Friday, January 25, 2013

Leather Top Hat: Stage 3

Alright, this is the stage where it actually looks like something resembling a hat. Well, I guess it looked like a hat last time, but it looked like an inside out hat that wasn't actually attached together. So now that I've punched all 600 and some holes I can flip it inside out and sew it together.

Sewing the top on.

Outside view.

Halfway around.

Done! Goofy looking, but done.

Soaking to soften up so I can flip it right side out.
I undid the back seam stitching to make it easier to flip.

Flipped and drying.

Stitching the back up again.

Stitching the brim on. The crown goes in between the two brim pieces.
It's very important not to miss any holes.

The second pass around gives it a solid stitch line.


I actually have a couple more inches to stitch, but my thread ran short. So once I finish that I can wet-form the brim, glue it together (or vice verse, I haven't decided which order to go in yet), and stain it. Then I can add embellishments or call it done. I'm legitimately surprised at how quickly this has gone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Leather Top Hat: Stage 2

So now that I have the pieces cut out I can move on to the next stage of my leather top hat. Assembly!

I started marking holes for stitching with my handy dandy, uh, hole marker,
or stitch marker, or whatever.

Started punching holes. I've been counting the holes because I have to match them up.
All told there's about 600 holes to punch. I've done about 300 so far.

Stitched up the crown. The crown and top have to be sewn together
inside out and then flipped back right side out.

Checking the fit. I did this at pretty much every stage so
I wouldn't get way into it and then realize it didn't fit.

This is my make-shift compass so I could cut a circle for the top.

I cut the top out of the oval that I would be cutting out of the brim so there was less waste

Pulled the brim down over the crown to test the fit. It didn't fit the first time
so I cut the hole a little bigger until it fit. I'd rather have to widen the hole
three times and it fit then widen it once and it's too big.

All of the holes marked and ready to be punched.

Another test fit. I might end up trimming a lot of the width off the brim
but I'd rather have it too big and trim it down then have it be too small.

Everything seems to be going well so far. My to do list is now:
-Punch remaining holes in brim and both crown halves
-Stitch top to crown
-Flip right side out
-Stitch brim to crown
-Glue brim halves together
-Wet form the brim to the correct shape
-Stain and seal

I think that's it. There will probably be numerous tweaks as I go along so who knows whether or not that list will remain accurate.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Beginnings: A Top Hat (WIP)

Alright, I am making a leather top hat.

Or at least I'm making a variation of a top hat. I'm aiming for something that I would term a "stylized coachman's hat" and if you look up coachman's hat and are unsure of what I mean, I mean more like the tall one rather than the short one. I have to say that this might be turning out to be one of my more ambitious projects. Not because the actual process is so unbelievably hard, but because I'm making my own pattern and this means I have to make sure everything fits together correctly and fits me properly, as well as just looking good in general. And I'm only giving myself one shot, because I only have enough leather for one, and I don't want to buy more.

Because this might end up being rather long I think I'm just going to post pictures with short captions of what's happening rather than going through everything that I did in a more detailed fashion. If I think something looks confusing I might elaborate, or you can ask me anything in the comments.

Playing with some patterns. I just winged the top left one. The others are from Tom Banwell and here.

Tracing the size of the brim from my other top hat.

Figuring the inside size.

Starting on the Crown.

The moment I realized I was making a pattern for underwear.

The finished pattern.

Checking the fit. Need haircut.

Attached brim to crown. Looks suspiciously like cowboy hat. Hope I can fix that.

Disassembled the pattern for tracing.

The pattern cut out.

The reason there are two brims is because the leather is smooth on one side and rough on the other so to fix that problem you make two brims and sandwich them together rough sides in and glue them. I still haven't cut out the inside circle (which will also be the top) because I might shorten that low dip in the middle of the crown piece to make it a little less "stylized". If I do that it might change the size a little and I don't want to cut it too big.

More to come...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Holiday Aftermath

Have you ever thought about the word "aftermath"? It's kind of a strange word. What does it have to do with math? Shouldn't it just kind of mean "sum"? Anyway...

With the Holidays completely over I have finally decided to come out of my hole. I sort of took an impromptu vacation from blogging but now I'm back. And with a holiday recap no less!

Let's see what happened...

There were holiday Events:
My family always likes to spread Christmas over several days instead of just one, so there was a siblings gift exchange a few days before Christmas. Then there was Christmas day with my wife's family and then mine. Then after Christmas my wife's family had extended family over and we played the gift game! You may know the gift game by one of countless other names (such as White Elephant) but it's always the same set of rules. Everyone puts in a gift, you take turns unwrapping gifts or stealing gifts that other people have unwrapped. This year we put in a giant kangaroo marionette puppet and a pair of practice nunchacku. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of that kangaroo, it was three feet tall and awesome. I ended up with a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. I don't know when that became an acceptable gift game gift but I'm happy it did. I used it to buy Pushing Daisies, which is a hilarious show.

We also went to see the lights downtown., much to the delight of our son who spent the entire time trying to jump off of everything and touch all of the "yight up deer".

We had a cooking adventure when Meredith's dad wanted oysters one night. We agreed to make them if he bought them, which was an awesome deal. We made oyster stew and tempura fried oysters. It was the second time I've fried anything in oil and just as messy as the first. We had salad to offset all of the cream and butter and fried-ness. Since we were already frying things I tried a couple fried Reese's Cups. They were pretty good, but I wouldn't saying the frying process really made them irresistible. Next time I'll make sure I have Oreos on hand.


There are gifts that we made:
This year we made three (?) Christmas presents. One was a splash paint canvas for my sister-in-law of the Morton Salt Girl, one was a wooden owl pendant necklace for my sister, and one was a fox hat for another of my sisters. I feel very stupid because I neglected to take finished pictures of any of them. Thankfully my sister-in-law took a picture of hers so I stole it off her Facebook page. The necklace is very similar to these that I made for my wife. I'll have to get a picture of it and of the fox hat. All three were joint projects of my wife and I.

Morton Salt Girl with conveniently matching wallpaper.

Owl Pendant in Progress

There are gifts that we got:
One of the things we put on our list this year was a vintage typewriter. We just thought it would be cool to have a typewriter. They look cool but they're also really neat and fun to type on. I think we both have this romanticized idea of our kids typing away at them and writing all kinds of adorable stuff, but even if they don't it's still a really cool thing to have around. That being said I never imagined we would get one. Of course I forgot that my nannie had two of them in her attic. So we got a typewriter for Christmas! My dad even went online and found a company that sold the ink ribbons for it, which is good because the ribbon on it probably dried up before I was born.
We also got a membership to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, which is cool. It came with tickets for the Gardenfest of lights (which normally costs even for members) which is an amazing Christmas lights display spread all over the garden.
We got a Home Depot gift card which I immediately spent on Router bits.
My wife also got me the newly released album Matt & Toby from Matt and Toby of Emery. I had really been wanting it and it's awesome. Definitely go listen to it.

Our typewriter and a little cream & sugar set that we got

Oh and our son got a Batman shirt from his uncle and aunt.

I'm Batman!

There's costumes that we wore:
After Christmas there was a New Years Costume party at my family's house. The theme was famous couples, duos, trios, etc. Pretty much any group. We decided to go as Han, Leia, and Chewie. The costumes weren't terribly accurate, but we whipped them up pretty quickly and they worked out well. I only have a picture of my wife because once again I forgot to take pictures. I am a bad blogger.

Hair buns

My Princess Leia

And There's now:
So now that the holidays are over with I imagine I'll get back into the swing of things. I've pulled out an old project and hope to have a leather top hat finished in the near future. I've also been looking at some sword designs and might try a couple more of those soon. They won't be as involved as my Altair sword was. Probably more quick and dirty. At least a bit simpler. Especially since I've got some more tools to try out.

I'm kind of thankful the holiday season is over and I'm looking forward to all of the things this new year will bring. Are you excited to start a new year? What about it excites you?