Creating a new children’s sun hat design

I love creating new and cute designs for my sun hats. Getting new fabrics from my fabric supplier, Michael Miller, is always exciting. I like to debut 4 or 5 new sun hat designs for babies, toddlers and children each spring as designs from the previous season are retired (mostly due to discontinued prints).  Typically I work on creating new sun hat designs during the winter when I’m not as busy with orders. During the winter I also work on making sure some of my most popular sunhat designs (like this one and this one) are well stocked for the coming busy spring and summer seasons.

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Lately I’ve been trying to focus on more sophisticated and mature designs that might appeal more to school age girls and boys, as opposed to babies and toddlers.

When I’m creating new designs, I don’t usually think initially of both sides of the hat. I work first on individual sides independently then pair them up later. When thinking about one side of the hat, I usually start with the band. For the hat band, I often choose prints that are directional and are usually something more thematic. This print is generally the focus of the piece. It’s usually where I use prints with animals, flowers, cupcakes, cars and other larger items.

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From there, I think about the brim. For the brim, I usually try to choose something geometric or repeating like polka dots, plaid, squares, or gingham. After I’ve selected the brim and the band, then I work on something for the top. For the top I often look for a contrasting color from the band that didn’t get picked up in the brim fabric I chose. Again, I often try to aim for something geometric or abstract.

I often have to look at lots of different combinations before I find what works. I lay out all sorts of different fabrics and try them against each other, making notes about what works. Sometimes I consult my husband about what he thinks. He often makes astute observations and recommendations.

Once I have an even number of single sides figured out, then I begin to pair them off to make a complete hat. When I’m pairing them up, I try to pick sides that compliment each other in some way, but I also often try to create hats that have sides with two different color schemes or two different types of prints. For example, one side may have a cool color scheme and the other side may be warm. This way, the hat works with a greater variety of different outfits and situations.

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That’s it! Once I have the new hats all figured out, I get to work sewing the new designs to put in my shop.