Channeling Audrey

I wasn’t going to blog yet another hat make, except that this one has a few features that I felt made it blogworthy, and also for me to expound some of my lessons learned for future reference.

It is once again the Vogue 9230 from 1975


but this time I was going to ensure that the brim did not flop. At all. The pattern suggests felt as the brim interfacing, which seemed strange to me until I was with Sarah in Spotlight, and she, being a wizard, found a metre of thick rigid felt that was just perfect and even more perfect was the fact that the shop assistant sold it to me as a remnant, so it cost a couple of dollars and I’ll probably get four or so hats from it!

The pattern instructions say to sew the felt to the brim and then trim it close to the stitching.


May I say that this is a really bad idea. If it gets trimmed close to the stitching there is still felt within the seam allowance and it’s hard to trim it evenly. I have now made a special pattern piece for the felt and it has had 1.1 cm taken off all the way round so that I can sew up the seams more easily. I shall also hand baste the interfacing to the brim in order to get it sitting nicely.  Next time I should be ok!

I have to tell you that I really struggled to sew this hat because of that felt. I used every trick in the book: Clover wonder clips to hold it all together, the zipper foot so that I could get close to the edge, and swearing (which I have to admit didn’t help much!). I also did a fair amount of hand stitching so that I could make things a bit neater.


Once again I lined the crown of the hat, with scraps from my Charlie Caftan, and I used some silk tie scraps to make the bias binding to hold the elastic in and to hide some of the sewing crimes I had to commit to get this hat to hold together.

There will be few close-ups of this hat as previously mentioned crimes were many but I think I managed to hide them fairly well.

At some point I thought I’d like to copy an Audrey Hepburn hat where the brim turns in just a bit.Something like this one.

chapeu du matin hat

I considered a few ways of doing this and then decided that some grosgrain ribbon sewn round the edge might just work. All I did was sew the top edge and then stretch the bottom edge around the edge of the brim. I did try ironing a curve into the ribbon, but it didn’t work for me.


I began doing the many rows of topstitching, but abandoned the process a few rows in. A couple of the rows can be seen above the grosgrain.

The hat is wet because I discovered, quite by chance, that it also makes a wonderful shelter from the rain – a kind of built in umbrella! I think you can just see how the edge of brim has turned down because of the way the grosgrain is sewn under tension.

Unfortunately, I misjudged the length of the ribbon and finished up with a tiny gap at the back. I didn’t want to unpick all that ribbon and start again, and I didn’t want to put in a patch, so it has an extra bow hiding that particular crime.


There are numerous other faults, but they are fairly well hidden and I’m not going to point them all out.


The hat has been brilliant at keeping the sun (and rain!) off my face as can be seen in some of these photos and is so comfortable to wear that I forget I have it on.

I wore it to visit Haji Lane, which is Singapore’s narrowest street and which is full of interesting shops. I love the juxtaposition of the old buildings with the ultra-modern ones in the background.IMG_0896 (1)

it also has some amazing street art. IMG_0904 (1)

I  enjoyed wearing it when we went for a wander along the river front in search of coffee and cakes. IMG_1089

Once again I took 1cm off the width of the brim, but I am so tempted to add it back on. Will I look like a mushroom? More like a mushroom? Ridiculous in fact??

Ok, now to distract you: several people have asked for more photographs of Singapore, so here is a little selection.

First up is the Magnum which I highlighted on IG. This one is mine and is a vanilla Magnum coated with interesting toppings. It’s a sort of “choose your poison” Magnum and I admit to having more than one!


At the suggestion of Belinda (@bcolesk), we visited the National Gallery which we had seen being restored on previous visits to Singapore. It is well worth visiting and comprises the City Hall and former Supreme Court. The buildings have been joined together with this “tree” and mesh laid over the top and down the sides. These two buildings are now completely protected from the elements and have the most wonderful feel.


Belinda stressed that we should check out the view from the fifth floor restaurant, and what a view it is. I could only capture it by taking a panoramic photograph, so apologies for the distortion. IMG_1066Whilst we were there we explored the Arts Precinct and stumbled across the oldest building in Singapore which is almost 200 years old. It is the Arts House which is a multidisciplinary arts centre, being available for small exhibitions and recitals.


The building began life as a merchant’s house and eventually housed the first Parliament.


I think that this is where modern Singapore was conceived. It only held 25 members so was soon outgrown.

We loved these “flats” which can be pulled out and read. I think we looked at every one of them!


This building has free entry and a very helpful security guard became our personal guide.

Another beautiful building in this area is the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. Queen Victoria features a fair bit in these buildings and I discovered that she was born the same year as Singapore was founded by the British and is one of the reasons that English is spoken so widely here. I feel as though I would have learned about this in English history, but I have forgotten it all. My father also spent time serving Britain in Singapore and I still have a few artefacts that he brought home from here.


We did the obligatory river cruise and it was much better than my memory of the last time I did this. I took some nice photos of some of Singapore’s colourful buildings. This one always appeals to me; it’s the old Hill Street Police Station and was gazetted as an historic building in 1998.


There are all the old warehouses on Clarke Quay. I can just imagine what this was like back in the day when it was teeming with cargo vessels unloading their wares. IMG_1164

Something that I didn’t know is that the wide body of water known as Marina Bay is, in fact, a source of drinking water for Singapore. It looked quite clean but I’m not sure I’d want to fall in! Unlike my son who risked life and limb to pose with the statue of children jumping in.


On one side is the stadium known as “The Float” which was the temporary soccer stadium used until the National Stadium was completed. Games are played on barges floating in Marina Bay, which I think is rather wonderful.


A newish highlight are the Gardens by the Bay and these are a must-visit. The gardens are built on reclaimed land and can be visited without charge, and they are exceptional. However there are two enclosed compounds, one of which is the Cloud Forest, with waterfalls and beautiful foliage, and the other is the Flower Dom, in which there is quite a big section on Australian native plants, and also lots of whimsical little touches. These deer (fawns?) are made from driftwood.


And this Alice in Wonderland display is totally  gorgeous!


This is the view from a section in the Cloud Forest. Obviously the walkways are quite high and the queues when we went were looong! There are also walkways between these “trees”, which also provide beautiful views.


I keep hearing that Singapore is a sterile city, but we find it safe, clean and culturally diverse and interesting. It is one of my favourite cities within a five hour flight from Perth, and I admit that I would rather visit Singapore than Bali. My first visit was more than forty years ago and I have noticed a huge change, with many of the old buildings being lost. At some point they realised that these buildings are precious and there is now a lot of money being spent on restoration. We have visited frequently because both Mark and I  taught in Singapore at various times, and we never tire of the city. I’m not sure that we shall have another dedicated holiday here as there are so many other places to visit, but we shall definitely return for a stopover at some point.


26 thoughts on “Channeling Audrey

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit. Not quite the 5 hour journey for me but I will get there. My mother was on the last boat out and watched Japanese troops arrive during WW2. Her father was British Army and retreated/reassembled his regiment and made it out as well. The boat took my mother to Broome. They were topside on the boat and horrible sunburn happened. Growing up she only ever told to me that scary escape story about her time in Singapore so it would be nice to see the country and reframe that!
    Oh, great hat! As a person who doesn’t even go out to the mailbox without a hat in summer I really appreciate your wide brim. You made it functional and elegant so nice job.

    1. You should go for a visit, there are photos of the Japanese surrendering and lots of other interesting artefacts. The hat is really keeping the sun off me.

  2. That is a great hat that you’ve made, but the sunbathing suit on the pattern is also attractive. Your trip to asia seems very interesting to me

  3. Thanks for the lovely post. I liked your hat and also enjoyed the photos of Singapore. Hope 2018 is full of sewing, travel and writing. Cheers Judy

  4. It is always so entertaining to read about your travels and your own unique take on sewing. Thanks for sharing it with us, and happy new year to you and yours.

  5. Never been to Singapore but it is on my bucket list. Not sure how long it takes from Melbourne but still close by compared to other places. Your hat looks great and is now a seasoned traveller.

  6. What a wonderful , practical and elegant hat — and such useful information/ insights on construction: thank you so much!!

  7. I have never been to Singapore, but I would love to go now – this place looks extraordinary! So many great pics in this post. Among other lovely shots, you look ravishing in your floral blue Esme dress with your hairstyle à la garçonne!

  8. The hat though, is a great success…even if troublesome in the making. I think I would get fed up with rows and rows of topstitching too. As for the double bow look….mistakes are always opportunities in disguise!!! It is perfect!

  9. P.S. Singapore has changed a great deal since I last went there (don’t ask how long ago that was….). Must put it on the revisist list, you have pointed out many interesting buildings and things to do.

  10. Great hat! Add that cm – no, you won’t look like a mushroom. Very Audrey 😃.
    Your photographs of Singapore are wonderful. We only had a couple of days there as a stop over and didn’t see as much as you have but there are a good few memories too 😀.

  11. I can’t believe you make hats! Though I should believe, you can make anything :).
    It was such a great walk down memory lane for me, as I was in Singapore in 2010, my first Asian trip (double bill with Malaysia) and I absolutely adored it! It’s one of my favourite places, and I loved your pictures, it brought it all back.
    Happy New Year, hope you have a fab 2018 (with a visit to London, I hope).

  12. My family and I feel exactly the same way about Singapore – we LOVE it so much and never tire of what it has to offer!!
    Love the snaps and the fab hat too!!

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