Thursday, January 9, 2014

Upcycled cashmere beret -- embellished with wool and beads

I have a big head.  Finding hats is tricky.  Finding cute hats that I actually want to wear is even harder.  So, when I saw this great beret by this amazing artist, I knew I had to give it a try.  Here's the link:

The detail on the denim outside is fantastic.  Appliqued birds, embroidered branches, etc.  And, it's reversible.  The artist used the basic instructions from Martha Stewart's wool beret project shown below on the right. (link:$1&om_mid=_BO13yqB8d7QdZx)

I decided to make my own beret.  I had two cashmere sweaters, a beautiful charcoal grey and a raspberry.  And, of course, lots of wool.  For the first time EVER, I made a muslim pattern using Martha Stewart's template.  I didn't have extra fabric and could not mess this up.  Plus, as mentioned, I have a big head and was fully expecting the pattern to be too small.  I was right.  But, by extending the panels to be about an inch longer, I got the greater circumference I needed.  

I put the grey on the outside and raspberry on the inside.  I had to do all embellishment before sewing it together, though, and this is where the fun began.  I found this great inspiration for the leaves. ( )  Photo on the left.  They are incredibly detailed.  Hand-dyed wool adds to the depth.  Embroidery well beyond my meager skill set.  But, I got out all my green wools and started to play.  My beret is on the right.  

Not bad, huh?  I really love how it came out.  I wear it all the time.  It matches any color coat and is super warm.  My favorite discovery was beading while doing blanket stitch.  In the small picture on the right you can see the result.  By adding a bead on each stitch, the beads end up perfectly outlining the applique.  Fabulous.  You know I'm not an embroiderer by trade so these little tricks really add to my arsenal.

For the inside (which has yet to be worn on the outside!) I just did a simple bird in a grey overdyed plaid.  He's cute.  I just always seem to wear the beret grey side out.

I made this in December of 2012.  My goal was to try a new technique and make something fabulous every month.  I think I succeeded that month for sure.  Stay tuned for more of the projects I completed in early 2013.

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