The Beret

It’s really not so period, as far as I know, but just for yuks….
Here’s a two piece Beret pattern. Hey, a hat you can wear in your modern life too? Weird. (This is a great project if you’re into felting old wool sweaters, btw, or making art felt. I’m that freak who goes through resale shops looking for sweaters marked ‘Dry Clean Only’ so I can chuck them into the wash and see if art comes out. ;) ) The following instructions assume that you have already made your Basic Brim Pattern. If you have not, you’ll want to follow the link and do so.

Note: These directions do not teach a modern Milliery approach
to hat-making. I’ve completely eliminated the use of standard hat sizes and head-size ovals, because I’m assuming that most of the people reading this are *not* trying to set up a hat-making shop. The method I’ve worked out below works, but doesn not produce standardized patterns sizes unless you are one of the lucky few who actually possesses a standard size head.

The Two-Piece Crown

The Two-Piece Crown will actually be the easiest pattern to make, because you already have the pattern.

You will need your Basic Brim with Seam Allowances, and a piece of fabric large enough to lie it out twice. For these directions, you will also need some double fold bias tape (1/2″), a sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, and all that junque.

Lay out the pattern on a double thickness of fabric. You’ll want the right sides together.

Transfer the pattern to your fabric, marking Sides and Front/Back. Pin the layers together inside the brim.

Cut the brim out, but leave the middle intact. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Sew around the edge of the brim, about 1/4″ in from the edge of the oval. Sew slowly and gently, without tugging on the brim. You don’t want to stretch or distort it.

Sew again, at the normal seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance back so that it’s quite close to the outermost line of stitches, without cutting them. This gives you a reasonably good finish inside the hat.

Now, holding the side of your fabric with the center oval marked on it, pinch the center of the oval and pull away the other layer of fabric. From the side, you get something that looks a little like a UFO. Make a small clip in the center of the oval, being careful to cut only though the one layer of fabric. You want to leave the other side intact.

Remove the central oval from the marked side along the pattern line.

Remove the pins and turn the hat. Smooth the seam allowances so you get a neat oval. If you’re inclined to use irons and/or using an iron-able fabric, now’s the time to do that.

Now, you have to make a choice. If you want your hat lined, repeat the same steps with your lining fabric but do not turn in. Instead, place the lining inside the hat, making sure to line up Side and Front/Back marks. Treat the hat and lining as if they were a single piece in the following steps.

We will be using 1/2″ wide double fold bias tape to finish the inside edge of the crown, where it meets the brim around the head. Position the crown right side up under the foot at your standard seam allowance (1/2″, unless you have modified the pattern). Lie the bias tape over the crown, facing away from the seam allowance and with folded edges facing up. Using your finger, press open the edge of the bias tape that touches the seam allowance line. Sew carefully in the fold of the bias tape, making sure you stay on your seam allowance line, all around the crown opening. (Yes, it sounds like you need an extra
hand an possibly a few more eyes for this. It’s possible, and you get used to doing it after a while.) You can use pins for this if you like. I don’t, but I do this a lot.

Note: You’ll probably want to use a bias tape that matches your fabric. I’m using a contrast so you can see it better in the pictures.

Use your fingers to press the bias tape towards the seam allowance. You should end up with something that looks like the picture. If that’s what you have, go ahead and trim the seam allowance back to about 1/8″. Do not cut the bias tape, just the seam allowance.

Now, fold your bias tape over to the inside of the crown, and sew it around the edge. This seals the bottom of the crown and makes
it look nice.

Note: You can do this with the bias tape up where you can see it. When I was doing this, I had thread that matched my fabric in the needle, and red in the bobbin, so I sewed from the top to get the
right color thread onto the right colored side of the seam. You don’t have to do that; it was just my hyphen showing again.

The finished two piece crown, seen from the bottom.

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