|The Australian Women's Weekly, 9 June 1954|
It is described as a Butterfly Cap for teenagers for late-day or later. I found the teenage label unusual, because the woman in the article photo looks very sophisticated and grown-up to me. Once I made it myself, however, I found it looking much more youthful.
I think the hair and outfit styling will have a large impact on whether this little hat looks young and playful or elegant and sophisticated.
You can find the pattern and instructions for The Butterfly Cap in the 9th of June issue of Australian Women's Weekly, on page 30, which you can access here.
Like most vintage patterns, especially free ones squeezed into a small magazine section, the instructions are sparse and assume you can fill in the gaps. On the other hand, it's quite a simple one, so you would have a hard time going too wrong.
Tips about Materials:
- Velvet or velveteen. (I used velvet from a second-hand skirt. The thickness of the fabric helps give the shape volume and hide stitches.)
- Sparterie (It's hard to get your hands on this vintage millinery material these days, but there are plenty of substitutes. I used what we tend to call buckram or leno or 20/20. Any stiff-but-shapable millinery foundation material or stiff interfacing should do fine.)
- Millinery wire
- Thread and needles
- Hair comb (Not called for in the original instructions, but mine didn't like to stay in place without. I added a plastic hair comb, cut into 3 pieces and stitched onto the inside. My advice - make the cap as instructed, try it on, shape the wire, and if more is required, try a comb.)
- The good thing about this design is that it's nice and clear what look you are aiming for! If necessary, fudge it, as long as it keeps looking like a bow!
- Experiment with the final shaping. Mine sits out like a more puffy bow, rather than sitting flatter like the magazine example. Both work fine, so play around to find the look you want.
The best thing about this pattern is that it "is guaranteed to highlight your hair and make you look prettier".
There are lots of other patterns and instructions for hats (and other accessories) in the pages of Women's Weekly, and even some newspapers. Here are some others from the 1950s that I like the look of:
- Fabric Sun Hat (1955)
- Scarf Hat for "any teenager who wants a hair cover-up that doesn't look like a scarf yet has its virtues" (1954)
- "Casual cap with some carefully designed shapelessness" (1953)
- A plain pillbox and a "bed-of-violets" pillbox (1951)
- A "Quaker Bonnet" for spring (1950)
- Wide-brimmed beach hat (essentially just a elliptical cone with straps - but it looks nice in the photo! (1954)
- Velvet beret, as worn by Gene Tierney (1954)
- Two-coloured cloche and braided toque (1952)
- "High-fashion scarf hat" (1953). I love this one!
And there are so many more. I found some of these while searching again for ones I had previously found!
What do you think of The Butterfly Cap and the other hat patterns? Anything take your fancy?
I'd love to hear if you try any of these, or of any other free patterns you recommend.