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Monday, June 27, 2011

Patience and a sombrero makeover

I've been wanting to make an 18th century hat for a while but balked a bit at the price plus postage of those nice hat blanks I've seen online. I figured I could find an ordinary straw hat and have a play around with it. However in true form, while I was looking I couldn't find anything even remotely suitable. It was only when I stopped looking that one turned up! 
I found this large brimmed sombrero at the charity shop on Saturday for $4. 

First of all I unpicked some of the crown to see how good the straw was - I wasn't sure how well it would stand up to being unpicked and resewn. It turned out to be fine. So I cut off the tall crown and proceeded to sew a flat piece for the new low crown.
Fortunately I had some milliner's needles bought for just such a project. I took my time and sprayed the straw with water and put a weight on it to make it nice and flat.  I also turn the main part inside out because the brim was a bit floppy. Then once my little round flat piece was the size I needed I pinned it into place on the open crown.
Have I ever sewn a hat before - no. Was it hard? No. 
Sewing the new flat panel in was the most fiddly.  It just took a little time and I even reused the thread I unpicked from the hat. It was still strong so it went back into the hat. Ultimate recycling!  
Now instead of paying around $40, I have a 24 inch wide low crowned straw hat for $4 and it's ready for styling. 
I'm going through my stash for suitable trimmings and I'll post on that shortly!


  1. Brilliant!


  2. Why thankyou Ma'am! I'm happy with the result so far!