in two parts. Firstly, the ‘ribbon’, which is the piece of fabric that runs around the head, and secondly the top of the hat which holds everything together (‘ribbon’ and cap).
To make the ribbon, I measured the circumference of the broadest point on the block, and cut two bias strips. Using the aforementioned careful ironing technique, I ironed the fabric to some stayflex (this comes in black or white) and then attached the two pieces together on the sewing machine (to form symmetrical side seams at the temple of the hat).
Sewing the two parts of the ribbon together required the use of a sewing machine – tres fun! Although my abilities with sewing machines were near to zilch, they soon improved and very little unpicking was required.
Once the two pieces were symmetrically sewn together, it was time to block, starting from the back. I pinned the top of the piece in four places (usual method of front, back, side and side) to keep in place and put pin in the botton front first so that it would not move around and twist the side seams.
With help from the Guru, I blocked the bottom part of the fabric first, just over the block collar, leaving plenty of fabric to use as a seam later on.
Next, the top of the fabric was blocked. This required a lot of ‘gentle’ force, to make sure the fabric was blocked evenly all round. Fabric blocked, I then steamed it and left to dry.
Whilst the ribbon part of the hat was drying into shape, I cut a bias strip of fabric for the top. Removing the now dry ribbon, I blocked this, covering as much of the top of the block as possible. I made sure the pile was going from front to back – hats should always be lighter at the front (the effect of going with the pile) and darker at the back (against the pile) – this has always been the rule, so even though I’m not sure I understand… I went with it.
Top fabric blocked, it was steamed and left to dry. The next step was to sew the two together. The ribbon was pulled gently over the top – very carefully, as piled fabric is very keen to move and slip around. Once placed correctly, it was sewn into place using an invisible stitch.
A few notes:
- Cord/velvet – never, ever touch when wet or right after steaming. It will leave a mark that won’t go away
- Positioning the two pieces: a little bit of moving around and rough calculating of where the cap will go is needed. Unfortunately, there is no exact method for this, just trial and error.
And here it is, Jeff, stage 2. Next time, the beautiful lining, and final touches.