Tag Archives: hat

Vintage Sewing, Anne Adams 4926, Hat

After two projects that involved a lot of hand sewing, I was ready for something quick and easy.  I’d had the idea of hats on the back burner, and I had even bought a few patterns and made toiles.  But nothing really fit what I needed, which was a few winter hats to wear on winter walks.

I bought this pattern, Anne Adams 4926, back in the fall and while it was close to what I needed, it was not exact.  So I set about making the changes I wanted.  First, the crown was too high, so I shortened it and rounded the top a bit.  I also tapered the brim so that it was shorter in the back than in the front.

From the side you can see how I shortened the back brim a bit.  You can also see the brim seam, which should be in the back.  Since I was using more of the Harris Tweed that I used on my tweed/cashmere combination, I had to piece it, so both sides have seams.

This back view actually gives a better idea of the shape of the hat.  For some reason my front view makes it look like it sits flatter on the head.

I had the hat all cut out and ready to sew when I went to my fabric collection to find a lining fabric.  I wanted something soft and warm, and it occurred to me that this would be a good project for a lower quality cashmere sweater which had developed holes.  I didn’t have such a sweater, but I did find a cute cotton knit from the 1970s.

Okay, I know the Snoopy fabric is a bit unexpected, but I’d had this scrap forever, and was ready to use it.

The inside band is from a roll of  petersham I found a while back.

Overall it was a quick and easy project.  From start to finish, I guess I had two hours invested, and much of it was doing the stitching on the brim.

I’ve gotten two good projects from one ratty old jacket, and there is still enough to make something else.  So, should I make slippers?  How about mittens?



Filed under Sewing

Vintage Sports Caps for Women

Walk into any antique shop in the country and there is sure to be a selection of vintage hats.  Considering that most women stopped wearing them in the late 1960s, it is a wonder that so many of them survive.  Hats take up a lot of storage space, and you would think they would have all been thrown out in an effort to gain closet space.   Perhaps many women kept thinking that hats would make a comeback, and so were reluctant to toss them.  And I’m sure that many were saved due to sentimental reasons.

The shops are full of church hats, cocktail hats, and sun hats, but a bit harder to find is the lowly sports cap.  Like other sportswear, they received hard use.  I’ve found a few that were in seriously sad condition with dirt and sweat stains.  I imagine that most of them that reached that level of use were simply thrown away.

This 1950s cap must have belonged to a woman who preferred the indoors, as it shows few signs of wear.  Maybe it was bought out of necessity on a beach vacation (note shell decorations).

This cap appears to have been homemade.  It provides some serious shade, but style is not forgotten:

I have another homemade one from the 1930s, and two that are from the 1950s and are similar to the one at the top of this post.  These 1950s caps look an awful lot like the baseball cap, but often with a smaller brim.

Here are a few ads from the early 1950s.

“Perfect loafing costume…”

These cute little caps were made from Cannon terry cloth.

I’m not going to lie.  I want that plaid Pendleton cap.  I also want the handbag.


Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing, Summer Sports

1960s Sun Hat, Glasses Included

The 1960s may have been the time that women’s hats were on the wane, but they sure put out some wild and crazy beach hats.   Many were Italian straw creations, and were decorated in all sorts of ways, most of which reflected a tropical vibe.  There were hats that sprouted a straw palm tree on the crown, and hats covered with seashells.  I’ve even seen them covered with fishnet with tiny plastic fish caught beneath.

But my all time favorite is the beach hat with built-in sunglasses.  This hat came in lots of different color combinations and several different shapes, but this one in orange with blue lenses is a classic.

I tried in vain to find a reference to this hat in my collection of 1960s magazines, and an internet search was not much more fruitful. I found only two vintage images.  One was dated to 1965, and came from a Dutch magazine.  Since I was not sure of the origin of the scan I’ll not post the photo here, but it is my hat in red straw.  The other was not dated, but looks to be a bit earlier, and is the hat in tan.

As always, any additional information is greatly appreciated.

A couple of years ago an updated version of the sunglasses hat was available at Kate Spade.  Fell free to speak your mind, because I like the vintage one better too!

photo copyright Kate Spade New York


Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

Knox Tuxaway Hat

Last week I was out looking for vintage treasures when I ran across this piece of folded felt.  You might be able to tell already that this is a hat.  I unfolded it:

And on the inside:

When I got home I started looking for information.  The Knox Hat Company was a very well-known maker of both men’s and women’s hats.  The company was established as a hat store, Knox the Hatter,  by immigrant Charles Knox in 1838.  By the late 1800s under Charles’s son Edward,  Knox the Hatter was producing their own hats in a factory in Brooklyn.   Edward Knox retired in 1913 and sold the business which continued to grow and do well.  Unfortunately, like many other hat makers, Knox did not survive the 1960s, the era when wearing a hat was no longer necessary in order to be well dressed.

Because the label reads that a patent had been applied for, I hoped to get lucky and find it.  But evidently the US Patent Office did not issue the patent, as I’ve search and could not find it.

But the Tuxaway name did prove to be a bit fruitful.  I found an ad for a men’s Tuxaway.  It dates from 1948.

Travelers! Adventurers!  This belongs to you!  A hat so light, fine, flexible, you can roll it up, tuck it away in the new Knox travel kit, take it out at the next airport, and wear it smartly and proudly.

And take a look at the little cylindrical carrier with the Knox emblem.  Now if you ever find one, be sure to remember this little folding hat.

I think the ad over-sold the qualities of the hat a bit, but you can see that after only a few minutes of being unfolded, the creases were beginning to fall out.  And this from a hat that has been folded for around 65 years.

I’ve not been able to find an ad for the woman’s hat, which is what this hat is.  I still have a few more late 40s magazines to look through though.

Ad photo from ebay seller mirluck.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing

Miss Dior Hat – Early 1960s

A recent shopping venture turned up the hat above, which has a nice label:  Miss Dior.  And though the label also reads Created by Christian Dior, that might be a bit misleading.

I say that because when this hat was created in the early 1960s, Christian Dior, the man, had been dead for several years.  However, the company that carried his name lived on.  The designer at Christian Dior when this hat was made was mostly likely Marc Bohan, who took over the design duties from Yves Saint Laurent in 1960.

The Miss Dior name was originally attached to a perfume, but by the early 60s it also labeled a line of ready-to-wear hats designed and sold by the House of Dior.  Dior is famed as a couture house, but they also did several lines of ready-to-wear clothing, such as Dior Boutique.   In 1967 Dior started a new line that was meant to appeal to younger customers, which they named Miss Dior.  Today the name lives on as the name of one of Dior’s perfumes, which from what I’ve read is quite unlike the original.

In the late 1950s women’s hair styles started to get bigger, to become more bouffant.  The prim little hats of the 50s were just out of place on the new hair styles.  Some women even toyed with the idea of abandoning the wearing of a hat.  The hat designers responded with hats of a design to match the new hairdos.   They were higher, and often sat on the crown of the head.  In some fashion photos of the era it is hard to tell if you are looking at a hat or at hair (or a hair piece…)

My hat is made from fur felt and it is completely undecorated.  From the front it looks like a toque, but from the side you can see that there is actually a very wide and laid back brim.  Is there a name for this style?

A closeup of the surface shows off the furriness of it.

And a final shot from the front.  I have a new camera, and was playing around with the background defocus.  Yes, I do need to practice a bit more.

Here are two similar examples from spring, 1963.  The top is from Guy Laroche, and the bottom one is Dior.


Filed under Collecting, Designers, Vintage Clothing

What I Didn’t Buy: Mr John Hat

Some time ago I posted about the pleasures of hat buying in antique malls.  Today, I’m going the buyer beware route.

The hat I’m showing has a Mr. John Jr. label.  Mr. John is a name you need to know.  He was John Harberger, but later called himself John P. John.  He had a long career in millinery, starting in 1926 working for the milliner, Mme. Laurel, who was John’s mother.  In 1929 he and milliner Frederic Hirst joined together and formed a new label,  John-Frederics.  They had a salon in New York, and a studio in Los Angeles, where they supplies hats for movies.  According to an interview with John in 1978, they did the hats for 800 films, including Gone with the Wind. (to see an rare 1930s label from John-Frederics, visit this thread at VFG.  It’s in the last set of 2 photos, a girl in a mirror.)

The pair parted ways in 1948, and it was at that point that John established his label, Mr. John.  He remained in business into the 1970s, and even after closing his wholesale business, continued to design hats for private clients.

According to John, when he was working with his mother, she criticized his work as too flamboyant.  She told him he ought to be paid to un-decorate his hats.  The criticism must have stuck because especially in his hats of the 1960s and 70s, John was more interested in a classic, flattering form than of applied decoration.

And that is what makes this hat so very odd.  It has a silk band with feathers and lily of the valley and that big black and white blossom of indeterminate species.  It’s all very un-Mr. John-like.

For some reason, some vendors of old things feel they have to embellish them in order to make them attractive.  The problem lies in that it is not always an easy task to tell what is original to the hat and what has been added recently.  That is, it can be difficult unless the modern embellisher uses a hot glue gun.

When buying vintage hats, always look at the stitching and then note if the same thread is used throughout.  Is is often, but not always a clue that something has been added.  And the presence of dried hot glue is a dead give-away.


Filed under I Didn't Buy...

What I Didn’t Buy – 1950s Hat

I’ve written in the past about how what a great deal vintage hats often are at your local antique mall.  They are usually well priced, usually under $15 or so, and you can pretty much guarantee that any antique mall will have a nice selection of hats scattered throughout the booths.

I always make a point of looking at hats, even though they are a very small part of what I’m interested in.  It’s just that the chance of finding a real treasure among the drek is actually pretty good.  I’ve found everything from 1920s sun hats to 1950s couture hats in antique malls.

The other day the above hat caught my eye,  I liked the black and white, and I’m not sure if you can see it, but the white rim kind of “floats” below the body of the hat. unattached except in the front and the back.  I picked it up to see it it was labeled.  It was not.  Still, I was curious about the final deciding factor – the price.


I’m not going to get into a long drawn out monologue about how vintage has gotten too expensive, because honestly, for the most part I find that things I find locally are usually very well priced.  But I see this seller’s chance of selling that hat at that price as virtually zero.


Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Shopping, Viewpoint