The Lucent visor from Pattern Fantastique is a piece of work, and I mean that in the best way. When I showed it to the hubs, he called it my “bonnet,” but quickly added, “It’s a cool, modern bonnet.”
I’ll take it! I refer to my Lucent visor as my “urban bonnet,” in homage to the urban sombrero on “Seinfeld” — except the Lucent visor is no joke.
Materials and Size
The Lucent visor is sized in an unusual way. Instead of choosing a size based on your head circumference, you choose a brim size — small, medium, or large. I went with the small, because I have a small head and didn’t want to be overwhelmed by the brim. As you can see, the small is plenty large.
The fabric is novelty cotton that was an impulse buy. It had been languishing in my stash for a year or two, and since I only had a yard or so of it, a hat seemed like a good application.
Let’s talk about what goes into the Lucent visor. The pattern calls for some uncommon materials: plastic millinery wire and one-side-fusible buckram.
Uh, yeah, guess how successful I was sourcing these at Jo-Ann.
It took a bit of internetting to find the plastic millinery wire. I ordered from Judith M. Millinery Supply House, which is based in Indiana. The store sells it by the yard, and because it’s in Indiana, as a Wisconsin resident, I knew shipping would be fairly quick.
Now. That one-side-fusible buckram.
In case you don’t know (and I didn’t before making the Lucent visor), buckram is a stiff woven cloth that’s used in drapery and costuming. It adds body. It’s like interfacing on steroids.
Pattern Fantastique recommends woven, 100 percent cotton, one-side fusible buckram. The only buckram I could find at Jo-Ann was not fusible and smelled weird. Plus, it wasn’t washable, and while the pattern instructions don’t call for washable buckram, washability was important to me.
I did do a lot of internet searching for one-side-fusible buckram, but I wasn’t keen on my results, and I didn’t want to pay and wait for shipping.
My buckram substitute is this: Pellon Flex-Foam one-sided fusible stabilizer (aff link). (It’s style #FF78F1 if you’re looking for it at Jo-Ann or from another vendor. I bought it by the yard.) The Flex-Foam is washable, and it’s recommended for hats.
It does cause that scrunched-foam thing on the bottom (inside) of the brim, but I can deal with it. (Watch my vid to see what I’m talking about.) From the top/outside, the foam is smooth. I’m glad I went with a fusible product vs. going with the non-fusible buckram I found at Jo-Ann. I think getting all the visor layers in place without fusible would have been a pain in the heinie.
How I Sewed the Lucent Visor
To sew the thickest layers of my Lucent visor, I busted out my walking foot (aff link) and applied my lowest presser foot pressure. It worked like a charm, with no struggles and no skipped seams. Highly recommend.
I also used Clover Wonder clips (aff link) instead of pins. Pins likely would have been beastly to get through all those layers. To compare, clips were easy to snap in place, and all the layers didn’t shift and aligned magnificently. Also highly recommend.
What’s Great About the Lucent Visor
You see this brim. I come with my own shade when I wear my Lucent visor. My fair complexion forces me to be militant about sun exposure (I burn so, so easily), and this visor keeps the sun off my face better than any other hat I own.
The visor is oversized — even the “small” brim is humongous — and unique. The Lucent makes a statement.
The Stash Busting
You could make this visor from multiple pieces of low yardage. A patchwork approach could be cool.
This is an easy pattern to execute. All steps are photographed — EVERYTHING. And when I ran into a head-scratching issue, I went back to the COLOR instructions (my hard copy is in black and white) and quickly understood where to go next. My hat/visor tips to Pattern Fantastique for user friendly directions!
What Could Be Better
As much as I’m into this visor, my sewing of it could have gone more smoothly. Learn from my hardships!
The directions call for sewing a bar tack in the crown. The bar tack sews the crown to the band at the bottom corner where the band and crown come together.
The instructions show this bar tack happening at the edge of the bias binding of the crown… but the plastic millinery wire is at the edge of the bias binding at this point.
I wasn’t not confident I could shift the wire inside the bias binding channel away from the edge AND sew a decent-looking bar tack through four layers of fabric and a layer of elastic. I had visions breaking a needle on the wire and/or the feed dogs failing to move all the layers and ending up with a gigantic mound of satin stitching. These possible outcomes were sad and gross.
I ended up putting the bar tacks in middle of the bias binding (safely from the internal wire), and the tacks are vertically centered on the band. I don’t think the visor suffers because of this alteration. You can see what I’m talking about in detail in the pattern review video above.
Brim and Crown Seam Allowance
The instructions call for serging this seam to finish it. My first pass at serging wasn’t great, so I unpicked it and did it again — this time trimming the seam allowance ever so slightly. This was a mistake. This little seam allowance is where the band attaches to the rest of the visor. So if you serge some of it away… Egads, the stitching between my band and the crown/brim combo is U-G-L-Y. It works, but I made things hard for myself. The moral of the story is: Do not trim the crown-brim seam allowance.
The directions call for 1 millimeter to 1.5 millimeter plastic millinery wire — and jewelry crimps twice the size of your wire. So I go to Jo-Ann and buy crimps with a measurement of “3.” The units of this “3” are not clear, but what the hey: 1.5 times 2 is 3, so I should be good.
Bah ha ha, heck no. Maybe “3” is the crimp circumference? You’re supposed to thread a bit of wire through the crimp, turn back the wire tip, and thread the wire tip back through the crimp so you’re left with a small wire loop that’s easy to guide through the bias binding channel. Um yeah, there only was room for wire moving in one direction through that crimp when I did this. Those crimps were a definite no-go.
So I scrapped the crimps and fed the “raw” end of the wire through the binding. The directions suggest wrapping the wire tip in masking tape in case you don’t have a crimp; the masking tape is supposed to make threading easier. I had no problems maneuvering the wire sans taped tip.
Speaking of crimps, after you’ve threaded the wire, you’re supposed to cut it with a fair amount of overlap at the ends. Then you thread both ends through another crimp to create a tidy loop. Again, with my crimp issue, there was no chance of threading two pieces of wire through one tiny crimp hole.
In the end, I didn’t make a loop. I overlapped the length of wire by about an inch and topstitched the bias-binding opening. The ends of the wires do poke up a little bit, but it’s not enough to keep me from living my life. I also show this mod in detail in the vid.
Snip to Lay Flat
The instructions call for you to make a small snip through the brim and crown at the edge. This is so the visor is flat (flat like a pancake) for sewing the bias binding around the edge.
MAKE THIS SNIP AS SMALL AS POSSIBLE. If the snip is too large, it won’t be covered by the bias binding and its raw edges will show.
Now, a dab of Fray Check (aff link) will prevent a true crisis. But do yourself a favor and make your visor more beautiful by keeping those snips itty-bitty. I show my lightly fraying snips in the video.
To determine how much bias binding you’ll need to finish the edge of the crown and brim, you pin the binding around the perimeter and mark the overlap. From the overlap point, you add 2 centimeters and trim the excess. I found that I didn’t need the 2 centimeters and ended up removing length as I finished sewing the binding to the visor. The resulting seam is a little wonky.
My advice is to mark the binding overlap, add the seam allowance, and sew it. The additional 2 centimeters is an insurance policy to make sure your binding will make it all the way around. But between marking the overlap and the bias binding being stretchy, you’ll be fine.
Following are Amazon affiliate links chosen for you! If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!
HONEYSEW Bias Tape Maker Set 6 mm/9 mm/12 mm/18 mm/25 mm: With this set of bias tape makers, perfectly matched tape always will be an option.
Distinctive Adjustable Guide Sewing Machine Presser Foot – Fits All Low Shank Snap-On Singer, Brother, Babylock, Euro-Pro, Janome, Kenmore, White, Juki, New Home, Simplicity, Elna More!: A walking foot comes in handy a surprising amount of the time.
Fiskars J Forged Embroidery Scissors, 4 Inch: This are my thread snips, and I love them so. They’re super sharp and often found hanging around my neck.
Dritz Fray Check Liquid Seam Sealant Glue Bonus Value Pack – 2 Bottles 3/4 Oz: A really good thing to have in your sewing gear.
Madeira Assorted Viscose Rayon Machine Embroidery Thread 200 m x 18 Colors: Should you be interested in embroidering your Lucent visor, might I suggest investing in some shiny embroidery thread? It looks nicer than all-purpose poly.
Make an eye-catching visor out of a bold quilting cotton print! I suggest designs from Anna Marie Horner, Tula Pink, or Kaffe Fassett. (What can I say? I go for bold.)
Pellon Flex-Foam One-Sided Fusible Stabilizer: This foam interfacing was a fine substitute for buckram.
Clover Wonder Clips, Red, 50-Pack: These clips are one of those products-with-a-million-uses-type gizmos.
Brilliant Lucent Visor Ideas
I got quite excited sewing my Lucent visor, thinking about all the different directions you could go with it.
You could monogram the crown, brim, or headband. Why not experiment with those embroidery and other fancy stitches on your sewing machine? I’ve always thought it would be cool to do a “TCB” (taking care of business) monogram.
Get Crazy with It
The Lucent visor is your opportunity to buy those bananas quilting fabrics that you always pass with a small ache in your heart. GO FOR IT. Or find a novelty print to represent your favorite sports team; I’m kinda hot to sew a Lucent visor in University of Wisconsin fabric (aff link). ALSO: Think about how cute it would be to have matching visors for a bachelorette party or family reunion!
Sweat in It
This visor has been my go-to headwear for sunny days, and sunny days often are sweaty days. You easily could sew a wicking fabric into the headband.
OK, I think I’ve rambled long enough about my fancy-schmancy visor. In case you hadn’t noticed, I like it A LOT. 😍 Over to you: Have you made a hat? If yes, how did it go? If no, do you have interest in sewing a chapeau? How do you feel about visors in general? Before I sewed the Lucent, I was so-so about them. Now I think I need more in my life!
P.S. ICYMI, here’s the previous post: Simplicity 8379: The Manta Ray Dress. Yup, it’s a dress shaped like a manta ray.