Wednesday, October 7, 2015

DIY Cloche Hat

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease (alopecia areata) over a year ago. As far as auto immunes go, the one I have isn't a bad one. My immune system attacks my hair follicles and my hair falls out. It’s not bad for body hair, but not so nice when it’s hair on your head, eyelashes, etc.

Almost two years ago, I began treatment, which ended up being a series of 40 to 50 shots in my scalp every six weeks. Not fun. (And, eventually, insurance decided they didn’t want to cover the shots.)

But the shots weren't very effective, so my doctor switched me to an oral medication and topical steroids. The combination seemed to work. (Either that or I went into remission.) Now, neither is the case. I’m losing a lot of hair again. Maybe it will come back. Maybe I'll lose more.

Since I believe in preparing for the worst, my husband suggested I sew a hat. He even offered to go with me to the store, so I could buy fabric. (FYI, Calvin feels that the fabric store is a circle of the Inferno that Dante forgot to include. So when he offered to go with me…love endures all things.)

Here is the result of the purchases. 

The pattern for this cloche hat (Rosabelle), courtesy of sewmamasew is by Wendy Talene of Elsewhen Millinery. I decided to sew a hat rather than buy one because 1. It’s cheaper. 2. I have a rather large head—and if a hat doesn’t fit right, I get migraines.

After completing the hat, I would highly recommend this pattern. The instructions were very clear (unusual in patterns and highly unusual in patterns outside of traditional pattern makers). Also, the fit was perfect because the pattern includes very specific directions on how to choose/cut a size.

(One small caveat, I didn’t realize that pieces B1 and B2 were supposed to be taped together before cutting. Thankfully, I had extra fabric.)

Also, the pattern gives very specific directions if you chose to sew a hat from difficult or non-traditional hat fabric—stretch materials, linen, etc. Perfect for those of us who like to sew outside-of-the-box.

One final note, this pattern comes with instructions on how to make the most beautiful roses to add to the hat. I’m in the process of doing that using dark red/black taffeta. (I’ll update when I’m finished.) But I made several hat bands (including this black velvet with embroidered rosette), so I can interchange them based on my mood, occasion, etc.

And, yes, I will be buying another pattern from Elsewhere Millinery. The Kimberly in crushed velvet is calling my name for the holidays. (Also, the pattern author does make custom hats, so if sewing isn’t your expertise, you can still wear a beautiful hat.)

Elsewhere Millinery patterns gets a five star review from me!


  1. Dang. I'm sorry that the disease is back. :-( The hat looks nice, though.

  2. I love the hat! In the meantime, I'm wishing you health and sanity.

  3. Such a cute hat! I may just check this pattern out myself--hats are something I haven't gotten into much sewing-wise, but it looks like a project I would really enjoy.

    Wishing you good health (and good hats)!

  4. Here's hoping you go into remission. In the meanwhile, it's good you have interchangeable hat bands.

  5. I'm sending you love and hugs, Connie, and best wishes for your good health. The cloche hat looks so beautiful on you! Please keep us posted; I hope you are doing better <3

  6. You could try a combination of olive oil, avocados and massage the scalp and see how that goes. Except you have to do it daily and cut the hair short. Think of the hair like grass, don't let it get dry or hungry. Kapla!