I grew up within a very conservative Catholic congregation. And though my mother and I dressed up, there was no "style show" at our church on Easter morning. So, mom and I staked out the nearest Baptist church so we could enjoy a mighty fine parade of fancy head gear. Once, we even dared venture to New York City to participate in the Easter parade, but to our disappointment, it was a far cry from what we had seen in the 1948 film, "Easter Parade" with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. Much later, however, I had the pleasure of being invited to my first Prix de Diane, a "Concours d'Elegance" marrying haute couture, high style millinery and luxury vintage automobiles!
For this Easter, I had planned to do a tutorial on straw hats. Unfortunately I didn't plan my project in time to send off for the proper doll sized materials, so I decided to make my own straw out of raffia. The result was a hat more appropriate for the beach than church, which I will share with you at a later date. So instead, I decided to make something light and very girly.
The Hat Form
For this project (as well as the straw hat we'll make in the future), you'll need a basic hat form. Don't worry, we'll make our own. Actually, I made two. One is made from paper clay (so I could stick pins in it for the straw hats) and the other from oven back clay (to mold hats on). The hat form represents the shape of the hat you're going to make. Will your crown be high or low? Will it be round or square? You decide.
1. To keep things simple, I used a twist tie and wrapped it around the doll's head at the point where the hat will sit on the head. Twist it shut to that it really fits and forms a ring. Now remove it.
2. I formed a small ball of clay, then I put the clay inside of the ring. The clay should fit the ring. Not enough? Add more. Too much? Shave it down. Keep the twist tie on this part of the form until the very end so.
3. Decide how high you want the crown to rise off the top of the head.
4. Add enough clay to match the height of the crown.
5. Now make another ball and flatten out like a pancake. Make it as wide as you think you'll want your brim. (Although, if you decide you want the brim wider later on, you can always tape a round of cardboard to the existing form.)
6. Place the crown on the brim and smooth out the seam where the two match. You can add more clay if necessary. Bake the form (low heat for about 30 min).
Let's get started.
1. To stiffen the lace you need a solution of 1 part craft glue to 1 part water. Stir until well mixed.
2. Cover your hat form with plastic.Cut out one, two (or more) circles. (They don't have to be perfect because you can trimmed this down later.) Dip in the glue solution and lay it over the hat form.
3. Stretch a (non-colored) rubber band around the crown of the form ad let everything dry.
When dry, very carefully remove the plastic from the underside. Carefully remove the rubber bank.
Trim if you need to. Embellish if you so desire. For this hat, I pinned a tuft of the soft scraps to one side. If the hat doesn't fit perfectly, use a hat pin (worked through the hair NOT the doll's head) to hold it in place.
Note: You can make a hat pin with a small bead glued to a straight pin!
Embellish, embellish, embellish!!!!
Unfortunately, the glue residue shows on the underside of the black tulle hat. In order to selvage the original hat, I added a big, fluffy black lace ruffle!
What started out as an ivory tulle hat, turned into another one embellished with lace. This hat was made with two layers of tulle.
Finally, I had the notion to experiment with paper. The steps are the same, but be warned, paper is VERY fragile. The good news is, if holes appear, you can repair them by adding tiny strips of paper! Instead of using rubber bands to hold it to the crown, use twist ties or wire and be very careful when removing them! It will still be shiny on the underside, but it doesn't detract from the look of the hat and that's what counts.
Looking for more ideas? Click here to see last year's hats.
And on that note, me and the gang would like to wish everyone a very HAPPY EASTER!!!
All text and images property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2015.
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