Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy Garments, part 2

Creating Your Own

This is my Happy Hat. Looking at it makes me smile. It makes other people smile, too. It's particularly productive to wear on grey days.

My Happy Hat is made of cotton knit, the outer layer reinforced by one layer of medium-weight fusible interfacing. I can wear it in varying climates because it has an additional lining of polarfleece that is removable (see images below). The brim can be tilted to accomodate mood or weather. The hat is a sturdy traveller, handling packing routines with aplomb.

Pink Glow is what I call this hat and bag pair. The hat was my prototype for this style (the bag will be covered in a later post). It was made to hide the result of a hairdresser's over-enthusiasm -- another reason why a girl might appreciate having a happy hat handy!

The fabric is a corded polyester suede, originally priced at NZ$60/meter and I got it for $4.

The pattern was a free download from Simplicity, and I altered the shape to take in the features I liked best in the Hats and Handbags -- Free Patterns post.

I learned from my pink prototype that while satin ribbon and diamante buckle look gorgeous, the ribbon isn't sturdy enough to support the buckle and when the hat is folded for travel, the band flops off the crown like an almost severed can lid. I left the ribbon unstitched because I wanted to be able to move the buckle to different positions around the crown. I suggest if you want such adaptability, make the band very sturdy (interface it, or use a stiff braid) so it will remain firmly where you want it, even when it's not on your head. Otherwise, thread the buckle onto the band then sew the band to the crown.

These two images (above and below) show the polarfleece insert I created to make the hats adaptable to climate change.

Here are some things to consider when figuring out what your happy hat (or garment) should be.
  • Favourite colours? They should be ones that remind you of positive things [like chocolate, warm sunshine, flowers in spring, people you love, beautiful animals, memorable occasions, etc].
  • Textured or smooth, cool or cosy?
  • Bling?
  • Luxurious or practical? Could be both.
  • Drapey or tailored? There are pros and cons for both of these. Drapey could look frumpy, but it could also float over things you want hidden and its looseness allowing you greater comfort and relaxation. Tailored could mean stiff or tight, or that a well shaped garment will do for your appearance what your body is too weary to manage.

Julia Whyte of Havelock North decided that swing coats are her specialty when it comes to happy garments. She named this the Happy Coat because it describes how she feels whenever she wears it.

This chic cover-up works indoors or out, smart or casual. It's fun and frivolous and will take you anywhere, she says. View her online coat gallery for more examples of the luxurious fabrics and linings she puts together for these glorious overcoats.

Care for black velvet lined with leapard print?
Or a hot pink lining to your periwinkle blue damask?

You don't have to spend a lot of dollars in order to stir up these good feelings. Your happy garment could be a jazzy shoulder bag. Or even simpler to arrange, tie a happy scarf to the handle of your current handbag.

Dull colours tend to be a feature of winter wardrobes, with the bright ones more often reserved for the strong sunlight of summer. If you want to sprinkle some good cheer on yourself and others to lighten this world of climactic upheavals, find/make yourself a happy garment, and I invite you to email a photograph of yourself wearing it!

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