I should really title this "My Adventures in Draping" since this is a very new, very fun process I am learning all the time. But let me begin from the start by describing how this hat was inspired.
As a child of the 70s, I have been a fan of the fabric designs of Marimekko, which is a company based in Helsinki, Finland. Founded in 1951 as an oil cloth factory, the business failed and then transformed into a very influential fabric design company that achieved popularity in the 60s and 70s. They are best known for brightly-colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women's garments and in home furnishings.
In 1987 I had the opportunity to travel to Finland and got to shop at the Marimekko store. My mother still wears a pair of socks and t-shirt I purchased for her at that time. So you can imagine how excited I was to find that Crate and Barrel was selling their fabric by the yard!
I started with a yard of this beautiful fabric which I think resembles a cherry blossom tree.
Building the Frame
With buckram I blocked a crown on my wig stand and cut out a brim using a platter to trace the shape. (a platter from the 99 cent store!) After wiring, mulling and fleecing both I added a brown silk fabric to the bottom of the brim. Once I sewed the crown to the brim the fun began!
Draping the Crown
We (my teacher Jill and I) placed the fabric over the top of the hat. I turned it until I got the placement right - meaning that I wanted the branch to flow across the width of the hat so you could see the design properly. Once I was happy with that I put one pin on the top of the crown to secure it. Then, using my hands, I smoothed the fabric over the crown applying folds when needed and pinned. This was done by pinning the front and side right and creasing - then pinning the back and side right and creasing. By pinning the crown in 4 segments I was able to more easily smooth the material.
Lining the hat and Creating an Applique
The brim was actually fleeced and covered with a brown silk fabric before I draped the crown. But I learned two tricks with this process.
1) In order to line the inside I placed a piece of the silk fabric across the opening and pushed my hand down inside the crown. Where ever the fabric wanted to fold I pinned it and then lightly stiched it down and trimmed to the edge. That left only the headband (grosgrain) to sew down and cover my stitches.
2) The underside was too plain for me so Jill suggested I cut a piece of the Marrimekko design and create an applique by applying a thin layer of glue to the back. I never created my own applique but now I have something I can do with scraps!
Marimekko has a fan base of people who use their fabrics in all sorts of crafts. Crate and Barrel sells a really cool book that features these crafts called Surrur. I plan on posting my hat to the Facebook page as another example of how to use their fabric!