Hat Pin Tutorial

I’m sure you are all bright enough to figure out how to make a hat pin from an upholstery needle, but a girl has to have something to write about on her blog, doesn’t she?  The need is heightened because tomorrow I leave for a sunny vacation in Mexico and I need to set this blog on automatic pilot for the next several posts. So lets pretend you have no hot clue, shall we?

The upholstery needles I bought came in 4 sizes.  For this pin, I chose the smaller size.

SAM_1702Since it was already on the shorter side, I decided to only have one bead on it as I didn’t want the length taken up with decoration.  I wanted to maintain as much of the business end of the pin as I could.

Upholstery needles come with an eye which is useful when sewing upholstery but not so desirable in a hat pin.  I took some pliers and attempted to squeeze the eye shut, with the hope that the bead would then slide over it and hide the eye.SAM_1704

The squeezing resulted in the eye breaking off so I decided that wire cutters would be the way to go hence forth.  (I was going to have to cut the longer pins shorter anyway or risk taking the eye out of anyone sitting near me.)


I chose my bead and slid it on, securing it with some strong glue.


I did not like the fact that I could see the end of the needle in the hole of the bead…


…so I finished it off with a dab of paint.



I think this pin with go nicely with my Silky Skies dress when I finally finish that.


Upholstery needle hat pins

On Sunday, I had a nice afternoon of crafting.  I should have been visiting my father but the crazy winds and blowing snow made highway travel unwise.  I wasn’t in the mood to sew so I sat with some knitting and watched several episodes of “Cranford” and “Cranford Revisited”.

When I got tired of that, I rummaged through my bead supplies (yes, another dreaded stash) and made several hat pins with the upholstery needles I found on sale on Saturday.  It was a bit of a challenge to find beads that had holes that were big enough.  But, on the whole I am pleased with the look of them.SAM_1711

I’ve made some longer than others because two of my hats are very hard to keep on my head and I think the longer pins will be helpful.  I made a valiant effort to make at least one with pink in it, in case I don’t finish my real project for the Pink Challenge in Historical Sew Fortnightly.  SAM_1712Unfortunately, two beads on two of the pins chipped a tad in the making but I think those are small enough that they wont be noticed.  The glue, once dry will, of course, be clear.

To bad I’m not allowed to buy more wool

Have no fear!  I am not living with a tyrant.  “The no more wool (and books and fabric)” rule is my own.   I’m not allowing myself to buy more of these things until I’ve used up what I have.

There is fine print in that contract that I have with myself that reads “I can make exceptions to that rule if some project is likely to languish in the UFO pile if I don’t buy more of the above”.  I also make exceptions if I encounter a price that is beyond belief.  The silk from my latest project was one such example.  Can I seriously walk away from silk at $12 a meter when I normally find it at $52 a meter?  I say “Nay!”

I do have a project I’d like to make one day but I don’t NEED it in the strictest sense (even though a shawl in black to balance out the two I have in white would be ideal).  So alas, I shall have to wait until the plethora of wool balls in my basement is seriously diminished before I can tackle this project.



Why don’t I use what I have in stash you ask? Well, some how, I don’t envision this in hot pink fuzzy wool.  Seriously, most of the stuff in my stash was acquired before relaunching my Victorian costume hobby and during my “mother of young children” phase.  The fiber content and color is simply impossible.  Sigh.

An older lady with a cute hat

In my collection, I have a few tin types.  Today, I’m going to share one of an older lady in a cute hat.  I can’t really see her dress well enough to try to date the photo so we will just have to enjoy it for its own self.SAM_1637

These things are fiendishly difficult to photograph.  Use a flash and all you see is white glare, don’t use a flash and it is hard to see.  The same thing happens with cabinet cards but not to such a great degree.


The poor dear looks so gaunt in the face…I should like to feed her some ice-cream and send her to bed for a nice long nap.  She does have a darling little hat though.

There’s an app for that

I’m always a bit slow to get on board with new trends.  When answering machines came in, I hated them.  When cell phones came in, I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t just make their phone calls before leaving home.  I finally got a flip phone when my Dad got sick and I needed to be easily reached.  I hated texting on the thing because you had to hit the number buttons various times while it scrolled through the alphabet.  It would take a half hour to write a message.  Unfortunately, it was the only way my teens would communicate with me.  You can text your mother discretely but you can’t phone her without all your pals knowing.

I finally retired my flip phone last summer (yes it is true, I had a flip phone until last year) and got an iPhone.  Well, dang it all!  I now get what all the fuss is about.  I’m never far from that thing!  It is for that very reason, I don’t have a data plan and rely on wifi hot spots.  If I had a data plan I’d be surgically attached!

One thing I like is the apps.  Especially the free ones.  I’m all about the cheap thrills!  My latest fun thing is Photo Lab.  Oooo the great “WORKS OF ART” I have been creating.  How about me as an oil painting…


Or me in my husbands pocket watch.


I can’t remember what this one is called but it is pretty cool too.eab86cc1_o

My favorite is the sketch look.  I did several of these.


Shirley and I at the train station was followed by me on the beach.


I think the beach one looks most realistic.  The next one could be a future tattoo…


Awe!  What is your favorite app?  Would you give up your phone and computer if you could go back to the good old days?

HSF ’14:Challenge 2 Innovation

I have completed (more or less) my submission for the Innovation Challenge in the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge.  I will preface my submission by saying that I have very little knowledge about dresses pre-Victorian Era so I can’t say that this is truly an innovation.  It is very possible that this is merely a trend.

But, from what I have been able to find on-line it seems that in the 1860’s women’s skirts went from being huge pleated rectangles to being several gored panels.  They also moved from the round hoops of the 50’s to the oval hoops that moved the bulk of the skirt to the back.  Two sources I found with this information are here and here.

I give you my gored elliptical 1865 Silky Skies Skirt.  SAM_1686

I think I did a pretty good job of pattern matching.


I have not hemmed it yet.  That will have to wait until I have 1) decided on what shoes I’ll be wearing with this and 2) completed the hoops for this dress (to be done for the “Under it all” challenge.



When I get to the hemming, I will iron this puppy (visions of scorching real silk are now dancing through my head….tremble!)

The Challenge: 2 Innovation

Fabric: silk

Pattern: TV247

Year: 1865

Notions: thread, hook and eye

How historically accurate is it? Fabric content (for a change) is good. I used real silk rather than a synthetic one.   I think the color and pattern is pretty good on the fabric as well.  Machine sewing was possible but modern machines sew differently than a machine from the 1860’s I believe.  The pattern is accurate. I’d say 85%

Hours to complete: @12

First worn: not yet

Total cost: @$50