Learning something and mastering it are two vastly different things. I'm on my way to mastering the 6 panel ball cap and I'd like to share my process.
Whether, dad hat or a snap back it's still a 6 panel.
"A baseball cap is a type of soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff peak projecting in front...The front of the cap typically contains designs or logos of sports teams... The back of the cap may be "fitted" to the wearer's head size or it may have a plastic, Velcro, elastic or zipper strip adjuster so that it can be quickly adjusted to fit different wearers. The baseball cap is a part of the traditional baseball uniform worn by players, with the brim pointing forward to shield the eyes from the sun. Since the 1980s varieties of the cap have become a common fashion accessory, particularly in the United States... In 1860, the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the ancestor of the modern rounded-top baseball cap, which featured a long peak and a button on top, and by 1900, the "Brooklyn style" cap became popular" [ wikipedia.com ]
In my process of mastering the 6 panel cap, I have found my style to be a low profile hat with very little structure similar to the original style. I started with the 5 panel, camper style hat years ago. In recent months, I have moved to making the 6 panel which is typically more challenging then its 5 panel counterpart. Follow this link to a chart of the different styles and components to various hat styles: sport-smart.com/pages/baseball-hat-features
I have experimented with constructing hats from a wide variety of fabrications. Some discovered in countries around the world and many found in my studio such as: nylon, cotton, leather, wools and silks in all weights. Experimentation is the focus here. Some fabrics were the ideal weight and stiffness that resulted in the perfect hat. While, others fabrics have veered far from perfect. Through this trial and error process, I have learned to adapt specific techniques within the process. In turn, teaching me to make a quality product no matter the fabric's characteristics. Wool and silk proving to be my favorite thus far. Silk is very difficult due to the thin weight, however, the slick look and smooth hand make it well worth while. Mid weight wools are the ideal textile, in my opinion.
Challenges in my process:
1. The pattern is soooo important, if the pattern is off the cap will look lopsided and be ill-fitted.
2. When sewing the seam tape you need not stress and or pull hard. This will also create a lopsided cap.
3. Bubbles in the visor. Pull the fabric/leather taut when sewing to decrease any flaws.
4. The sweatband is sewn very unconventionally (let me know if you have any questions with this.)
5. Sewing the bill to the cap. This is very difficult without the right machine. I now have an ancient Singer walking foot machine with a post for easy stitching around the shape of inner bill.
I have made almost thirty hats at this point, many of them far from perfect. Finally, my twentieth hat was something to be proud of. I perfected the pattern to fit just right. Aiming for a truly old school hat, similar to the original Brooklyn hat with a modern wide brim style.
My hat patterns have a raised shape on the top crown that edges to the center. I use a lot of skins and waxed cottons to cover the brims. Textiles with a slight stretch are best. I try to cover the top button with the same material as the brim and back strap. The seam tape is always different but I'm finding that suit liners are good because they presses/irons well. Always use a lightweight fabric for the seam tape or it will be bulky and possibly lopsided. Use a lightweight cotton for the head/sweatband without too much dye. If it has too much dye, the color may run when sweating. One of my signature details is embroidering a message on the sweatband before sewing into cap.
I plan on continuing to experiment with different methods in crafting and finishings. I will be fascinated playing with different textiles and materials. For winter, maybe I'll make a shearling or fur hat. For summer, I was thinking about an old Vietnam era mesh net with a brown leather brim.
Check out some of my faves...
It was a brisk evening in early November and the streets of Rome lead to churches and ancient ruins. I just left the Vatican, which holds the largest collection of art in the world, and only had one more box to check off my list of things to do. Fabric shopping at Bassetti Tessutii-the famous fabric store in Rome.
I found out about the store a few weeks before leaving for my trip. In a book, I suggest everyone within the fashion industry own, Fashionpedia by Fashionary. It touches on every single topic within the fashion world. On page 294, there is a map of all well-known fabric sources around the world and I was lucky enough to be near one in Rome.
I took a cab from the Vatican and the driver dropped me off in some random location where I still had to walk another 5 blocks. Finally made it, but I couldn't tell if the address was correct. To my surprise, the street level part of the store was home decor goods. Once my confidence was high enough to walk in and explore, I was told to head upstairs. When I got to the second floor (in Italy and most of Europe it is called the first floor), I was a bit concerned.
It wasn't what I expected at first but I quickly realized how cool the place was. There was wall to wall fabric, 12-15 foot (or 5 meters) walls with every fabric type you could ever want. I walked the whole flat and was overwhelmed because I knew I was buying something and now I had to make a decision. I was a kid in a candy store and found that the wool suitings was my chocolate section.
Italians take pride in their fashion, so I had to kind of work my way into their queue and stay there. I only found one man that was well-versed in English and he was my guy. He took me to back rooms to check out cotton for overcoats and wools that were not out yet.
After about an hour or so of touching and designing in my head, I collected and chose my purchases. It was high quality and not cheap. The least expensive fabric was 25 euros a meter and the most expensive was 45 euros a meter.
I spent 414,16 in euros which is about $493 US dollars. I am happy with the opportunity to travel and visit places that I am so passionate about. These travels help me grow as a professional designer and as an individual.
Keep an eye out for what I make with these high quality and beautiful fabrics. More to come!
Felt Creatures Sewing Workshop
Close your eyes and imagine....It's nearly 12:30pm and class started at 11am. I am all set up at Sol Collective on 24 St near Broadway in Sacramento. There are five tables set up in the shape of a Cyclops smiley face. The fabric is laid out neatly at first, but we all know that isn't going to last long. This is an important step in the creative process, a lesson in fabrication and color theory. Spin around and pre-made patterns, inspired by the '90s cartoon Aww! Real Monsters, are available to provide a starting off point for the young artists. Pattern paper is also available for the adventurous ones to draft their own creations. Chalking and cutting station is next; age-appropriate scissors are available sprinkled with fabric chalk pieces just big enough to fit their little hands. Then comes the most time consuming and arguably most fun station, the station for decorating and hand-sewing materials together. We are all set up, let's go!
First, a young girl walks through the door. She is shy at first but is intrigued by the piles of stuffing, roles of fabric and variety of buttons strewn about. More are arriving, three more kids show up. Before you know it, they are instantly elbows deep in creation-cutting strips of fabric, threading needles and hot glueing eyes on. More kids trickle in and before you know it, the workshop is in full swing and at capacity! With fabric flying and scissors being passed back and forth, chaos swirls around the work space sprinkled with laughter and personified stories of wild characters.
To my surprise, all of the kids are patient with us adults. Sharing and cooperation are in practice. Aside from some minor frustrations, of needles running out of thread or uneven pattern cutting, everyone is energetic and deep in the creative process. Two young artists stand out from the crowd, a set of twins - brother and sister. It is astonishing to witness such extreme learning styles and creative approaches. Olivia, the sister, is quiet and focused. She's fast and listens very well. She wants to compliment her Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired room, and chooses a cream textured fabric and sticks to a modestly-sized, traditional, rectangular-shape pillow. She sews quickly and forgoes any embellishments. Her brother, Oliver, on the other hand...He picks up the raw pattern paper and begins sketching his own creature. Before long, a dinosaur bunny pattern emerges. His imagination is running wild with excitement and possibility. He races from one table to the next, unaware and unconcerned with anyone in his path. His mother reins him in and keeps him focused. Two hours later, his masterpiece- a dinosaur bunny with a cape, sewn on buttoned shirt and mismatching eyes is alive.
All hands are on deck, every adult in the house is diving in and facilitating. Music is blaring. Photos are being snapped. Videos being filmed. Social posts going live. Needless to say, this is quite the adventure on a Saturday afternoon. I aim to inspire the next generation in my craft. And am so happy to see young and old(er) coming together to create. Stay tuned for much more to come from collabs with Sol Collective and my youth engagement efforts.
In case you don't know, Sol Collective’s vision is to create a safe, creative space for the next generation and leave a legacy of arts, culture, and activism both locally and globally by serving as an incubator for community artists, organizations, and programs. Check out their variety of workshops all year long - Solcollective.org
This first collaboration between Tusk & Cardinal and Samuel Rose is a perfect mix. Lindsey of Tusk & Cardinal creates works of art on fabric and her medium is thread, tool is a hand needle. She is a fiber artists and hand embroidery is her forte. All the pieces are cut and sewed by Samuel Rose in his classic linens and random finds.
The construction is fine and the embroidery is finer.
Beauty emerges from the tiniest of places with the smallest details. T&C and Samuel didn't need to talk much about the initial designs, they just came naturally. The wolf on the grey linen hat, rabbit on green silk and the cactus on dull shades of pinks and green twill all have something natural exploding out of themselves.
Flowers, birds, plants + animals.
Linen, waxed cotton, twill + leather.
1 grey linen 5 panel camper cap with hand embroidered wolf
1 dark green linen 5 panel camper hat with hand embroidered rabbit
1 south western print 6 panel baseball cap with hand embroidered cactus
1 white cotton women's caftan with flower embroidered into the sholder
One day my friend Ali rings the bell and lugs a large Kaleen on the table. He says it's made of cactus silk and shows me the details, which are lovely and unique. He asked what I could make and I told him I would start with a duffel. We recorded our first footage for a series I am working on where I film encounters similar to this one.
However beautiful this rug would have dressed any floor we wanted to make something else from it. Ali has a store where he sales vintage and new (all authentic and handmade) Moroccan rugs. There are many types of Moroccan rugs but this particular type, a kaleem, is a great thickness and texture for baggage. Its both durable and beautiful. The main color is a light brown dirt color that looks silver in some lights. There are lines of different shades of yellow, a little orange and some teals.
This first set is just the start of some fun projects ahead.
Let me know what you think of the set and contact me if you are interested in any custom baggage and other carry items for yourself.