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Dreaming of Spring

I found this wonderful vintage rolled-brim felt hat with a built-in scarf in an old musty antique shop a couple of years ago, and it just occurred to me that I've never shared the instructions with you for its transformation!

I loved the style and the color, and knew immediately that the structure of the hat would stand up to a lot of altering! Sifting through my collection of vintage buttons and jewelry showed me just what direction to go with this hat. The name, Dreaming of Spring came to me before the hat was completed. I filled the brim, but still something was missing. The final piece was still sitting on my work table: a small vintage bee pin. Obviously, the bee was to be the focal point, the one who was "dreaming of spring"!

Now as cold weather approaches, I can wear this hat with the promise that spring will one day return to New England.

Materials and tools:
Vintage hat
Buttons, beads, seed beads, and vintage jewelry
Black nymo thread, size O
Beading needles
Fabric glue

1. Consider carefully the structure of the hat you choose. I was attracted to this rolled-brim style because there would be no need to line the inside after finishing the sewing: the style itself hides all the loose ends. I also looked for a hat with the structural integrity that could stand up to the weight of the embellishments I wanted to add.

2. Gather together all of the embellishments from your stash of button, beads, and jewelry (broken or whole) that you think you might want to use. Choose a theme or a color palette to unify your choices. Although I chose a solid colored hat, multi-colored would be a lot of fun to work with too. The color of my hat led me to develop a springtime theme in a monochromatic palette, with gold-toned accents.

3. Stitch shank-style buttons around the top of the brim, using nymo beading thread.

4. Stitch or pin your major focal pieces into place around the face of the brim. I used some larger vintage pins to divide up the surface.

5. Stitch buttons and beads in a pleasing pattern between the larger focal pieces. Use size 8 or 11 seed beads to decorate the threads holding the buttons. Take an extra anchoring stitch or two before and after stitching on each new piece.

6. After all your buttons and larger beads are attached, go back and “fill in” each large gap with a size 8 seed bead. I used bronze iris beads to add just a hint of extra color.

7. Use a small dab of fabric glue on each knot on the inside of the hat. If you’ve used a roll-brim hat like mine, there will be no need to line it, but if you’ve chosen a different style, consider adding a lining fabric to protect your hair from getting tangled in the underside of the stitches.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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