Search This Blog

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Designing and Making a French Beret with Cap Part 1

A friend invited me to go along on a seaside holiday and after contemplating it for about half a second I agreed. At the time, I had just made myself a handbag and was still feeling very impressed with it. You can read all about that in earlier blogs. Naturally it started me thinking that I should take the bag to the beach with me, something I had contemplated happening when designing it already. Now I saw an opportunity to make myself a matching cap for my beach excursions. When studying fashion design, I had loved making hats more than anything else and I am still looking for excuses to do so.

The first step in any design process is the conceptualization phase. In order to conceptualize the idea, I needed to know what dimensions I would be working with. Most of the measurements I would be working with are rather flexible, e.g. band width, area of the lid, etc. One dimension was cast in stone, though and that was the circumference of my head. It is pretty difficult to take a selfie while measuring your head, so I opted to show you how to do it on an old doll. Take the measurement around the area where you would feel comfortable wearing the hat. The measurement for the doll is 36 cm. My head measured 56 cm.

I then started designing the beret cum cap on a drawing pad with an HB pencil I had on hand. This is simply developing the idea and playing around with measurements etc. A lot of these changed as I went along in the process. I knew that I wanted to incorporate a french style beret in the cap. This would mean that it would be slightly off-centre, allowing one side of the top to be bigger than the other. Yet, I wanted to include a cap, which is not part of the traditional beret. It was going to be a bit of a risk, but I was willing to take it. Having drawn the ideas, I wanted to play around with colour. I loved the colours of the Derwent Artbar sets for this and used this along with my trusted Pentel Aquash brush. I would not make full use of the Artbars, but used it rather more like watercolours instead.

Using the Artbar like watercolours meant that I placed the bar on a surface and picked colour up with the wet Aquash brush.

I like the design I came up with, but thought the detail looked a little washed out. I decided to use the Artist quality Pitt Pens to accentuate the detail.

I have never once been able to use these pens without feeling an urgency to carry on playing with them. They are simply delicious to work with! Naturally I gave in to my urge to continue playing and added a whole lot of nonsense that had nothing to do with the design, but a lot with my frame of mind. I think the design is all the better for it!

It was predetermined that I would use the same fabric as the ones I used in the handbag, but no storyboard in complete until you've added the fabric and this is what I did. I love the story of this fabric, because it represents a trip I once took, spending time in London and visiting Paris for a weekend. When carrying the handbag I made from this, it is almost like carrying my memories with me. Nothing wrong with reminders of good memories.

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.