First, find the perfect top hat at a second hat shop... model it, photograph it, look at it for a good 40mins, ummm and ahhhhh over it, try it on again, photograph it again, send the pic to a friend for a second opinion, indulge yourself in conversation with the shop assistant about top hats, the history of top hats, the materials they are made from, the shapes, how fantastic they are and how you make mini ones... then think what you thought right at the beginning, it’s perfect!
Next find some tweed. Borrow the jacket off Fred so that you can find tweeds that will match the jacket. Go back to the second hand shop, look at all the tweed jackets to source the tweed from, decide NO it wouldn’t be right cutting up such fine jackets, rummage around at school in the piles of fabric that clutter up your classroom, select 4 or 5 different tweeds, take them home, leave them in your studio room for about a week, realise time is running out, select the first tweed you found, return the rest to school.
Next start covering the top hat. Green cord, perfect for under the rim, stitch it in place and then use tweed around the top of the rim. Cut a piece big enough to go around the hat and attach it. Pins help hold the fabric in place, heaven forbid the pattern would move or slip. If it does remove it from the hat and repeat the process at least 15 times until it’s perfectly in place. Stitch it to the rim and to the top of the hat. Then move onto the lid. Think to yourself, maybe it could be covered using one piece of fabric stretched over the hat. Unpick all the stitching remove the main piece of tweed, try using one whole piece then realise it’s never going to work and repeat the above again and again until you had it like it was originally... this takes longer than anticipated so get frustrated!
Once you get it in place, stitch and attach it. Then add a piece of brown suede around the inside of the hat. (The hat was quite large on Fred’s head, the layers of cord and tweed made it slightly smaller so it would stay in place.)
A piece of brown suede ribbon was used around the brim of the hat, it stretched over the edge and was stitched into place. A tweed band was added and feathers were slipped between the layers and stitched down.
Now to try and find the pictures you took of Fred actually wearing it and get annoyed when you can’t... arrrrrggghhhhh
(P.S I did enjoy this project!)