Top hat Fasinator made from my pattern

A reader, Elizabeth, took my top hat pattern and made such a cute little hat! Clap! Love the contrast of the blue & red.

close up

Sewing Class at the crucible

I have three more spots left in my crash course sewing class at the crucible.  Aug 31, evening 6-10.  Come join me!  I’ll be teaching how to make a tote bag and how to use your machine.

Asymmetric Mini Tophat Fascinator Tutorial

I was asked to officiate/MC at a circus themed wedding, so I thought it would be fun to wear a tophat, kind of like the ringmaster. After trying on a few tophats in a store, I decided I was better off with a tophat fascinator.  I have a funny face and large head, which results in me looking like a freak of nature in hats most of the time, trust me.  Anyway, etsy searches turned up ones that I fell in love with,  but they were pricey at $96!.   So of course I decided to make my own, and thought I would share the pattern.

NOTE:  this pattern/tut is for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  Please do not sell tophats you make from this pattern. I took my idea from someone who is selling it, we should at least show her some respect by not competing with her.

Okay, that aside, the whole thing is pretty easy once I figured out a pattern.  You can download the pattern here.

You will need:

  • Pattern
  • Thin cardboard.  I used a cereal box, but a tissue or shoe box would work equally well.
  • Fabric to cover your hat.  I like damask, but you can use any thick wovens, upholstery fabric would work well here.  If the fabric is too thin, your glue will show through.
  • Hot glue/glue gun
  • Glue for gluing your fabric to the cardboard.  I used modge podge because I was too lazy to dig in the garage for my fabric glue, but that would work well also.
  • Trim
  • Elastic, preferably in a color that blends with your hair.  I used 1/4 inch, although I think next time I might go thinner since my ears hurt after wearing it for a while.
  • Feathers/other decorations.

Note on the trim, it will work best if you select something that folds easily in half widthwise.   This is the one I used.


1.  Print out pattern.  I scanned it in on regular letter sized paper, so if you print it out that size, it should work.  I need to add a size marker to the patterns next time.  Notice that pattern pieces are labeled A, B and C.

2.  Transfer the pattern markings to cardboard.  Piece A & C can go any direction.  Piece B should be placed with the writing “this side top” on top.  Meaning, don’t flip the pattern piece over so the writing on the pattern is face down when you trace it.  You should trace 1 copy of each piece.

3.  Cut out your cardboard pieces.  Score the lines on the cardboard where indicated, fold up the little tabs on piece A and C, and also the solid tab on piece B. The little tabs gives the pieces a place to attach to each other.

4.  Mold your pieces. I found it was helpful to premold the cardboard a little before attaching the fabric to it.  It caused less wrinkles in the fabric.  I wet each piece quickly under a running facet and just molded it a bit with my hand into the desired final shape.  I taped things temporarily with painters tape and waited until the pieces dried completely.  This is important, otherwise as you try to glue all the pieces together, they can disintegrate.

5.  While the cardboard pieces are drying, you can cut out the fabric.  You will need 1 of piece A, without the tabs.  1 of piece B without the solid tab.  You will need 2 of piece C, 1 with the center circle and tabs removed, and 1 with the center circle not removed.  Put aside the fabric with center circle not removed for now.

6.  Glue the fabric to cardboard pieces. Be careful to not get the glue on the outside of your fabric. Wait till everything dries.

7.  Hot glue the solid tab of piece B to itself.

8.  Carefully mold piece A into piece B, hot glueing the tabs to the inside (non-fabric side) of piece B.  This is by far the hardest step, and where it really helps if you molded your pieces in step 4.  The fit does not have to be perfect, as we will cover up most of the mistakes with trim later.

9.  Attach piece C to the bottom of piece B, hot glueing the tabs to the inside of piece B.  See, it’s starting to look like a hat!

10.  Now we are going to work on the part that attaches to your head.  I have seen people just attach fascinators with just combs and pins, but having slippery Asian hair I knew that was not going to work for me, so I decided to go with elastic.  Cut a piece of elastic that is long enough to go around your face, starting at where you want the fascinator to rest, and then tucking behind one ear, your chin, the other ear and back up on your head again.  Add a little extra for the knots we will have make.

11. Take the piece of fabric you put aside in step 5, eyeball where the center circle is roughly.  Make two small incisions inside the center circle for the elastic to go through.

12. Feed each end of the elastic through the incisions.

13. Cut out two small pieces of cardboard, and feed the ends of your elastic through that and knot it so it won’t slip out.  I added in these pieces of cardboard because the point where the elastic attaches to the hat will suffer a lot stress since it’s stretched around the head.  So larger surface area is needed for the glue to get a firm grip, otherwise you would just be gluing the knotted ends of the elastic to the hat.

14.  Matching the poistion of the fabric to the position of the hat, (basically make sure the pointed end of the fabric is matched with the pointed end of the hat) hot glue the elastic and cardboard inside piece B.

15.  Once the hot glue has dried, try out the whole contraption on your head.  Make sure the elastic is secure enough as you really would rather fix it now than once you have done all the other steps.

16.  With the fabric glue or modge podge, glue the fabric onto the bottom of the hat.

17.  Now we will hide the icki areas with trim.  If you selected the same type of trim as I have, you will see it’s quite easy to match the midpoint of the trim to the seams of the hat, therefore ensuring equal coverage on both sides of seam.  I started by hotgluing the trim from the back of the hat, around and down.  Follow the magenta arrow!  At the end, tuck the loose ends of the trim under itself.  Do the same for the brim of the hat.

18.  Yay, time for decorating.  I used goose biot sword feathers, rooster tail feathers and a little robot I had laying around.  Remember, in general things look better in odd numbers.

Something Exciting is Brewing!!

can you guess what?? Hint, you’ll be sewing in it soon!!

Never Say No To Panda!

This was so made for this site!!

Free Patterns in the month of Sept

Wow, the russian site leko is giving away all their patterns for free for the month of sept.   Granted, it’s only for 2 sizes (they say they are equivalent to burda 42 and 44, so us sizes 10 & 12) .  But for the awesome price of free, I am willing to alter.   It’s also fun to just see how certain pattern pieces are drafted too.

This is their website

I am especially interested in this coat.

Crocheted Viking Hat

Another super cute hat courtesy of etsy.

shark hat/balaclava

shark attack

shark attack

Is this not the cutest hat/balaclava ever? Since I am still too sleep deprived to make anything for mr. toby, I’ve been purchasing things off of etsy instead. The gal who makes this has a bunch of other ones in her shop, but this one was definitely most our style. As you can see, it’s a little bit big on him since it’s meant for a 9 month old, but it’s still super cute!

On the sleep thing, we are starting to see the light at the end of tunnel. We’ve gotten him off of the pacifier and night feedings, and the nap schedules are starting to go longer, closer to 2 hours instead of the 30 mins. Last night he went from 7 – 11PM, did an 11PM dreamfeed and then went until 5AM. After which he hung out in his crib by himself for an hour without crying (I know because I laid awake in the bed next to him waiting for him to go back to sleep). Yay for no cry it out sleep training. If you ever have a sleepless baby, I highly highly recommend the baby whisper book.

Adding Sleeves To A Onesie

I’ve gotten a few emails asking me where I got the onesie with the alternate color sleeves in the Toby turns zero post.

Well, guess what? I made that. Not the whole thing of course, I’m just a tad too busy for that. I had purchased all these short sleeve onesies for my baby shower, but it’s still a bit cold for Toby to be laying around in short sleeves. So I decided to add some sleeves to them, it’s super easy.

Want to see how?

1. Determine roughly how long and how wide you want your sleeve. Cut a piece of fabric twice the width and the length plus 1 inch. With the right side of the fabric facing each other, sew down the long side. Flip one of the widthwise raw edges over and sew that down. I did this with a combo of a serger and a sewing machine, but you can really even do this by hand since there is so little sewing.

2. With the sleeve still inside out and matching the cut edge with the edge of the onesie sleeves, feed the sleeve through the neckhole of the onsie.

3. Match up the cut edge of the sleeve with the edge of the onesie sleeve and sew it down.

4. Trim threads and flip the sleeve inside out. Yay, you have a onesie with one long sleeve! Now, you can leave it like that for the one armed 80’s look or repeat this on the other sleeve.

Baby Shower Idea

Just a quick idea about a fun baby shower activity. For my baby shower, I got a bunch of onesies, some fabric markers and paint. I set out a drying line, and a table filled with all the decorating supplies. Then, to give a hint of what to do, I decorated one of the onesies and hung it up before the guests showed up. Everyone gravitated towards this table, kids and adults!

I got some super cute ones and some super “wrong” ones. These are my friends after all. :)

As a side note, I found the fabric markers to work better than the fabric paint. Even though the colors are not as vibrant, it stayed smooth on the shirt, where as the fabric paint dried up super clumpy and rough. It was harder to put those next to baby skin and it also took much longer to dry.