I've been promising this post for quite a while, especially to members of Craftsforum. I first found the basic method for making a miniature felt hat in a doll's house magazine seven years ago. When mulling over the original article I came to realise how much I've changed the method to meet my requirements, so the how-to you now find below is my own.
Being the proud owner of a miniature Victorian pub, The Acton Bell Inn, I've had a go at making various hats over the years. I imagine there would be a fair few hanging up inside the pub's door, and my landlady has quite a penchant for ornate hats, too. In fact, the hats have arrived in the doll's house before the lady herself!
I've made hats in the style of later periods too, such as my favourite cloche.
Best of all, they're really easy to make. Here's how:
You will need:
- Felt in your chosen colour
- PVA glue
- A paintbrush
- An elastic band
- A bottle with a smallish lid
- Ribbon in your chosen colour
- Spray starch
A word about choosing a bottle - your bottle will be the mould for your hat's crown. You need a lid that will allow your finished hat to remain in proportion to your miniature project, or doll's head, and the shape you'd like the crown to be. I've always found a nail varnish remover bottle lid to be perfect, because it's the right diameter, and has a rounded top. A more flat lid will give you the shape for a boater, top hat, etc., so try different lids and see what you like best.
1. Cut out a square of felt, big enough to cover the top and sides of your bottle lid. Cover the lid in a layer of clingfilm, place your felt over the top, and then smooth down and secure in place with an elastic band.
You won't be able to smooth out every pleat in your felt, but stretch it slightly over the lid and arrange it to reduce the pleats as much as possible.
2. Coat your hat's crown in a layer of watered down PVA glue, down to the elastic band, then leave to dry overnight. Once dry and hardened, remove the hat from the bottle, and cut around the elastic band, so you are left with your crown shape.
3. Place your crown back on its mould. Cut out a circle of felt, approximately 6cm diameter. I haven't owned a compass since school so I just used the inside of a plastic bangle. We're ensuring your brim is extra big (sombrero!) so we have room to trim it into your chosen style. Fold your circle in half, then into quarters. Cut off the point of this shape, so you have a hole in the middle of your circle. Try placing it over the crown of your hat. It will probably be too small, so keep trimming a tiny amount at a time until the brim fits snugly over the crown. Then shuffle the brim up to the top of your crown, paint a line of PVA where you want the brim to sit, then glue the brim into place.
4. You now have your basic hat shape!
Trim your brim (rhymes!) to the style you prefer, then spray with starch and leave to dry. You'll have a join where you attached the two pieces, so just cover this up with your ribbon. You can then let your imagination run wild with ideas for decorating your hat. I love using feathers, mini silk flowers, and collect old earrings because they make expensive-looking embellishments.
The ribbons that are sewn into clothing to keep them on the hanger are the ideal width for miniature projects.
I'm always so inspired by the work of milliner Louise Pocock:
|Above three photos from Louise Pocock's website|
If you'd like to see more hattish goodness, pop back later in the week!
Enjoy your Monday,