Basic Design Hat
I make my basic designs from a piece of cardstock (cut in oval or circle
as desired) and covered both sides with velvet craft ribbon (glued on),
then as its drying, bend it in the appropriate shape you'd like (I also
cut a whole in middle so it looks like a donut) and then gather a piece
of the velvet ribbon on top and decorate! I made a special millinery hat
stand (wooden) with hole in top to hold it with a pin to decorate
Hat - Simple & Fancy for beginners
Supplies: Iron on stiffener (purchase at K-mart, Target, etc)...comes in
small packages so easy to handle and cheap! Material in silk (my
favorite) or lightweight cotton...scrapes are great! Lace, Bunka,
feathers or silk ribbon for trims. And of course...glue!
Make a pattern from heavy paper...this can be round, oval, triangle or
any shape or size you want. If you've decided on a large hat cut a hole
in the center (or off center if you want it larger on one side). Draw 2
of the pattern on the stiffener and cut out. Iron on to your material
and cut out. Glue these two pieces together... while the piece is drying
shape brim as desired...up down...or keep straight. (I use the insides
of bottles to hold while drying.) Unravel matching or contrasting Bunka
and glue to edges of hat. Then decorate with feathers, ruched ribbon,
lace or silk roses as desired. If you have decided on a large hat and
don't want the hole to show. ..just cover with gathered lace, ruched
ribbon or feathers.
topper for the western cowpoke
Thin leather or buckram
Form - Wooden form (Wal-Mart) or lipstick case, small pill bottle, Magic
Marker top, etc.
Braid, rope or Ribbon
1. Using the thinnest leather available or the tightest woven buckram,
Cut a circle approx 3" in diameter.
2. Smear a dollop of glue over the entire circle, concentrating
primarily on the center.
3. Take the form and cover with plastic wrap and carefully drape the
glue covered leather over it. Be sure that it is evenly draped.
4. Wrap the rubber band tight around the form. Pull out wrinkles as best
5. Let dry
6. Remove from form carefully. Try not to disturb the top of the hat.
Shape a small indentation on the hat, peaking it like a cowboys. Pinch
tightly( the extra glue here will help it retain the shape).
7. Straighten out the folds gently and iron with a warm iron until
8. Cut into a oval shape, trimming until desired size is achieved.
9. Fit to dolls head and glue. Trim with braid, rope or ribbon.
I have used the little crochet doily looking appliques. the kind with
the tiny embroidery flowers in the centers, to make little girls caps,
just gathered slightly to fit the crown of their head!!!
Curling feathers is a bit like curling ribbons on a gift. Take a soft
edge object and by pressing it against the stem of the feather with your
thumb run it from the base to the tip.
I take a dull
scissors and slide along the curve of the feather (kind of like curling
Getting ideas for hats
On Sunday mornings, during church
services, I sketch the hats of the women in my congregation. I make a
mini hat from the sketch.
hat looks great with the netting gathered and glued underneath, with a
pretty bow on top for very basic....and then we can go on from there.
The bow information is below the hat construction info on our web page
I purposely didn't post a finished picture as this 'project' is about
how you DESIGN it and decorate the hat. I gave you the basics and now
its up to you to decorate so pretty! This is the idea, to make you look
at other hat pictures, dissect them and add it to your own hat!
Here is the hat pattern I said I'd send. Hope
it is clear enough to make without having illustrations.
* Cut a circle from heavy pellon
or buckram (a spool of thread could be a good template if you want a
* Rub tacky glue onto one side of
the pellon circle and place it, glued side down, onto the wrong side of
fabric. Iron the two together. Then cut fabric around the pellon so no
fabric extends beyond the pellon.
* Now rub glue onto the other
side of pellon and repeat that step. You now have a circle of pellon
sandwiched between two circles of fabric. They've been glued and ironed
* Glue bunka or other trim all
around the EDGE of the circle to cover the raw edge.
* Cut an X in the middle of the
circle (that will open up when you fit it over the doll's head.
* I prefer to decorate the hat
while it's on the doll's head... so pin or glue the hat to the doll at
this point. Shape the brim as desired... possibly up at the back, and
down at one side... keep working this until you like it. Then prop up
the shape you've chosen by pushing pins part way into the doll's hair
at an angle that they will allow the brim to rest on the protruding pin
head. If necessary crunch of some plastic wrap and stuff it under the
brim to help keep its shape. At this point it's best to let the hat dry
over night. It should retain its shape after the glue has dried.
* Quickie Crown: Cut a circle
from matching (unbacked) fabric approx 1-1/2"in diameter and gather all
around its edge, gather enough so the gathered portion begins to curl
under. Tie off.
* The gathered circle should be a
puff-shape with its raw edges pulled under by the gathers. Glue the
gathered portion of this circle to the top center of the hat (to cover
Or do this instead: Sandwich
pellon or buckram between two pieces of fabric as explained above. Cut,
from that prepared material, a circle approx 1/2" diameter or slightly
larger (depending on how wide your X needs to open in order to fit your
doll's head). This is the top of the crown. Then, from the same
material, cut a 1/8" to 1/4" (your choice) wide strip that is long
enough to fit around the edge of the circle with a slight overlap. Glue
the strip into a circle. Fit, and glue, the top piece inside the
circle strip. You now have a crown that can be glued over the X of the
* Now add trims of your choice.
Some suggestions would be: silk roses, feathers, ruffles of lace, loops
of ribbon, etc. Those trims can be circled around the crown of the hat
as well as covering a portion of the brim.
Hats are not difficult to make,
it just takes a bit of experience and trial and error, to decorate them
in a way that pleases you.
are creating one of those Victorian masterpieces or one of those
incredible things that Marie Antoinette may have worn, check your HO
scale railroad hobby shops for figurines to be set in the hats.
Flowers -check your craft stores. They have some amazing dried flowers
with tiny, tiny blossoms on it that are just perfect for decorating
hats! The same places carry the real small netting to be used for veils
more thing, if making a silk ribbon bow, always let your glue get a
tacky before folding over the ends, this will help keep the glue from
Often you need 2 mm or smaller ribbon for decorating a hat but it
unavailable. Take 4 mm silk ribbon (must be silk) and coat it with tacky
glue, running through your fingernails to scrape off any excess glue...
there should be no glue on the surface of the ribbon. Let dry. You can
now cut the ribbon into what ever width you need... you'll find you can
cut 4 mm into 8 widths with a bit of practice... any irregularities
disappear when made into a bow, so don't worry if your cutting is less
Silk ribbon also dyes beautifully... make ombre type ribbons using water
color along one edge of a dampened ribbon.
Sammy (I'm a girl) Smith
ribbon trims for your hats the long threads in the ribbon can be pulled
to get different effects. For ruching pull a thread on each side of the
For some of my bows I use a Hat Pin with an ear ring back slid down onto
the pin. It can be adjusted to size of loops you want. I take silk
ribbon put it on the pin, a dot of glue, fold ribbon over onto pin
again, dot of glue with each loop, make as many loops as needed . Center
can be finished as desired. Rhinestones , a loop, flowers ,etc.
Bettie in Washington State
To make a little lacy head covering just gather a piece of lace into a
circle and place it on top of the dolls head. Then decorate with some
roses or something. Works great if the back of your wigging job doesn't
look so great.
Our first step into this adventure will be our hat 'base'.
1. Cut out an oval or square or circle that you desire, and the size you
desire on a piece of thin cardstock, like an index card. An approximate
guide is between a quarter and .50 piece.
2. Smear with glue on one side, and let get tacky. Gently press (glue
side down) onto your velvet ribbon's wrong side. Cut shape out. Repeat
for the other side. You should now have a velvet covered base.
3. Cut a tiny hole in base (in center to ease a bit) and pull on, (or
attach with pin) to your hat stand. Shape entire base (while glue is
still drying) with your fingers as desired. When your finished, let dry
for a couple of hours.
-I cut hole out of middle about the size
I want to make the top part of the hat. This allows for more flexibility
-I pinch the very edges together of the velvet ribbon so you can't see
the white cardstock. If necessary, paint a thin line of acrylic paint to
cover white. Some people add a 'bunka' frill to cover edges.
-Try covering velvet ribbon with cut out lace for a Victorian look
The top of hat is made by cutting a rectangle out of velvet ribbon,
gathered around the edges, pulled tight and sewn shut. Next glue this on
top of hat covering hole. Attach to stand with corsage pin while working
MORE HAT INFO
make the brim, (recap) take an index card, cut shape desired out (round
or oblong) and smear glue on both sides letting dry to tacky. Then put
on velvet ribbon (kinda like a baloney sandwich with the index card
being the baloney). The inside hole should be about the size of the
dolls head (if going on a dolls head) or about the size of the top of
the hat stand (so you can easily get it to stay on to work). Shape as
desired while drying.
To make the top, (recap) cut out a rectangle from the velvet ribbon.
Turn it right side up. Gather around the edges of entire
square/rectangle. Pull tight (like an upside down Beret hat), and tie
off. The side pointing up on the hat is the gathered one (see photo) NOT
the smooth side. Put glue on the smooth side and place on hat brim. Pin
in place and let dry. If needed, add a few stitches to get desired
Pistachio Shell Hats
First you go to Wal-mart or some other Variety store and purchase a
large bag of Pistachio nuts in the shell. You take them home, sit down,
relax and eat several, after carefully removing them from the shells.
Now I need to add, it is much better to purchase the natural colored
nuts...otherwise you fingers tend to turn pretty red! You then select
the largest shells for your project. You wash them off, let them dry
well, and then use acrylic paints and paint them all over. If you paint
some in a solid pink for example, and have a pearl sheen nail polish in
a pink shade, you could do the lining in the nail polish. You can use
Bunka to trim around the very edge of the hat. Crown it with tiny
flowers, feathers....the embellishments can be your own. I did a hatlike
this for a contest sponsored by Mab on one of the MSAT lists last year.
I have not been able to locate the picture, but will post to the list
when I find it.
Use mini hat straw to make a hat. First coil the straw, (Remember making
those coils out of clay and making a clay pot?) Stitch the edges of the
coils with needle and thread and keep the coils flat as possible so you
have a flat, round straw mat that looks like a coaster for a glass
drink. Iron flat if necessary. After you have a flat base, then continue
on with the curves of the hat. Sandy's Lace and Trim is the best place
for mini hat
straw. Big tip: See page 56 of the February 2000 issue of Barbie
Bazaar. Six whole
pages of making hats for Barbie dolls. Very creative and interesting!
I read somewhere that an upholstery needle will be the
right size to make roses. I've had the needles for a while but you all
know how it goes, so many projects so little time. The top of the needle
has to be cut off and the needle itself stuck in a piece of wood or some
sort of other base.
used a Gold Eye Chenille Needles No. 18 For Mini Size for silk ribbon
embroidery. Then cut off a piece of dowel rod and drilled a hole in the
end and used good glue to put the needle in.
Hugs, Janet k
use a quilling tool for my roses and it works very well. It is short
enough to keep in the container with the ribbon I am using to make the
roses and the finished flowers.
I came across this web page on how to make silk roses...
thought I would share it with you. If you do not have a rose tool...
take a big eyed needle...
carefully cut the top of the eye off...in a paper bag so it does not
shoot away... and glue the needle into a small dowel. It is a perfect
Here's another site
that shows how to make rosebuds/roses. Has several step-by-step
Marsha, Newark, CA
Another tip on making ribbon roses - Don't pull too tightly! Try to
keep the ribbon loose at the top of the rose and tighter at the bottom
of the rose. Does this make any sense?
Try to practice first with some larger size of ribbon, for example a
piece of about 20 inches long, old Christmas ribbon or such of a widths
of approx. 1 inch.
Fold down one end of the ribbon in a 90°
"close the book", means fold the existing right ankle in half. Now
you start rolling this ribbon shaping petals as you go, by folding the
loose end back and away from you. You sort of wrap the ribbon
around the folded center part, and by folding it away and down you do
shape sort of a curled petal.
In real -life size you would now not glue, but sew the bottom ends of
each round you go to prevent the roll to unravel again. You go on
wrapping and back folding, letting the ribbon as loose as desired to get
a tightly wrapped center and a more and more "loosening" outer petals
Keep sewing the bottom rim of the ribbon
center, which starts to grow to a real "handle" - do not worry, you will
cut off this excess piece later on. When your rose is ready to please
you, sew several times through the entire bottom, then cut off the
excess "handle" and sew down to the place it should
This is - roughly described - the basic way ribbon roses can be done -
and by gradually reducing the width of the ribbon you will come to the
miniature scale- then not holding the ribbon coil in your fingertips,
but using a tool or a large needlepoint needle with a cut-off top. You
won't sew then (I still do, I must admit, as I am allergic to most
glues) but you can glue the single layers after each round.
Silk Roses - Pictures
Priska's site at
http://www.regaliaminiaturedolls.com/ has several "How to's"
including photos that show how to make ribbon roses. It also shows what
a ribbon rose-tool looks like.
Trim & Hat Straw
There is a trim called soutache... It is woven and flat and narrow.
While it does come in colors, I usually see it in white. Being made of
rayon it dyes easily. The nice thing about it is that you can use it
flat or by pulling a thread, it will ruche nicely... creating a little
zigzag type trim. You can pull it as tightly as you want. It looks
wonderful and is so easy. Just be sure to put a dab of glue on the end
before you pull the thread.
Narrow Hat straw will have a usually thin stabilizing string along one
edge. Pull that string gently and it will put a gather in the side of
the straw. This will allow you to make smooth curves in tiny hats... I
make my hats on a piece of plastic wrap, over the pattern. That way if
any glue misses, it just peels right off.
recently bought a packet of twenty-four bridal tulle circles for a very
reasonable price. They were intended to be used in one of those
machines used to make small net bags to hold candy, favors, rice or
birdseed for weddings, etc. The net is tiny, the colors are white and
pale pastels and the circles are large enough to trim hats, make veils,
stockings, tutus for tiny ballerinas, net bodices and sleeves, etc.
Wanna in El Paso
Try using ULTRA SUEDE for making ladies hats. It comes in a multitude
of colors. Use any form to shape very easily using watered down glue and
plastic wrap. You can create beautiful pillboxes with or with a veil.
Wide brimmed Victorian hats, Poke bonnets, even tams and berets. You
don't need interfacing or cardstock for stiffness. This method
eliminates the need for the multi pieces (crown, brim, top, etc. Simply
shape over any form and let dry. If needed, you can spray a small amount
of stiffy or spray starch to hold addl shape. No staining from the
glue!! Decorate with anything you
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