Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hats: Our Cottage Industry

My husband is a hat-maker, and really, he's quite exceptional at what he does. I've been wanting to introduce his little cottage industry for a while, so welcome to our garage studio fully equipped with sewing machines galore and a whole lot of recycled wool.

He started this business over ten years ago back in Portland, Oregon where all the hip cyclists reside. It was easy to sell these fit-under-your-helmet caps, made from recycled wool garments, with this kind of audience, but slowly the other hat makers crept into the scene while Shaun was busy learning to build shelters in Forest Park and tanning roadkill squirrel hides (you gotta start somewhere, right??) So, although many folks in Portland own a Deller hat, the market there is pretty much maxed out. But! he's just getting started on the rest of the world. Deller Designs has an Etsy shop that has been doing exceptionally well this year as people are realizing, like every year when it gets cold, that they need a warm, wooly cap while riding their bikes around town.

This year, for Deller Designs, is one of birthing new ideas, new patterns, new hats. It is expanding beyond the cyclist scene to anyone, really, that likes to be outdoors and has a sense for the old-timey look. Shaun has been doing more lined hats, children's cashmere caps, Sherlock Holm's and Stormy Cromer (sp?) hats, and Irish and English-style hats. Just last week, he made a waxed-canvas baseball cap with beeswax from a local beekeeper! The material is an old pair of Dockers lined in a red merino wool sweater. It's really something…

This is one of the many projects we piecemeal together to live this homestead-y lifestyle. Production sewing can often times be challenging and it really is feast or famine with products like this…but we've held onto it, in varying degrees, for over a decade and it still's here. So Shaun will keep making hats, I'll scrounge for wool garments and we'll make it somehow, as we always do.