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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Steampunk: Top Hat WIP -part 2

I've been putting this hat project off for a while since I figured it would be the hardest thing to do...but lastnight, in the wee hours of the morning, I decided to finally sit down and just knock it out.
It was still a pain in the butt and isn't done, yet...but the hardest part is now over, so that's good.:)



So, I started out with this hard-felt hat I bought for $7 at a Party America costume shop:


After first removing the satin ribbon and the bias tape edging from the brim, I then followed this tutorial and began making patterns from brown packaging paper to cover this hat in my own fabric:
Chloe's Crafts ~ Cover a top hat with fabric using adhesives
-I started out with spray adhesive, but ended up doing some hand-stitching, too...for further strength and durability of the fabric.

Here's where I started:
First off...I need to preface this by pointing out that the top, or crown, of this top hat was very weak and nowhere near as stiff as the felt making up the rest of the hat.   So rather than having to worry about something poking through or denting the top of the hat, I took some craft foam that I picked up in the kid's section of Hobby Lobby and made an additional ceiling to the hat, glued that on and then covered with fabric:





Next I attacked the underside of the brim:
-which turned out beautifully.  At some point I'll be covering the inside with some fabric, too.

The top part of the brim was the hardest part...getting it to lay flat and figuring out how much space I needed, in the center of the oval I had cut, in order to shimmy it down over the stalk, or center cylinder, of the hat...
-After I got that piece fitted down, I sprayed on my adhesive and put it back on...but it didn't fit right the 2nd time as it did the first when I was fitting it without the spray adhesive. I think I may have put the fabric on backward...
-once I got it down and as flat to the brim as I could, I then went around and trimmed off the excess fabric sticking out from the edge of the brim.  And the excess fabric from the underside of the brim was curled over and glued down to the topside of the brim. 


This part was a bit tricky, too... as you can see, with the curve of the inner line of the brim, the fabric's straight edge couldn't sit perfectly around...so there was a bit of pulling apart and re-setting and stretching the material, etc.  In the end, I had to do a bit of trimming around the bottom base, too.
-Once I got the excess fabric at the top trimmed away, I left about an inch of excess and just folder that under and then glued that right at the line at the edge of the top circumference.  Then I went back over it with some hand-stitching.






And hand-stiched down the center of the hat where my fabric overlapped. -Want to make sure that if the glue ever fails, the fabric won't move. Felt stitching would be my best option.

-As you can see, despite the spray-adhesive and any other glues, the fabric just won't sit properly on the top of the brim.


That was frustrating...so I sat down with a curved needle and  proceeded to hand-stitch that, too.  This was very difficult for me because I don't, currently, have a properly sized thimble and as this is thick felt and now the addition of the fabric and adhesives...it was very hard to push the needle through the brim. I got half-way around the brim before calling it done 'till later. My fingers were so sore.  
I'm going to finish hand-stitching the brim, but tomorrow I'll be going to my sister's to use her sewing machine to sew the bias tape as edging around the brim.

-As you can see, that hand-stitching was worth it...the brim looks SOO much better now.


My semi-workstation in my diningroom on some folding tables against the wall...



Nearly done with this stage:






Next I'll be working on adding the blue/brown fabric to the middle of the hat as a corset like this:
 Source: 100 Steampunk-Inspired Finds