While the goal of these challenges is to make accessories for costumes — historical, science-fiction, fantasy, whatever — this first challenge of “hats” hits close to home for me. See, I’m starting chemotherapy at the end of August to treat breast cancer. As most people know, a major side effect of chemo is hair loss. Thus, I’ll need additional head coverings pretty soon, & I’ve been researching some new types of hats (& wigs, but that’s for another challenge later ;-).
A couple things I’ve found that will effect my hat needs: (1) without hair, your hat size may be smaller than it used to be (tho’ I measured my head with my hair up & found I’m still a very average 22″ around — it’s more the hat depth/height that is effected by not having hair — you lose height), & (2) chemo can make the scalp tender, so soft fabrics & natural fibers are best, (3) some women find wearing a cap to sleep in is more comfortable. This means I’ll need a variety of hats & caps in some different shapes than I usually wear. Also, since chemo is happening in fall, I’ll have lost my hair by winter, meaning cold will be an issue.
The article How to Select the Best Cancer Hat is a good overview & suggests several practical hat types. I particularly like the one suggested as a sleep cap — it looks like ye olde renfaire muffin cap! I’d love one of those in a soft, washable stretch velvet to wear everyday. Here’s a snood pattern that’s similar, altho’ not quite the same as I used to make in my college days at faire (the pix do show how it looks great in velvet).
HeadHuggers has a big list of patterns, tho’ many are for knitted & crocheted hats, which aren’t really my style. It does have this sewn toque pattern that would be nice made up in either a dark solid or a print, & worn with a flower pin or sparkly brooch added (& I have plenty of those).
I’ve always loved berets, so this beret pattern looks like a winner. Could be trimmed in a million different ways, either sewn-on or with pinned-on stuff. Here’s another beret pattern, made from an old shirt (yay, recycling!).
The cloche style would work well too, & here’s a free pattern that looks useful. I’ve only worn cloches with 1920s costumes, but I’m willing to give one a try again.
This vintagey patternless pattern uses contrast stitching (is that serging? can’t tell) for a good effect. Fleece doesn’t usually look so stylish.
HGTV.com has vague instructions for what looks like a very lovely hat. I’d line it with something softer than the recommended silk taffeta tho.
Everyone suggests scarves, but tying them smacks of effort. And really, what screams “CANCER PATIENT!” more than a scarf tied tight around a woman’s head with no hair peeking out? Same goes for those do-rags & buffs & similar things. Bald may be beautiful, but hats & wigs are much prettier. I’m gonna accessorize the hell out of this disease, thankyouverymuch 🙂
Which leads me to the standard turban, which may look too chemo-y. Unless it can be styled up like a Regency turban — especially with the right fabric. The great thing about these hats — & really, most hats — is they don’t require much fabric at all, so you can use a scrap of something fancy, expensive, weird, wild, or whatever, just to experiment. If it turns out awful, no big deal, that wasn’t much of a waste.
Ok, how about some fun hats? Why should this be serious? I’d love a kitty hat (this one’s made from a cut-up sweater, love that recycling!). However, I may just have to buy a Grumpy Cat version too. PollyWriggle on DeviantArt has a good tutorial for making a fleece cap with ears that could be a cat or any animal depending on the trim. For that matter, this simple beanie pattern (PDF) could be jazzed up with cat ears, devil horns, bat wings, or the like. Or made in skull-print fleece at the very least. Martha Stewart shows a basic fleece cap easily styled with little ears or into a crown too. And I may just need a fleece Mohawk (this Etsy seller has a similar one in custom-colors). We can punk that up!
I don’t know how many hats I can make myself — I’ll need them starting September & all the way thru next year — so if anyone wants to join me in an online or local stitch ‘n bitch to make a few, please let me know 🙂