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Friday, June 8, 2012

Caps Off: Chewing a Bun with Tuppence

Laurel (L.R.) Shimer wearing her new cap
Inspired by a time travel jaunt back to visit with Tuppence
Using a pattern in the book, One Yard Wonders (first book)
My all-time favorite Agatha Christie book is the first Tommy and Tuppence story, The Secret Adversary.* So you can just imagine my pleasure when I had a chance to travel back through time recently to chew a bun with that romantic young girl. It was, of course, shortly after the war (WWI that is) and Tuppence was still pretty down on her luck. I mean, you could tell by the hole in her stockings, the one she had darned a good few times. Still, the plucky girl filled me in on some big plans she's been making with her old chum, Tommy Beresford. Golly, I hope something comes of them.

In case you're wondering, my time portal was an old blue willow tea cup that belonged to my grandmother. You've heard of reading tea leaves I'm sure. I've found that reading them through grandpa's old magnifying glass, provided exactly the second necessary ingredient to assist me in heading back to the time just after what was then referred to as the Great War.

When I popped-off back home I remembered that I'd been particularly struck by Tuppence's rakish close-fitting cloche hat. Those of you who've followed her other adventures, as penned by Mrs. Christie, probably recall that Tuppence was extremely partial to hats. I'm not a slavish follower of historical fashion, preferring to take my inspiration from styles of the times I visit, and apply them to my modern life style. However a good hat  is as important to me as the next plucky dame. As a regular hiker and walker I always need something to keep the sun out of my eyes and protect my skin. I found the pattern for the low-browed, cloche style cap I used, in the first One Yard Wonders book (my public library has both the first and second volume) and it worked like a charm. I particularly liked the fact that the author directed me in the techniques for measuring my head and indicated how much to add for those of us who tend to tuck up our hair. As a hiker, that's particularly important. I have quite a large head and can never find hats that fit, except for adjustable baseball-style caps. They can usually be made to fit, but they don't offer a great deal of protection. This one does. I think I've worn it every single day since I first finished it, about two months ago.

Bare Bones Basics: I made the cap in a simple 100% cotten denim with a faint etched print of roses. The pattern indicated that I should form the band out of  three strips (lined with 3 more strips). After sewing two strips together the cap was plenty long enough. Maybe that's because I made the top of the cap good and wide. I used a total of 4 strips outside and in. The main circle/top of the hat is also self-fabric lined. I hand-stiched the circle on top to the bands. I used Peltex interfacing for the brim, which is also self-fabric lined/backed. The project didn't take a great deal of time, though I spent some careful time double checking my measurements and calculations when I first planned the project.

All I can say is that I love it and it works great. I plan to make another soon.

* Though I'm also quite partial to other Tommy and Tuppence books, my second favorite Christie is her autobiography.

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