May 18, 2011
I’m on my way to Eddie’s Sewing Club with partial supplies to make an Amy Butler Blue Sky Hat, everything needed to make three Cotton Ginnys Animal Blankets, but not a single thing for the assigned project: a zippered pouch for jewelry. Twice this year I’ve opted out of the intended class project and instead made something from a past class. I really want to make a sun hat for my mom as a belated Mother’s Day present, but I need ~3/4 yard of a cotton duck and the knowledge that they’re not going to kick me out of class for continuing to go rouge before I can start. If there’s no cotton duck, then I’ll make animal blankets. If my spot in class is at risk, then I’ll make the zippered pouch.
I walk up to the cutting counter and ask if there’s any cotton duck. I get a quizzical look.
“Do you need a particular color?”
“No,” I say, “it’s not going to be seen.” It’s used as stabilizer in between the fashion fabric, so truly any color will due.
I learn the reason for her quizzical look as she hands me the roll of fabric that’s currently in her hand. It’s 5/8 yards of a black cotton duck, and it’s on sale since it’s a scrap. Perfect. The cotton duck I bought from them for my first sun hat was more expensive than the Amy Butler fashion fabric. I’d felt tricked back then into buying unnecessarily expensive fabric (I don’t mind paying for quality fashion fabric, but cotton duck that’s never going to see the light of day?!), so this little fortuitous scrap evens things out in my book.
I cut the cotton duck, finding that the 5/8 yards is plenty, and begin piecing together the hat. Since I’ve made this hat once before, I fly through the steps, remembering all of the mistakes I made the first time around.
I pause when I finally attach the rim to the cap. The hat I made for myself was a bit floppy. I tried to give it more structure by adding rows of topstitching in concentric circles around the brim. Unfortunately, because of other little mistakes I’d made, each additional row added a bit of pucker into the brim fabric. The resulting brim was less floppy, but it now had a bit of a permanent wave to it from the puckering.
I want to add structure while avoiding the waving and puckering, so I sew the concentric rows of topstitching after the top of the brim is attached to the cap but before the bottom of the brim is attached to the cap facing, if that makes sense. Because there’s freedom between the two layers, I can keep them pinned flat as I sew concentric circles from the outside of the brim to the inside, each about an inch apart.
I complete the hat by the end of the three-hour class, which is amazing because the first hat likely took me the equivalent of a class and a half, at the very least. I smile as I’m reminded of how important making a muslin is for any project, even one that doesn’t need to be fitted.
I get home and box up the hat to ship off to my mom the next day. I add a bottle of local wine, a handmade jar of strawberry jam made the previous weekend, and a few comics for my dad. The package should arrive on Saturday, six days after Mother’s Day, but I hope that all the goodies inside will make up for its tardiness.
From the conversation I had with my mom once the surprises arrived in the mail, the gift was a success!