Pillbox Hat Present

by A.J.A. on December 17, 2010 · 12 comments

in 1960s,Accessories,Hats

You’ll have to forgive me- I didn’t do my hair or pose for a proper photo, but here is the pillbox hat I made from Simplicity 4178. It is red silk (reclaimed from a skirt), and the trim around the bottom is vintage and from my late grandmother’s stash. I made this as a Christmas gift for a family member who will be attending a formal party in January. As I was getting ready to leave the house the other day in this frigid weather we have had lately, I realized that I do not have anything but fleece hats. Well, now the recipient has a more formal hat to go with her get up, which she has not chosen yet.
The hat is finished with lining and a grosgrain ribbon. I also attached a “Merry Christmas” tag
The hat was really pretty easy to sew, although you have to be careful because 4178 is a one size pattern. I thought the hat seemed a bit small for my head, but I have a pretty big head, to be honest. Also, it depends on whether you favor the large pillbox styles or the small style that is simply perched upon the head. I favor anything that makes my head look a bit smaller, however, the recipient does not have a big head like I do, so I think it will be a very good fit. I would like to make this pattern again for myself, but I will probably increase the hat size a bit. 
My other project that I have been working on is a button down blouse from the sixties, and I am almost done. My problem is that my machine makes a pretty lousy buttonhole (could be operator error, but I have practiced a lot), and I can’t bring myself to chew up the front of the blouse with it. I would like to get an auto/one step buttonholer to use with my machine, which is a newish, basic model Brother. Can I attach a Singer buttonholer? I also have a Singer 66 I could use- are the green case buttonholers for use with straight stitch? I see tons of vintage buttonholers on eBay, but I am scared that I will buy the wrong thing, as I have already done that once. Do any of you have any tips or recommendations? Thanks in advance for your help!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lizzy December 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Nice pattern!

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petalrose December 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

What a great example of reclaiming old fabric and lace to make a fabulous new hat, well done! I share your pain with the buttonhole dilemma, but unfortunately can't offer any suggestions,hopefully another Sew Retro reader can solve your problem…..

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Anonymous December 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Didn't someone post something recently about handmade button holes? They weren't as difficult as I thought. Maybe that would work.

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A.J.A. December 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Thanks ladies!
I searched "buttonhole" and saw something from July about bound buttonholes, but that's it. Anyway, I would love to learn how to handwork buttonholes in the future, but right now I have a nine month old and am currently sewing on borrowed time :) I try to be thorough and take the time to learn, but I have been working on this blouse piecemeal for a couple weeks. I need a fast, pretty buttonhole for now. Thanks for the suggestion though! I am looking at the green box Singer buttonholer on eBay. Does anyone have and use that one?

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artdecodiamonds December 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I just love your retro sites and the pics… really nice!

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H Preston Brown December 18, 2010 at 10:35 am

Part one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4BeICk2DPQ

Part Two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV6f1zntTBE

What machine(s) do you have? Slant-, low straight- or high straight-shank?

The one on Brian's LEFT (viewer's RIGHT) in the video is a Greist design, also produced by Singer. I have 3 of the Singer models of this one and would happily part with one as a holiday gift for you – but IF and ONLY IF it will function on your machine :-)

I sew and repair sewing machines and sergers, and suspect that the built-in buttonholer in your machine might just need an adjustment to get it producing better results ;-)

I am hprestonbrown at hotmail dot com. Please contact me there, and we can talk more to determine the best thing for you.

URL associated with my name is my facebook page. You may also try to contact me there, but I keep my privacy settings pretty strict so you may or may not be successful.

good luck, and I hope to communicate with you soon! :-)

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H Preston Brown December 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

Part one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4BeICk2DPQ

Part Two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV6f1zntTBE

What machine(s) do you have? Slant-, low straight- or high straight-shank?

The one on Brian's LEFT (viewer's RIGHT) in the video is a Greist design, also produced by Singer. I have 3 of the Singer models of this one and would happily part with one as a holiday gift for you – but IF and ONLY IF it will function on your machine :-)

I sew and repair sewing machines and sergers, and suspect that the built-in buttonholer in your machine might just need an adjustment to get it producing better results ;-)

I am hprestonbrown at hotmail dot com. Please contact me there, and we can talk more to determine the best thing for you.

URL associated with my name is my facebook page. You may also try to contact me there, but I keep my privacy settings pretty strict so you may or may not be successful.

good luck, and I hope to communicate with you soon! :-)

Reply

Anonymous December 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm
A.J.A. December 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

H Preston Brown, I thank you so much! It was very kind of you to offer a buttonholer- call me impatient, I bought one last night on eBay. It is the green case (capsule like) Singer, and I expect it to arrive quickly. I hope this will do the trick, although I might hit you up for your expertise if it doesn't. Thanks again!

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H Preston Brown December 19, 2010 at 3:04 am

GOOD!!! and furthermore, WHEW!!
Your singer 66 is a STRAIGHT (vertical) SHANK, and the green case one should work fine. The ones in the maroon case (of which I have three) are for SLANT shank machines (I did a little homework today )
Please be sure to review the videos I linked in my prior post, and know that on your NON-ZIG-ZAG Singer 66, the zig-zag motion is achieved within the attachment by moving the fabric side-to-side as it also follows the path of the template, so you must take care not to hold the material stationary; lower, and/or cover the feed dogs and set stitch length on the machine to 0 to allow it to do its job properly.

When it arrives, it should have the user manual, the attachment, and in the front of the case should be receptacles for a mounting thumbscrew and 4 templates with a 5th one inside the attachment and a feed dog cover in the bottom. It is not uncommon also for the big white advancement knob on top to be broken off (plastic gets brittle with age). NOT TO WORRY – I can get one or turn you on to a supplier for this if need be.

I'd actually prefer to see you be able to use the built-in one on your other machine – what model number is it? I'm thinking there MUST be an adjustment that can be made easily, and would *really* like to try to help you with that. This way you'll have both options available.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages – built-in machine buttonholes are great for standard buttonholes without the cumbersome attachments, but most machines (except some of the newer ones) can't make a keyhole, which is where the attachments are the obvious choice :-)

I was talking to my Grandmother about this today (she no longer sews) but she said she hated the attachments. And having no automatic one built-in on her machine, she just made them manually with only the machine's zig-zag! I was absolutely floored when she showed me garments she'd made this way!

God bless you and happy sewing!

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H Preston Brown December 19, 2010 at 3:22 am

PS – one more helpful hint – for the attachment to fit properly in the box, turn the manual advance knob until the foot is fully retracted. This will allow it to sit as low as possible in the case and avoid breaking the knob should one attempt to close the lid with the attachment too high in the case. ;-)

Reply

Atomic Mum December 19, 2010 at 4:44 am

Your hat is lovely. I am planing on making one in the new year but from a different pattern. I really must do it now I've seen how Lovely your's looks.

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