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the princess project
A friend of mine recently requested a dragon tail for her nephew, and wondered if I could make a couple of princess hats for her nieces, as well. Obviously, I don't have a lot of experience in the princess realm. Besides being the mother of very un-princessy boys, I never got into the princess thing when I was a kid. I played dress-up, yes, but mostly I just had tea parties with my cat and made her ride in my baby buggy while I pushed her up and down our block. (Yeah, I didn't have a lot of friends...okay, fine--I didn't have any friends.)
Come to think of it, my sisters were never into princesses, either--they wanted to be either Jem or She-Ra or Rainbow Brite. I think the princess thing is some Disney plot to turn girls into self-absorbed little hellions. But then, I'm reasonably certain Disney is out to turn our children into an army of entitled smartasses and take over the world. At any rate, I don't think princesses came into the spotlight until the last ten years or so. So no, I've never made a princess hat. But how hard can it be? It's a cone. With stuff shooting out the top of it.
Of course, it's not as simple as it sounds. As it turns out--and I may have known this had I not failed geometry--a cone is not simply a triangle wrapped around itself. A cone is 3-dimensional, and when made 1-dimensional, it looks nothing like a cone. Or a triangle. Or a princess hat.
There's also the matter of stability. You want the hat to stand up when it's worn. You also know when it's not being worn, it's likely going to be stuffed into a toy box (or under a couch or under a bed or in a closet under 16 pairs of patent-leather shoes)--so you want something that can be smushed and still retain its shape. I saw some examples online made of felt, but they didn't seem sturdy enough, and I didn't want to use felt anyway. I wanted to use hot pink satin and a light pink satin lining.
First, I thought I might use plastic canvas to create a cone insert, to fit between the outside and the lining. Until I learned that sewing plastic canvas with a #11 needle results in a broken needle and bloodshed.
Then I decided to create a cone insert with craft felt--the really stiff kind--use a medium-weight interfacing on the lining fabric. Which worked pretty well. I added some trim around the bottom of each from my stash, and the "stuff" coming out the top is a hodgepodge of chiffon, silver lame and ribbon. I also attached a little elastic chin strap to keep the hats where they belong.
I think the second one turned out a little better than the first, and I'm sure if I make any more of these, they'll be better still. Practice makes perfect, even for princesses.