These whimsical cocktail hats were all the rage in the early 1940's. In '41, Paris was showing little hats that resembled nests fashioned with tiny stuffed birds and fabric fruit. These delightful hats are also very easy to make for your favorite fashion dolls. In the example shown above, I used 1/4" wide black, textured trim for the base and added a bird that I purchased from a craft store. The veiling and marabou feathers were salvaged from an old vintage hat.
To get started, you will need to gather a few supplies: scissors, straight pins, scotch tape or Fray Check, needle, thread, glue (I recommend Fabri-Tac by Beacon), and assorted trims. Most of these items are readily available at your local fabric or craft store. You can also check out eBay and the Internet for vintage resources. I often check local flea markets and antique malls for vintage veiling, feathers, birds, millinery floral, buttons, and jewelry pieces that can be utilized as decorations.
|Click photo to enlarge|
You will need approximately 1/2 yard of cording or narrow braid trim for the hat base. If needed, apply a small piece of scotch tape to the ends to prevent raveling. You could also use a dab of Fray Check and let it thoroughly dry. Begin winding the braid slowly into a spiral shape, pinning as you go. Once you have reached your desired size, trim ends and tuck underneath the base. With a needle and thread, either whip stitch or simply run the threaded needle through the spiral a few times in different directions to secure. If you use a textured braid and matching thread, your stitches won't show. Not handy with a needle and thread? You could also use glue to form the spiral. You now have a flat cartwheel shape that is ready to trim. Trims can be attached either by stitching or gluing. I usually start with veiling that has been whip stitched to the base, then begin layering on additional trims such as birds, feathers, leaves, etc.
Our fabulous cocktail hat is the perfect accessory to Madame Alexander's 2001 "Afternoon Out" sheath ensemble. Gloves, purse, and shoes are from Ashton Drake, Bracelet from Facets by Marcia, Fur drape from PD Root.
This fanciful concoction is also the perfect topper for "Just My Type" tweed suit from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection. Gloves from Integrity, purse from Tonner, fur from Bandolier Morado by Sandra Stillwell. My model/muse has been Ashton Drake's "A Lady Knows" Gene Marshall enhanced with an Integrity articulated body.
In this example, I made bias strips from the fashion fabric using a 1/2" tape maker to make a bias binding. The binding is then folded in half and rolled as shown. Don't be afraid to experiment with different materials and widths for your hat base.
|OOAK Cocktail Ensemble by The Couture Touch|
In a private collection