Hat Couture

It’s widely known that I love hats, and ANY book that brings more folks to the hat-loving fold is absolutely dandy with me!

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.28.59 PM Cooperative Press is releasing a new book, Hat Couture, by Theressa Silver, which contains 13 hat patterns, all worked up in Cascade wool yarn.

I interviewed Theressa about her upcoming book and her designs process, here is the text of our chat:

What is it about hats that compelled you to put together this collection of patterns.

I’ve always loved hats, but the idea for making fancy knit hats came about 3 years ago when a knitter friend asked me to join her in a retail gallery show.  She makes purses and suggested I could make hats.

Since this was a fairly upscale place, I wanted to make something that was more than just knit caps.  I had a lot of fun playing around with shape, structure, and embellishment and came up with a collection of hats for the show that became the inspiration for the book.

Was there a certain technique or point of view about hats that you would like to share with your readers?

I’m having a blast playing with structural, 3-dimensional shapes.  I create them by choosing yarns with lots of body and then knitting them at a very tight gauge.

Making knit objects that stand up on their own is really cool!  I like knitting things that make you do a double-take.  I mean, who expects a knit top hat?

What is your millinery background?

None, other than looking at a lot of hats.  I do have a sewing background, but really I taught myself by trial and error.

I’d love to take a millinery course and learn some of the tricks of the trade.

What millinery techniques are used in the book?

Shaping the hats during the blocking process has quite a bit in common with shaping a traditional millinery hat over a hat block.

I also used buckram to create a frame for one of the hats.  But mostly it’s about capturing the feel of classical millinery in the shapes and decorations of the hats more than actually trying to transfer techniques.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.13 PMWhat is it that you consider has raised your knit hats to a ‘couture‘ level?

Each one is lovingly hand made, that’s “couture,” right?

Seriously, I wanted to distinguish my hats from the more typically casual knit hats.  I love a good slouchy beret or cozy beanie and wear a lot of them, but these are special, more elegant.

I encourage the knitter to indulge in lavish materials for the embellishments.  It’s about taking the knit hat to the next level.

Do you have plans for any future books?

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.47 PM

Theressa Silver

I have a couple of ideas, but nothing for sure yet.  There will be a piece coming out in Knit Edge Magazine Issue 3 discussing this knitting tight technique and applying it to the construction of knit bowls.

I’d like to curate a group book next.  I like the idea of blending many artistic visions into a coherent whole.


If you enjoy creating unusual knit hats, I feel that you’d really enjoy this book!  I’m giving away an ecopy [pdf] of Hat Couture to a lucky [random] reader who leaves a comment answering the following question:

Have you ever worn a hat specifically for an Easter Parade, and if not, would you?

I can’t wait to read your comments – and good luck!  I’ll declare a winner by Tuesday, 3/26/13.

Knit Edge Magazine

If you’re interested in reading about Theressa’s tight-knitting technique in Knit Edge magazine, a new online-only magazine brought to you by Cooperative Press, you can get $2 off a subscription by using the code “modeknitsilver” when you subscribe.

27 thoughts on “Hat Couture

  1. Oh yes – the good old days of getting dressed up for Easter. I’m thinking it was 1960 or 1961 – not only a lovely girls hat with flowers all over, but . . . also a crinoline dress. Aqua I think. Nothing knitted, but I’d sure do it now. Love the top hat, think I need one!

  2. I don’t remember ever wearing a hat for an Easter parade, but I do remember putting my daughter in a lovely broadbrimmed white hat with flowers in the hat band to go to church one year. And I wore a fabulous (and I do mean fabulous) hat with horses and roses on it to a Kentucky Derby party. Does that count?

  3. Well, not quite an Easter Parade, but here in Australia we have the Melbourne Cup horse race in November, our sprint.

    I always have a hat to wear to the office party. One time it was a doily that I stiffened, attached a comb and used novelty pipe cleaners to represent bird feathers. It was fun and I won!

  4. I love wearing hats ! I looked forward to Easter when I was younger, getting all dressed up, putting on gloves, carry a white purse, and wearing that special Easter hat!
    And yes I would wear an Easter hat in a parade!

  5. We used to make hats for an Easter Parade as kids at my Grandparent’s house…all the cousins trying to outdo each other (ahhh, memories!). I would totally do it again as an adult–something frothy and floral and completely girlie

  6. I have never worn a hat for an Easter parade as I have never attended one. I have worn a fez for a shooting match. Fezs are cool, after all.

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an Easter parade – I think they’ve kind of fallen out of fashion. If the opportunity were to arise, I would definitely wear an awesome hat. Something with a brim that would blot out the sun…. 🙂

  8. In primary school (in Australia) we would have an “easter bonnet” parade each year – there are some very funny photos of me, and my sisters, wearing all kinds of crazy get ups.

    My favourite is a sun hat to which my mum sewed lots of ribbons and tied bows all over.

  9. I remember the yearly Easter parade in grade school and always wore a hat for it. I haven’t even been to an Easter parade since then tho. I do love making hats – both knit and sewn. I would love a copy of this book!

  10. I have never been to an Easter Parade, but back in the 1950’s, I always got a new outfit for Easter. Usually a small white lacy hat & white gloves. Now I would definitely wear a hat in an Easter Parade!

  11. As a young girl my mother dressed me in crinolines and straw hats with white gloves. Yes I marched to the Easter Parade! For years I eschewed hat wear in favor of good hair days. Today I appreciate the practicality and the glamour of a properly attired head!

  12. I have never worn a hat for an Easter Parade (although I have been in a few). Definitely would wear one now. I just purchased my first hat block (hatshapers.com) and am going to make a cloche with an asymmetrical brim. Am definitely purchasing this book (unless I win it!).

  13. I was about to say I haven’t worn a hat for an Easter Parade and I’m never going to either. Then I remembered that I had done, but it was less of a hat and more a ring of cardboard with stuff glued to it that I created at primary school. They aren’t really a common thing in the UK anymore, my adventure with an Easter Parade was in the 70s and I don’t think I’ve seen one since!

  14. Not for a parade – but we always got dressed up for Easter, and always had a new hat and gloves, and white patent leather shoes. I’d love to own this book.

  15. I don’t remember ever wearing a hat, but a headpiece, yes! Mom and I suspended pink eggs on pink ribbons from a pink headband, and I wore that in the Easter parade. I would have been either 6 or 7 years old.

    I do like bonnets, and I’d always wanted to wear a bonnet in the Easter parade. I haven’t even seen an Easter parade in years!

  16. No Easter parade hat but many years ago when nursing students experienced a capping ceremony when we received our caps after probation, my capping ceremony fell on Easter Sunday. Receiving our nurse’s caps meant more than a million dollars to us having completed the first step to becoming nurses. Nurse’s caps aren’t worn much now but they are very symbolic of hard work and committment when they are worn.

  17. I don’t remember ever being in an Easter parade, but I do remember having Easter hats as a little girl . Pastel straw with a ribbon and straw flowers. Back then women and girls were expected to wear head coverings in Catholic church, so the hat would get worn every Sunday throughout that spring, maybe multiple years.

  18. The last time I wore a hat for Easter was when I was a baby, it was one of those Voile (?) baby bonnets from the ’50’s. My mom was never a hat wearer, so never really got into the tradition of wearing hats (also never can find commercially made hats to fit… have a larger than normal head)

    So yes, if I could make a hat to fit, then I most certainly would wear a hat for Easter!

  19. As a young girl I wore a new Easter bonnet every Easter – loved them. But not in any parades. It would be nice for hats to make a comeback in the US. Would love to win the book.

  20. I always had a hat when I was younger for Easter, but I don’t every remember an Easter Parade. How fun would that be??!!

  21. Oh yes I would wear a hat for a parade. As a matter of fact I wore an Easter bonnet to church several times on Easter Sunday. That is what the fun teachers did at the Unitarian Church back in the day. The crazier the better!

  22. I absolutely adore hats. In far, I’ve always been a little sad that I couldn’t make hats like the ones in this book, so it will definitely be one I look up. When I was little, I would get a new hat each year for Easter, which I would wear to church, but there was never anything like a proper Easter parade in my city in the eighties that I know of, and I have never been to one since. I would certainly wear a hat if I could find an Easter parade!

  23. I’ve never been in or seen an Easter parade! I would totally get a fancy hat for the occasion, though. I plan on wearing an elaborate church hat to my daughters wedding when she grows up. I figure that’s the soonest I’ll have occasion to wear a fancy hat and be old enough to really pull it off.

  24. I don’t remember wearing hats for Easter, but I do remember getting all dressed up and going for Easter egg hunts. So much fun! I would definitely wear a hat for an Easter parade now. What fun that would be! 🙂 – Oops, I got so excited about the hat book that I put the wrong blog link up on my previous comment.

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