A Tailor's Ham
It has little to do with "Chanel Inspired" accessories but if you have some tweed fabric, it is a great option to make a tailor's ham for yourself or for somebody else. A tailor's ham or dressmaker's ham is a tightly stuffed pillow used as a curved mold when ironing/pressing curved areas of clothing, such as darts, sleeves, cuffs, collars, or waistlines. Pressing on a curved form allows a garment better to fit body contours. To accommodate tapering or garments of different sizes, it has roughly the shape of a ham.
It is also a perfect helping tool when you are hand sewing. Especially when you are hand sewing the quilting process or the seam together (the lining on the fabric) as we learned to do when we are creating the Chanel Inspired jacket. A small roll as model for the tailor's ham will be perfect to use when you are hand sewing the seams of the sleeves.
Tailor's ham are perfectly made from pieces of fabric left over, to fill the inside and tweed or heavy cotton on the outside.
This is why we are spending a whole page on creating a tailor's ham. We are not making a tutorial here, but we will give some perfect links or maybe in future make a free Pdf pattern.
It is actually very weird the Sewing Patterns companies do not have tailor's ham's patterns. Maybe they think it is too easy to make one, or there al already too many patterns out there. But it is not a luxury. every seamstress should have a least a few tailor's ham's because once you start to work with them, you can not live ( or sew) without them....
The tailor's ham's are made of tweed and heavy cotton. The fillings of the hams consists of remnants of fabrics. The fabrics are cut in very small pieces. The remains are crammed and pushed hard. See tutorials.
You can also fill the ham's with straw but we prefer the remains of fabrics.
Ham's come in all sizes. Ideal is when you are able to make a few ham's of different sizes. Also, as on picture 2: a small roll ham is perfect for using when you are hand sewing the seams of the sleeves. multi
The tailor's ham's can be used in different ways for both ironing and hand sewing. Handy tools that you can easily make yourself.
Vogue V8405 is a sewing pattern for four hats, lined and in four different variations. The sewing pattern is especially a fun experiment. If never made any hats... it is a great starter for sure.
The sewing pattern from Vogue is categorized as: Accessories, no designer is mentioned. The hats are offered in different variations. The variations are in the top of the hat (= top), here is a choice between round and egg-shaped. Variations in the crown (= crown) and the brim (= edge). From a fairly simple hat (Model B. to a hat with a lot of allure (Model A).
The sewing pattern does not contain any advice regarding your sewing skills. We think this sewing pattern will be easy to make is you have an average sewing level. The hats do not require any special sewing techniques but it is a bit tricky to sew in the round (sewing the top of the hat to the crown) and to deal with stiff fabrics.
The decorations make the hats very beautiful and unique. You can also add your own variations and, for example, opt for more color or larger decorations.
The recommended fabrics for these hats are:
You also need interfacings (preferably 'hair canvas' = horsehair interfacing), lining fabric (preferably stiff fabric), cotton, cotton mixes and decorative ribbon, band or twill tape. The last mentioned fabric in the list of fabrics is the best to start with: canvas. This is an easy fabric and stiff and firm enough to make hats. The other fabrics are just too soft and flexible. If you want your hat to stay in shape, you won't be able to do it with a flexible fabric and non-woven fabric. You really need a stiff fabric to keep the shape and to prevent the brim (= brim) of the hat from hanging down.
How do you know which model suits you best?
Every head is different because of the shape and the hair. One has an elongated head, the other has a round babyface. In terms of hair, it is of course also different for everyone. Some women don't go out without first styling their hair up with lots of spray, others have fine and thin hair and let it hang neatly and just as easily put on a cap or hat. It often takes a while to find out what suits you best for a model. Of course it also has to do with the rest of your clothing and styling. Do you like casual and trendy or are you more the classic type who likes to wear timeless clothing?
Your own preference and the occasions also play a role: will the cap or hat be for everyday use or for a special occasion?
Tip: put on hats and caps as much as you can to learn and see if they suits your looks. In stores (if allowed) or from others. You will notice that some models make your face and appearance more beautiful and others really don't look good. Getting advice in a hat store is a plus. The sellers have a lot of experience and immediately notice which type of hats and caps suits your face shape, haircut and personal style the best.
Making all the models!
I decided to make all models from the Vogue V8405 sewing pattern. This does not have to cost a fortune. You can use canvas fabric, interfacings and fabric leftovers. We chose the same fabric for all hats so that we could compare them properly.
At first, we preferred model A and one member of the team chose model C. So you can see that at first sight, everybody has its own taste. Making the hats was not difficult. The instructions are clear and do not forget to always cut triangles at the curves so that there is no unnecessary tension or stretch on the edges. Working with 'Hair canvas' was very pleasant. You can roughly thread this reinforcement on the inside so that it does not shift.
We did notice that the hats were larger than expected. You can also see this in the picture, the hats really slide over the face and are therefore a bit too widen.
Don forget to iron & press!
Iron the hats as much as possible to help the fabric get into shape. Provide a good tailor's ham so that you can press the hat around nicely.
Which model do you like best?
After a while all models were ready and eventually opinions turned out to be quite different. Model C was rated most, than Model B and Model A. Model D's top was rated the best as it is the only model which is with an egg-forming top. Model A tends to hang. Extra, extra and extra reinforcement is really necessary here, because even turning the top was hardly possible.
In the end we are most satisfied with model D (because of the top and the fit) and Model A: we will make some new hats with other fabrics.
Gobelin is the best hat-fabric!
A (the first three photos above) and model D we remade from Gobelin fabric. This fabric is very pleasant because it is stiff enough for a hat, but flexible enough for a sewing machine. Most sewing machines can handle even two layers with hair canvas in the middle.
Gobelin fabrics are often not cheap, but you can also choose to sew the inside of the hat with a different fabric. Or in a beautiful contrasting color.
Variations on a theme
Finally, we made model A again in an asymmetrical shape, made of a golden jacquard fabric and decorated with a lot of tulle. The hat is immediately a special-occasion hat and very striking while only minor adjustments have been made.
This is the nice thing about making hats yourself. You can make something unique, choose your own perfect model and give a hat as grotesque or as subtle as you wish.
Vogue V8405 is a sewing pattern for four models of hats. We recommend making all models first with a leftover-fabric or a cheap (stiff!) type of fabric. After that you will be able to check the size and especially the model that suits you best. Because of the beautiful photos of Vogue, this is very difficult to estimate.
The hats are not difficult to make, but choose especially stiff and firm fabrics. Cut out as many triangles around the curves as possible, to make the curves better, round shaped and press the fabric into shape as much as you can.
Gabrielle Chanel once started her career designing hats. Women were wearing ankle-length dresses and tight corsets and large, lavish hats. She drastically changed both the women's clothing and the hats. Women could look beautiful and elegant, according to her, without all those big dresses and hats. Her motto: women should be able to move, look classy, elegant with 'simple' designs.
Chanel's revolutionary approaches were taboo breaking and were received with open arms. Goodbye corsets, clumsy clothes and overly heavy lavish hats, Hello beautiful tweed suits and elegant little hats.
Making hats, a craftsmanship!
Now, making hats is of course an real profession. Especially if the hats are made of felt, straw or cardboard. As a semi-professional or hobby seamstress, you will not be able to create them easily. You also need specific tools. But it is not impossible to make hats and caps; choosing the right sewing pattern and fabrics will be key to do the job.
We have listed some tips & tricks for you. And sewing pattern reviews.
Make hats and caps? Yes, we can!
Why would you want to make a hat or a cap?
We have been asked that question once, but our answer is: why not? Hats and caps are like bags, caps, gloves and scarves. You can never really have enough of it. Moreover, it always looks extra neat and clean to wear a hat. It 'upgrades' an outfit completely.
But we have even more reasons:
1. Fabric leftovers? We are going to use them to make hats and caps. Zero waste is a great ideal for seamstresses who consider sustainability of paramount importance. Sometimes you can already manage to make a nice cap with very small pieces of fabric. And you don't need much fabric for a very nice chic hat. Half a yard of fabric leftovers? Enough to create a beautiful chic hat!
2. Making hats and caps is a lot of fun and a great creative process. It is not just sewing, but requires more techniques and insight with regard to shapes, shaping and sewing by hand. Of course it depends on what kind of fabric you are using to create the hats or caps. A cap with lining is very easy, a chic hat will demand more effort and sewing skills.
3. Decorate, embroidery, feathers and/or flowers. A hat may be decorated. A hat has extra appeal and even a cap is more fun with a decoration. Okay, okay, Coco Chanel wouldn't get excited about this, but we do like to pay extra attention to it. A hat with a flower, modest or over-done makes it much more personal and unique.
4. Finally: a hat or cap is a nice part of your outfit as you get older. In summer it will protect you from the sun, in winter from cold or rain. Don't think of 'an old lady with a hat' ... but it is a fact that hats and caps are a favorite item of women over 40. The hair is thinning, the scalp gets more sensitive.
Save your beautiful hair, your sensitive scalp and put on a hat or cap!
The first job
If you've never made a hat or cap before, start with simple sewing patterns and easy to use fabrics. We have tested and tried a few. Choose a model that appeals to you, but don't start too difficult. Build it up slowly, just like you do with clothes.
Kwik Sew K4107
Kwik Sew K4107 is an easy sewing pattern with four models of caps. Model A is great for hot summers. Fold the cap scarf and take it with you in your handbag. If the sun is burning, you always have the cap nearby. We have made this Model a few times from beautiful silk fabrics. Ideal and very easy. Moreover, a little 'Grace Kelly' style if you tie the scarf forward under your chin.
Model C and D are easy to make and great to wear. They are in fact slightly deeper than a baseball cap and do not look cool or vulgar, but chic and classy. Of course this depends on which fabric you make the caps. We recommend strong gabardine fabric, chic 'chains' fabric or even tweed and Bouclé.
The Vogue pattern seems to look more difficult to sew. The sewing pattern requires heavier fabrics such as wool blends, denim, canvas and suede or leather look. Still, the sewing patterns are easy to make and as a novice seamstress you will get there.
We made model F ourselves, see photos below. The model is asymmetrical and it is advisable to make a label or thread on the back, in the inside, so you will know the back-end and the hat will mold itself to your head. The other models are also feasible and look more difficult but are easy to sew. This is mainly due to the fabric used and the glamorous photo's.
A few days later we decided to sew the model A. as well, with lovely gobelin fabric. The hat is big and bright. The model is easy to make although it might look more difficult than it actually is.
Model F and model A are great hats and not so complicated to create, eventhough you have little sewing skills.
Vogue V8941 is a bit the same as V7460. The hats or caps are looking difficult but they are not thát difficult to create. It is possible, really!
They are made of tweed, wool blend and suede. Model B is totally super chic. The wool top overlayed with a lace fabric. In addition, the hats are adorned with bands, bows and buckles. It all looks perfect, but for a seamstress with average sewing experience; you can do the job!
Vogue V7464 is a sewing pattern for hats from the 30's and 40's.
There is no advice for the necessary sewing experience on all Vogue sewing patterns for hats. But you need a lot of sewing skills to create these hats.
The hats are made from silk, taffeta, felt, lace and tulle. You also need a lot of extras such as special filling, hat pins, stryofoam, tapes, edges and glue. A great challenge ! And absolutely wonderful, beautiful hats!
McCalls 2022 The Vault collection
Finally we would like to mention: McCalls The Vault Collection 2022. This number does not say anything about the coming year but is a number to indicate the historical and cosplay costume.
The sewing pattern is often not part of the regular accessories, but as mentioned under: historical costumes, vintage or Cosplay costumes.
The same applies to this sewing pattern as the Vogue 7464: it is a real challenge to create these hats! You also need several extras and the hats are made of: silk, taffeta, carpet fabric and brocade.
We have not yet tried them yet, but we will do so soon. Looking at the sewing descriptions, the McCalls 2022 seems to be a little bit easier to make.
Fabrics, notions and extra's:
To make hats and caps you often need extra fabrics you have never bought before. But not everything is difficult to find. You can go a long way with tulle, mesh fabric, horsehair lining and felt. You can buy these fabrics at any (online) fabric store. As well as hat pins (look at needles and pins) and buckles / closures. These are often the standard haberdashery that every store has in its assortment.
Foam and mesh: take a look at stores with upholstery fabrics.
Feathers, flowers, appliqué and fur can be found at party-stores or hobby- and craft stores. Also take a look at thrift stores. Sometimes you can find the most beautiful things here that at first seem old-fashioned, dusty and maybe even dirty. But take your appliqués, flowers, feathers off an old dress or hat, wash it carefully and you have got yourself something special.
More tips for this: How to find great items at a thrift store
Specialized sewing patterns
There are also sewing patterns brands specialized in making hats. You can find these under the accessories section of the sewing pattern store.
The Pattern Studio and specifically for Victorian clothing and accessories: Truly Victorian.
Making hats and caps is not only a lot of fun (and a challenge!) but you will also enjoy wearing them.
At first sight it seems difficult and almost impossible to create hats yourself. But if you start with simple caps and hats, you will soon notice it is actually easy peasy.
Do you have beautiful fabric leftovers and already a whole collection of toiletry bags, mobile cases and glasses cases? Let's start to sew a cap or hat and we bet you will like it a lot!
For the upcoming holidays, which will be different this year, we have worked out some beautiful sewing patterns for suitable and affordable clothing. So far: Vogue 1605 and Vogue 1520.
In this blog an idea to make a chic gift as an ultimate upcycling project: The idea to give neckties a new life. Ties are not popular anymore. Do you, or your friend, husband, son or neighbor, have a bunch of ties in the closet which are 'working' anymore? Ask if you can use them and turn them into a nice laptop sleeve!
Ties - downgrades or no longer needed
In general, ties are worn less and less since a few years. Dress codes or unwritten rules have declined considerably in the business world. Hierarchy is no longer determined by how you look (according to the rules) but what you radiate (your own personality).
In Germany, for example, the 'Krawattenpflicht' has not been present for a while at companies such as Aldi and Sparkasse. More and more companies are following.
People have always been much less strict in the Netherlands than in Germany. Watch a debate in the House of Parlemennt and you will notice that even in politics are no longer wearing ties. In the business world the tie is slowly disappearing.
Ties are still 'mandatory' during job interviews, official occasions and in certain professions (lawyers, notaries).
Upcycling of ties
The idea of upcycling ties is not so popular, because ties are not containing much fabric and the shape is awkward. Yet there are beautiful things you can make of them! And you are completely lucky if the ties are made of beautiful silk fabrics. Find a few beautiful color combinations together, and let's get really creative!
Do you not have any ties at all, but does the laptop sleeve appeal to you? Take a look at a thrift store. Sometimes you can find the most beautiful ties for a few pennies. You certainly don't need more than five.
What more do you need: not much. Preferably felt fabric, but another thick, soft fabric lining is also possible. Do you have a thick, slightly stiff blanket left? Then you can use it as a lining. Or a thick terrycloth towel, a piece of cloth from a duvet, sleeping bag or old cardigan. Important: the fabric must be a little stiff, thick and sewable (your sewing machine must be able to handle the thickness of the fabric).
In addition, a press stud and a beautiful (preferably silk) fabric for the lining.
This is an 'easy peasy' project for the seamstress with average sewing experience. For a novice seamstress it may be useful to practice first with an old piece of fabric.
We are creative and we love beautiful (silk!) ties for an upcycling project. Give them a second life and make somebody happy with a nice Christmas gift.
Make sure you choose nice color combinations, smooth fabric (ties or satin, silk, or shiny fabric).
A beautiful gift does not have to be expensive and upcycling fabrics is a creative and sustainable idea. Do you have any more ideas? We would like to hear from you!
Do you have a few centimeters of beautiful tweeds or silk fabrics left from your project? In this blog we present a few examples of how to use small pieces of fabric to make beautiful and fun accessories. we do not like the idea of throwing away fabrics... even if they are little pieces. Do you agree?
Of course we know that the entire internet already contains a lot of blogs from creative people with fantastic ideas, with step-by-step guidelines, to help you to make some lovely gifts for yourself or your beloved friends or family. We are not pretending to show on this website some unique projects which has not been around already. But our ideas are unique as they are just small objects which you are able to create in order to match the jackets or the skirt. When the jacket or the skirt is made for a client or a friend, it is a nice present as a personal "extra" and a very personal touch. The jacket or skirt IS already something very personal, but a small gift extra, makes it even more luxurious and personal.
A little (extra) personal gift
Apart from the fun of gratefulness when you give the little extra away, we are also very sensible for the idea of being sustainable and not just throwing away expensive beautiful materials.
Tweeds, Bouclé fabrics and Silk or other lining-fabrics are not always very useful to save for quilts or patchwork-projects. They are too thick, too much loose threads or silk; too delicate and difficult to match with other fabrics.
So we stick to some useful ideas to make wonderful accessories from our left-overs. If you have some ideas yourself or if you want to show your project; your wonderful bag, your beautiful laptop-cover or whatever; just send it to use and we will publish it.
It is possible to make lovely patchwork from fabrics as tweed and wool. Use some interfacing on the wrong side when the threads are very loose. If you iron it, it will stay together and it will work out much better. We have created some patchwork-blankets out of tweed fabrics. The blanket will be very heavy for sure, but choosing a light-weight woolen fabric as back-fabric would be a good idea. No inside extra fiber needed for sure....
Bouclé fabrics and silks are nice to save for small bags, make-up bags, eye glasses cases, scarfs, just some beautiful tablecloths or small cloths to use in in the wardrobe closet. It is nice to work with bindings or to create the fringes.
Speaking about fringes; bouclé fabrics are also very nice to save for fringes-projects. You you can tear the fabric apart and make braids with the threads or or cut them into narrow strips, sew them and unravel them. Beautiful examples are explained in the book: 'Making Designers Trims' by Claire Schaeffer.
Whatever you decide to do..
Beautiful and expensive fabrics are worth to save or to up-use for other projects. Cheap and fabrics you do not like, are perfect to save for projects when you need interfacings to bulk the fabric or just to practise a sewing technique. If you save fabrics; be sure they are be sure that they are well preserved so they will not stink, mold or moths are ruining the fabrics.
If you buy second-hand fabrics; be careful they are stored right. It is not very nice to buy fabrics from people who smoke in their studio's or galleries. The smell will not disappear....
Last but not least:
Trade or give fabrics to others. We have received out-dated and old-fashioned fabrics which were great for vintage projects and accessories. Nobody has the same style and taste. It is also very likely fanrics are beautiful for combinations with other fabrics, which you probably did not see on first sight. Take a look around at patchwork-works. Combinations are often very beautiful, but you would never buy the fabric on its own. Patchwork blankets and accessories are always nice. And even if they are totally out-dated or too ugly to enjoy; the dog will love it in its dog basket....
1. A real tailor's ham
2. Glasses cases
A nice gift from a tiny bit of tweed and fabric which was left over after sewing the Chanel-Style Brown tweed jacket.
This handy pocket is made for your eye-glasses or your phone; although for most phones it might be a bit too small.
You only have to cut out two pieces of fabric sizes: 10 cm (4"inch) x 15 cm (7"inch) and the same from the silk lining. The top of one of the small sides: round as half-circles. Sew the part apart from each other and quilt them as your jackets. Close three sides by hand with the same sewing-technique as sewing the seams of the jacket.
Top-stitch the half circles. Attach a closure or a button.
If you want the glasses case to be soft and protective for your glasses; attach a fiber interfacing before starting the quilting process.
The best tutorial: Sew a Glasses Case
3. Practicing quilting turned into small bag:
When starting to sew a Chanel Style or Inspired jacket, it is a real good advice to practice a bit on a piece of fabric and the lining behind it. This is the quilting part and once you started to quilt the lining for a jacket, you will repeat it over and over. Why ? Simply because it wears wonderful and it is a complete different and slow way of sewing, but much rewarding as well.
Sometimes the "practice-piece-of-fabric" looks good and you do not want to throw it away....
And now you know what works best; hand sewing, sewing the lining silk (inside)-side up or the tweed-side fabric up...
A small bag; made from a "practicing fabric" and the silk lining quilted on the inside. Use: glasses case, handy-case, make-up bag... whatever, it is a nice bag and always handy.
4. Make-up bag from Tweed fabric, silk lining and a metal gold zipper:
5. Glasses case from Silk fabric, lined with fleece:
Silk and lined with fleece Glasses case. We do not want to throw the silk away and it does not work for a quilt or Patchwork piece-of-art.
Make-up bags, mobile bags or glasses cases are always good.
6. Chanel-look hats and tweed-hats
A very simple sewing pattern will be very useful to create hats from fabrics-remnants. You only need a little faric to make these lovely hats. Silk lining will even make them better and sophisticated.
Here are our options.
Sewing pattern: Simplicity 6745
7. Little 'Chanel-Style' lady-vest
A vest does not need so much fabric. You can even decide to make the backside of elastic material or some different fabric. So you just need a very small amount of fabric. Sewing this in the same technique as a Chanel-jacket, makes it look beautiful on the inside too.
Sewingpattern: New Look 6914 works well!
More ideas? Sure!