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Church Militant “To the Pillbox!”

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Always in search of new ways to artfully cover our heads to show deference to our Lord I have heard the cry “To the pillbox!” Today I would like to show you a link to a tutorial that you can easily follow as I have done to make your own pillbox hat.  Brenda Burton of Humble Bumble B gave an interview on a web program called Thread Bangers (2007)- they have tutorials on all kinds of crafty subjects.  Here is the link.

The first pillboxes I sewed were made of felt.  Recently I have made some using 100% cotton fabrics reinforced with interfacing.  I really like the versatility of this for color and seasonal transcendence. Here is Whistle in her pillbox after church.
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So how does it go together?  I modified the pattern slightly from the tutorial to be smaller for the little girls heads- I think it turned out to be a great size for all heads.  When you watch the video- Mrs. Burton gives an excellent and simple presentation on making the pattern.  I changed the dimensions on the oval to be 6.5 inches and 2.5 inches high.  My band is 9.5 inches long- both are cut on the fold. Here is an example:

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I then cut  the same pieces from the interfacing and iron them on to the wrong side of the fabric.

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Next I sew some 1/2 inch seam binding to the flat edge of the hat band.

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You can use any color you might have in the drawer as this part of the hat will not be seen when you wear it. I am using a serger here.  Not required- but it sure make the hat so nice and neat!  Then I iron the seam binding out flat.

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Fold the hat band right sides together and sew a 5/8″ seam-joining the ends together and then you are ready to pin it to the top of the hat.

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So line up the seam on one end of the oval and start pinning it around.

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I will sew this with the regular machine first and then give it a surged finish.

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Next I fold the seam binding to the inside and pin two short lengths of ribbon to each side so that you can catch a bobby pin that will hold the pillbox on your head.  In Mrs. Burton’s video she puts a hole in the felt-  I think with cotton you could do a couple of small button holes for your bobby pins- but I thought this was easier.

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Top stich around the top edge of the seam binding to finish the hat.

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All that is left is the embellishments.  We picked a selection of buttons to adorn the front of these pillboxes- you can keep them bare and then use a broach or other jewelry and change it up to match your outfits.  An artfully applied flower with a corsage pin can also make a good decoration that you don’t have to commit to.

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Here is Whistle’s finished pillbox.  She picked out the buttons and sewed them on herself.

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Here is Whistle and Bubble together with their custom pillbox hats-these are so feather weight- once you have them pinned on you don’t even remember they are on your head.

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Until you get to church and receive your first complement on your pillbox- and then you remember it is there.

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God Bless!


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Happy Birthday!

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October is a big month for birthdays around here. For the past 22 years we have celebrated four birthdays (our two oldest kids and my Dad and his Mom).  This year we will add the first birthday of our cutie pie, Squeak, and celebrate her great grandmother’s 95th birthday. Grandma has been an excellent seamstress all of her life making her family’s clothes, teaching her daughters and many, many grandchildren and great grandchildren the fine art of sewing.  Many a grand prize 4-H ribbon has been had under her tutelage and I have done much consulting with her on these bonnets over the past few months as I resurrect my sewing skills.   Here is grandma in a jacket that she made for herself just last year.  Incredible.

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Everything is quilted.  I love the fabrics she picked out.  I think she started in January thinking she would need the time to have it done for Easter… She was finished with the jacket before the end of the month.  Here is the back.

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We are having a big party for this wonderful lady and I am looking forward to seeing family and friends.  Birthdays are something I try to make special and I have always loved to spend some time on the cake.  This year I got inspired to spend a little time on the hat!  Check out this adorable birthday fascinator that I made for Squeak’s first birthday.

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I used pink “Its a girl” ribbon for the embellishments and the trim has adorable puff balls.  Here she is with her cake on the night of her party.

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I have been having problems with my camera and I think that some little fingers were messing with the resolution- but we have to make due.  Here is squeak and her hat close up.

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Well- the midnight oil got lit up and I have been on a run ever since.  I have to share with you my muse…

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Yes, Elizabeth Gaskell period mini-series from the BBC.  A dear friend turned me on to the whole thing.  My most favorite is Cranford. I just love everything about it.  AND the bonnets and hairstyles are just worth singing about.  So I have been up the last few nights- needless to say- and this is what I have come up with.
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These little birthday fascinators are what every little girl needs on her birthday to feel most special.  I found the cutest glittery pink elastic to hold the whole thing on- all the pieces are light as a feather so they are hardly a bother to the birthday girl.  Here is a cute one all in sparkly hearts and lace.

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It has a pink organza fan on a tulle background with a lace and satin yo-yo center all set off by a big, shimmering heart shaped button.  The pink heart lace is very sweet- and everything is set on a base of cotton fabric illustrated with lollipops and cupcakes.  Next I ran with the same theme as the gem I made for squeak and added a silk flower with a sparkly button center.  This one has the adorable puff ball trim that I need to go back to Hobby Lobby and buy a 100 yards of.

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The third one has a bit of the dramatic with this fantastic pink organza fan- also set on a tulle background.  It has a heart shaped button too.  Every time I look at this cute fascinator I think of the movie short of Puss in Boots The Three Diablos.  He goes to this princess who has lost the “Heart of Fire” ruby from her crown.  She says to Puss “My heart has been stolen.” and he says, “I am innocent, I have never seen you before in my life.”

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Finally my favorite birthday hat for babies and toddlers everywhere is a play on the traditional birthday hat shape.  This is a little shorter then the ones you buy.  It is also softer and lighter and just one hundred times more adorable.

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The fabric! The flower! The PUFF BALLS!!  Oh my goodness this is cute on- see our squeak modeling here.

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I can think of all kinds of possibilities here for customization for themed birthday parties.  Princesses, clowns, dinosaurs, elephants, blues, pinks and Fancy Nancy’s… Oh my.  All of these are up at our Etsy shop that you can get to by clicking here or by visiting our page Shop.  You can also contact me directly with an email to GloryBee@GloryBee.us .  I would love to work with you on your next birthday party to help you make it special for your precious blessing.

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God Bless!


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Toot Sweets

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Don’t waste your pucker on some all day sucker
And don’t try a toffee or cream
If you seek perfection in sugar confection
Well there’s something new on the scene
A mouth full of cheer
A sweet without peer
A musical morsel supreme!
Toot Sweets!

Lyrics from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang courtesy of ST Lyrics

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Yes Ladies, Toot Sweets!  These are the cutest fascinators ever!  Just the sweetest morsel of fabric confection that sits atop your little sweetie’s brow.

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Here is our Bubble and Whistle wearing their Toot Sweets after church on Sunday.  Squeak is in the middle with her new fall denim bonnet (for another post). They just sit on their head secured with a couple of bobby pins and what an impression they make. Here is a close up of Whistle’s fascinator.

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The base is made exactly the same as the Tutorial on Fascinating that we showed last weekend.  I made a red satin burnt edge flower and gave it a beautiful button that I found at Hobby Lobby (I love that store and we need to support the owners on their stand for Religious Freedom!). I made a yo-yo of brown broadcloth but did not connect the ends.  The tulle fan is a lovely blue.  Everything is sewn on securely and light as a feather.

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Bubble’s Toot Sweet is also made to match her outfit and has all the same elements.

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She has three yo-yo flowers one made of lace with another great Hobby Lobby button- that red sparkly heart. The split end yo-yo is of red broad cloth and the fan is made of red sparkly tulle.

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A third Toot Sweet that I made that day is of the same style.  It has a base that is made of a fabric that I can’t get enough of- we have made skirts of this gorgeous blue and red rose fabric and I am thinking up more things I can make with it- I think a bonnet in this blue would be lovely too.

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No flower for this one- just a vintage metal button from my grandmother’s collection.  It gives it almost a military sensibility.  Or very patriotic I think.  Here is the close up.

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This is actually the first of the three I made and as I went along I found that I liked the stitched edge detail that I put on the others better than leaving it seemingly unfinished.  These fascinators where all done in an afternoon- you can follow the tutorial that I put up last week and make your own- or contact us here at Glory Bee and we would love to make one for you. GloryBee@GloryBee.us

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You may be wondering what is all the business about wearing hats- it has been so out of fashion.  As a Catholic I have been digging into my faith tradition and found that prior to the changes in the Church brought about with Vatican II in the 1960’s -women have covered their heads in church for centuries.  In scripture St. Paul tells his Church “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2 Part of that tradition is the relationship of man to his God.  In that same chapter St. Paul says that “The head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3  He admonished the church to say that “Any man who prays of prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head- it is the same as if her head were shaven.” 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 Sounds harsh right? And when I am first chewing this scripture I am thinking whoa!  The book that puts me on this path is Colleen Hammond’s Dressing with Dignity -given to me by a brave dear friend-(her website still has many great articles-but it seems to have not been updated since 12/12).  A whole revelation on feminine dignity and how our culture has gone off the rails in terms of the sexulization of its children and the immodesty of their mothers. I am blown away with the idea- so foreign to everything that my youth and the 80’s espoused- that my desire to be sexy in my dress, my striving to elicit the favorable looks of men could potentially be causing them to sin!  Heaping hot coals on my head!  Jesus tells us not to commit adultery- not even in our minds-and here is our culture encouraging us to wow the men and cause envy in the women. Whoa! and double whoa!

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Now I am deeply examining my conscious.  In my faith journey I have fallen deeply in love with the Lord and I want to be pleasing to Him.  I want Him to see me submitting to His authority.  I want Him to see me at Mass approaching His table with the utmost humility and gratefulness for His sacrifice and the gift of salvation that He has given me. So now I join the Saints and women of thousand of years and I cover my head in the house of the Lord.  But the problem we have today in our church is that I feel like my sign of humility before God is taken of a sign of haughty righteousness by the other members of the church.  When I put a traditional mantilla on my daughter of 8 years old a little friend of hers said with great distain “What is that thing on your head?” My heart broke.  So especially for my girls I am creating new and beautiful ways to cover our heads and show God our humility and show our fellow church goers how fashionable and beautiful humility can be.

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I found a great article that really sums up everything I have tried to explain here in a much more succinct and articulate way – with references it is called Ladies in Lace: Catholic Women and Veiling.   Praise be to God!

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God Bless you.


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A Tutorial on Fascinating

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Oh my goodness what fun were we having today! Our oldest daughter and my partner here at Glory Bee -needed a Sunday hat.  We have both been fascinated with fascinators of late and while she was picking up some notions in town I was looking on the web and found an AWESOME millinery called Love Charlie. They have the most beautiful fascinators and inspired our creativity today.  So I thought I would share how you might make your own fascinating fascinator for church next Sunday.

I started with a circle that is 5 1/2 inches in diameter.  I ironed on a Lightweight Fusible Pellon interfacing to the fabric and then put my circle on the Pellon- drew the circle and cut it out as you can see here:

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Yes- the stainless steel bowl is the pattern.  Next I folded the circle in half with the wrong side facing out and sewed a dart about 1/2 inch wide at the outset coming to a point just shy of the middle of the circle like this:

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Then I flipped it over and top-stitched the dart down thinking that this might give me some added stability. I also top stitched the circumference of the circle as well.  That was probably not necessary because as you will see next we decided to add lace to the edge.

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Next I built a fan from black tulle that would serve as a back drop for our embellishments.  My piece of tulle was folded over and about 12-14 inches long.  I run a gathering stich along the bottom, pull them together and tie the threads.

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Next my daughter started putting together the flowers.  The first flower she made was a burnt edge flower from a charcoal-grey synthetic fabric that we had on hand.

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Then she added a white silk flower and a black yo-yo made from a solid black broadcloth.  You see them here with their button centers ready to get sewn onto the hat.

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So now we put it all together and I just can’t get over how cute it is!  Everything is sewn on- the tulle fan we were able to sew on with the machine- so that was great.  Then all the flowers get the Holy Trinity Tack Stich using doubled thread and same treatment for the buttons.

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Here is my beautiful daughter with her beautiful hat!

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The veil is simply a 15 inch (or so) diameter circle cut in a wider net tulle that she folded in half and pinned to her hair before she put the fascinator on.  Everything is held on with a bobby pin or two.  Here is another view.

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How fun.

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If you have an occasion coming up or would like to take your Sunday outfit to the next level- contact us!  We would love to help you out.   God Bless!