Thursday, 1 September 2011


In two weeks we have the second Bridport International Hat Festival. I went to the first last year with my earliest, very small, collection of Hat Pins and Brooches and a selection, rather large, of my stage hats. I taught a workshop on making period hats from charity shop hats and I'm back this year doing a Hat Swishing Workshop. My stall will be rather larger with many more new designs for pins, brooches and, as befits the tutor of a Hat Swishing session, some up-cycled hats.
I've really enjoyed giving these hats a new lease of life. The trick is to start with a good shape- personally, I look rubbish in most hats, so if I plonk an old hat on my head and it looks good, I know it will suit ANYONE. Most charity shop hats need a bit of t.l.c to restore their shape and then the fun can begin.

This crisp, chunky textured paper straw hat is a really excellent hat-tough as anything, it is very amenable to being re-shaped, so it can be worn in may different ways.

I was inspired by some old postcards from a show of pop art I came across in my collection and decided to trim the hat with some solid, strongly coloured felt and make a big, graphic felt badge for the front/side, held in place with a hat pin made with beads and seeds.

This white woven paper hat has a nice soft vintage feel to it and I had just enough scraps of two toning Amy Butler fabrics left over from a quilt and other projects to make bias binding to go round the edge, a patchwork hat band and two big pinked 'flowers'.

Finished with a bead and felt hat pin to add a touch of sparkle.

Again, a very amenable hat that can happily have its brim pulled up or down.
I was delighted to have enough of the Amy Butler fabric to use for a hat- I love her fabric designs, gorgeous and unexpected fresh colour combinations, an eye for detailing, great textures and a really eclectic mix of inspiration...her website is lovely, lots of free patterns to download and loads of inspiration for the weary hand crafter- check out her gorgeous garden, which you can see photos of if you visit her "about' page and click on the link halfway down.
Two hats down, two to go...back to the steamer and the sewing machine for me!

But first, perhaps a cup of coffee, kept piping hot by my favourite Amy Butler cafetiere cosy and jacket.

I have two tiny triangles of fabric left- might just have to get some more to go with it so I have enough to make myself something else. My stash cupboard is already full? Really? You do surprise me.


  1. They look very good Kate, will you be ready for the show?

  2. I think so- made all my shop displays except one, two more hats to trim up,probably got enough pins/brooches etc...just need to get my Workshop finalised and materials packed properly and worksheets/prices peace for the wicked!