Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Vintage-Style Hat for Gene Marshall

It's that time of the year again when all eyes are on a ladies Easter bonnet. You can easily make your own 1940's disk-style tilt hat for Miss Marshall. Here's what you will need:

Fabric of your choice
matching thread
buckram  (available at most fabric stores or millinery supply shops)
assorted trimmings
straight pins
glue  (I use Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives)
Fray Check or Fray Block by June Tailor (optional)

Draw a circle on the buckram and cut out. I used a glass that measured just under 2 1/2" in diameter as a guide. You can make your hat smaller or larger. The beauty of buckram is that it can be shaped while wet and when it is dry, it will hold it's shape. I use it for many of my hats. Cut out a circle of fabric 3/8" larger than the buckram circle. If your chosen fabric is loosely woven, I recommend you apply either Fray Check or Fray Block to the outer edge of the fabric to help prevent raveling.

Run a gathering stitch around the fabric approximately 1/8" from the edge. Center the buckram and gently pull the gathers around the disk.

Tighten the gathers around the buckram and secure thread with a knot.  Cut out a circle in felt approximately 1/8" to 1/4" smaller than your hat.

Center the felt circle and pin. Hand stitch the felt circle to the hat with a tiny whip-stitch. This clean-finishes the underside of your hat.

Now for the fun part.  Embellish your hat as desired. The floral spray was tacked to the hat with hand stitching. The remaining flowers, leaf, and bird were glued in position. It's best to work from the back of the hat forward once the foundation pieces have been attached. Netting, feathers, miniature birds, ribbons, beads, buttons, braids, and flowers are readily available at local craft and fabric stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics, etc. I also look for vintage millinery pieces at flea markets and antique malls. And as you know, I also like to re-purpose items I already own.

And Viola! You now have a smart new hat for Miss Marshall.  Jacket is from Ashton Drake's "Doing Her Part", scarf from Mattel, and fur from miniature furrier PD Root.

And just to get your creative juices flowing......

George Beigel tilt hat using a fabulous white ostrich feather, velvet ribbons, & flowers, circa 1940's.
Bes Ben hat, circa 1944
Joan Crawford, circa 1940's
Photo courtesy

And 4 more courtesy



  1. Just came across this site and this section is very inspirational! Great way to use up an accumulation of odds and ends! thanks so much!!!

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your comment. Melissa