How Sewing a Sunhat Solidified a Dream

I’ve been wanting a sunhat for ages.  But, as seems to be an issue for me with lots of fabric made goods, I pause each time just before buying one and say to myself, “Well, I could make this out of my reclaimed stash…”.  And the sunhat goes back on the shelf or gets deleted from the online cart.  

Every.  Time.

Yes, I *could* make one, there are lots of patterns already out there, so I wouldn’t even have to draft one or figure out measurements on my own!  Still, summers have come and gone with me wistfully window shopping sunhats, promising myself to sew a delightful head covering.

Then not following through.  

My friends, today was finally the day.  This morning I bought the pattern I’d been eyeing and rummaged through my fabric stash until I found the perfect combination.  There was barely enough of a lightweight denim shirt left that went perfectly with some yellow and white vintage faux ticking.  After reading the instructions, I placed my pattern pieces so as to avoid stains (hazards of upcycling) and got to cutting them out.

Only to discover that a pattern piece had been mislabeled.

Once I figured that out, and pieced together smaller bits of the shirt that hadn’t been cut, I ended up with only enough usable fabric to make a brim that was ½ shorter than I needed.

It was sad.

That’s the thing when working with reclaimed fabrics or special memory fabrics.  You don’t always have much fabric to work with.  Or the fabric you do have holds so much sentimental value that a cutting error can be irreparable.  

The three frustrating hours I spent stumbling through a sunhat pattern with unclear instructions and mislabeling drove home my desire to write patterns specifically for reclaimed and sentimental textiles.  Careful labeling can be the difference between a finished project or one abandoned due to incorrect cutting and running out of a specific fabric.  Thorough, clear instructions can be the difference between despair and joy while sewing.

Meaningful, carefully reclaimed fabrics deserve patterns and tutorials that will enhance creative and joyful crafting, while minimizing costly mistakes and frustration.  

My sunhat struggle has a happy ending, though!  I modified the brim so you can’t tell it’s shorter than it should be.  Besides, while there’s some wonky stitching in places I couldn’t quite figure out the instructions for, it’s a perfectly functional sunhat.

So, if you need me, you can find me strolling down the sidewalk with my precocious toddler, dreaming about pattern designing.  

And wearing my sunhat.


Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric
and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our sewing.


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