Tuesday, April 21

Leather Top Hat

My latest obsession that kept me from finishing other projects was the leather top hat. Excitingly enough, another project actually for me. I do manage to go for those sorts of projects every now and again.

I did a pattern out of poster board, based off of measurements and such. largely based off of me figuring it out as I want along, to be honest. Once that was reasonably what I was after, I pulled the mockup back apart and laid it out on my leather. I started with just plain old tooling leather.

With pieces cut out, I used wool daubers to swipe on the dye, which let me get a more mottled effect. Which is totally awesome. Once that had dried, I did a quick wet seal on it. Basically running it under the faucet to rinse out any excess dye, then dried everything again between paper towels.

That finished out, I played with options, and decided to put holes along the inside of the brim and the bottom edge of the main body first. Then I riveted the main body piece. I went with the double row of rivets for purely aesthetic reasons. Stitching or even a single row of rivets would have worked just as well.

To stitch the brim in place, I wet down the inside edge of it and then flared it up a little before stitching to get it to sit more how I wanted. From there, I could wet the brim itself and play with shaping until I found the brim shape I was after. Which I actually found rather quickly after first toying.

The top was originally going to have an amount of flare, but once I hit this point, I actually changed my mind and cut back the top piece and re-dyed the edges. I still had to stretch the top just a little to make things sit how I wanted, but the effect on the shaping is very subtle.

I actually stitched the top twice. Once while wet for stretching, then pulled it out and re-stitched to get it tight and perfect.

From there, I used a block out sealing layer. This didn't change the dye much, which is what I was after.

The hat band piece I also did myself. It currently isn't attached quite how I intend to really have it, but I have not finished the hat pin I want to do. By which I mean, I haven't quite figured out what exactly I want for it. For the time being, I am just using a pin to hold the hat band in place. I intend to keep it removable, so that I can swap in alternate hat bands easily if I ever want to change things up a little. Probably I will add some little hook catches for that purpose.

The band itself is some awesome fabric I found at a shop in Hawaii. (Yes, I went to a fabric store while on vacation on a tropical island.) I cut the strip and wrapped it around a semi-heavy bit of craft fuse stuff. I ironed it in place, then stitched the back edge by hand. I also folded over the one end and stitched that to give it a little nicer of an end piece.

And here are the photos.


Tom Banwell said...

Looking good! How'd you get that mottled coloration?

Olorle said...

I daubed on the dye in circles and didn't worry about re-wetting the dauber with dye quite as often as I might have. So it ended up with some areas taking a lot less dye then others.

Gypsy said...

And you look mighty fine IN it too! :) Great job.
When I was reading your post in the forum about the hat pin, in my Red Bull delirium, (13 days into a mural job with a deadline in the morning and a wet painting on the wall), I read pin cushion.

It clearly said hat pin, but I read pin cushion, and in doing so, I pictured the top of your hat padded with foam and velvet and giant steampunk hatpins stuck all over it! lol
I love my Red Bull deliriums :)
I also love your hat.~ Gypsy

Nagi said...

Wow. It looks seriously, seriously awesome. I see the stuff you make and go nuts admiring your talent. And you look fabulous wearing it.

ArtSnark said...

Great hat - lovin the blog too

. c h o k l i t . said...

Excellent work, and it looks great on you!!

I go into fabric stores on my vacations, too... ;-)

Michael Mirth said...

I have been on a quest to find a snakeskin leather top hat. . .Would you consider making another?
Michael Mirth

Olorle said...

Totally consider doing another.

Olorle said...

Also, I could have happily stuffed my suitcases with fabric at that store... it was a happy happy place...