Shibori/Boro hat

I’ve been busy indigo dyeing and some of the shibori techniques require a “buffer” which is a small piece of fabric stitched at the beginning and end of the shibori to create a clean beginning and end. I finished up with quite a few interesting pieces of fabric that were too small to do much with, so I decided to stitch them together in a modified boro style and make a hat. I say “modified boro” as I only have one or two layers at most and my stitches are much bigger and less elegant than in the Japanese art. I have also included some slightly bigger pieces left over from a garment I’ve cut out but can’t show you yet.

I once again used the Liz Haywood free bucket hat pattern and began by considering the placement of my pieces. I also pieced together the interfacing using some (sadly not all) of my scraps, seemingly creating more scraps in the process!

If you haven’t heard of this lovely technique before, Boro means “tatters” in Japanese. Traditionally garments were repaired by repurposing scraps of old garments and other fabrics, each layer adding warmth and prolonging the life of garments.

I usually cut out my hats with a rotary cutter and think the hats are getting smaller as I shave off slivers of pattern, so I reduced the seam size to .6mm in a couple of places to make the sides slightly taller and the brim slightly wider. This has worked well. I might have to reprint the pattern for next time though.

I used scraps, joining them together to create an underlayer which I interfaced, and then began trying to place my smaller pieces on the top “in a pleasing manner”. I put that in inverted commas as I keep reading that instruction in books. I can’t determine a pleasing manner so probably slapped them on in my usual haphazard way. The layout did please me though.

I used some gold thread for the stitching, as I thought it would be an interesting contrast and because I wanted to do something with it!

The sides of the hat were cut from two big scraps and I used boro stitching to attach a wren, also cut from scraps, to each side. I began to cover over the base fabric but didn’t like the way it looked so just left the sides plain except for the wrens.

I was given a beautiful wooden hat block which is a little smaller than my head (think child’s hat block) so I added a bit of padding and used this for pressing the hat, which I think is a game changer. I was able to get really well pressed seams.

I used a piece of marbled cotton that I think I snitched from my friend Claire when she taught me how to marble fabric. I was clearly very attracted to it! It looks a bit unkempt here as it’s been squished in a suitcase and also worn, but I really like it in this hat.

I included the hat in my travel wardrobe to Melbourne which was rather optimistic given that it’s the end of winter, but I did manage to wear it and found it perfect for a walk along the Yarra River.

We spent some time catching up with an old friend and work colleague. He took us to a new shop called Cutting Cloth in Alphington. Such a magnificent shop, but I managed to restrain myself and didn’t buy a thing. Mark and I also visited the Shrine of Remembrance, which has wonderful views from the top, and the National Gallery of Victoria where I was totally smitten by this wreath called “Flowers of War” made of 400 handcrafted brooches.

I thought I’d show you a bit of our day. Martyn took us to the South Melbourne Markets where I was entranced by the flowers, but Mark was more interested in the fruit. We took Martyn’s three dogs for a walk in one of Melbourne’s beautiful parks, which was lovely. Mark and I were dressed head to toe in clothes made by me… Martyn wasn’t!

It took us a little while to get everyone in order, but finally we got the perfect shot!

Martyn was a patient host and even took me to The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe (near his home) and posed with me.

Finally I can’t resist sharing this photo of Miss G and her “baby” sitting on footstools. She’s reading to the baby, who does seem very attentive, although alarmingly unclothed – Granny might have to intervene in this situation! I wish I’d made a video as her voice used all the correct inflections for the story, going up and down as she followed the page, but of course she wasn’t reading and her words were comprehensible only to her baby and herself.


4 thoughts on “Shibori/Boro hat

    1. Thanks Liz, I really like this hat and can’t wait for more sunshine to wear it. Cutting Cloth is essentially a quilting shop but it’s pretty fabulous.

Leave a Reply