Beret Success- hat pattern review

I actually haven’t sewn anything since before Christmas which for me is almost like not breathing but a break every now and then is good even I admit. Instead over the hols I baked like crazy (umpteen batches of biscotti and a Baked Alaska) and just this past Monday returned to the UK  from a couple of weeks in southern New Mexico- though I did finish a blouse while I was there but that doesn’t really count and it still needs buttonholes. So yesterday, after tidying up my workroom which suffered from family invasion while I was away, I wanted to make something simple that wouldn’t tax my jet-lagged brain and would get me back in the sewing groove.

This little 1948 French beret pattern from Mrs. Depew was just the ticket.

The pdf contains the instructions for drawing out the pattern for the simple, nicely proportioned small beret and the cute bird ornament. Sewing instructions are very minimal but really it isn’t hard to construct.



The two things I changed were making the head opening a few centimetres larger (maybe french women had little heads in ’48 or maybe I just have a big one) and I shortened the length of the birds body by 1-1/2 cm so to my eye at least it had more of the same proportion as the illustration. I also lined my beret. The birds wings are two layers of suede fused together so not to be floppy and I wish I’d done that for the tail too. If you make this hat yourself doubling up the bird fabric is something to bear in mind depending on what you use. The edge stitching is also something I decided to add just to make it a little more tailored in feel to go with my newest Miss L Fire shoes ( 🙂 on sale)


Now my suede-trimmed  tweed suit (a version of a vintage late 40’s suit which I had to copy for a film in November and that just happened to fit me too- occasional perks of my job)  that I made just before all the baking started is accessorised and ready to go … just as soon as my Christmas waist goes away and I can button the skirt again that is.

Will I make this beret again?

Most certainly. This first one took about four hours to make with my messing about some but will take half that in the future. I have some red velvet lined up for a loopy bow one and some turquoise suede to make a second bird beret in. A black felt one with a sequinned or beaded bird could be fab too I think. All in all a successful make.

Now I’m going to whizz up a little black satin dress based on my 30’s PJ top free pattern to wear tomorrow night to a White Mink evening…. because of course I haven’t got a single frock to wear!

15 thoughts on “Beret Success- hat pattern review

  1. Thank you! I have been looking at this pattern wondering ‘should I?’ & you have just answered my question, yes I think I should! It looks perfect! You’ve done a lovely job! I think I’ll pop over to Mrs Depew’s Etsy store right now, I defiantly want one!

  2. This is so beautiful! I especially love the contrast stitching that you added to the edges of the bird, it’s just beautifully done. And of course, thanks so much for your review of my pattern, it made my day!

    1. LOVE Parov Stelar! Electro Swing is my main listen while working. Have you heard Lazlo by Lazlo ( I bought the album a couple of days ago and can’t stop bouncing around to it.

    1. I will show off the whole ensemble soon!
      As to suede sewing, I don’t think it is hard once you understand the pitfall areas. Stretching can certainly be an issue so balance notches are essential and in general stay-stitching or stabilising some areas with skinny strips of fusing can help. It’s also about whether or not your sewing machine will cooperate. A teflon foot can help and trying out different threads too. I generally am fine with a regular machine needle but have had situations with heavier leathers where a leather machine needle was essential.As to thread on the beret I started with cotton and stitches skipped. Switched to poly thread and all was fine. My industrial machine was being awful with both threads – so switched to my 1960’s Bernina Minimatic and it sewed just fine. Trial and error!

If you enjoyed this post make my day & let me know!