Welcome to my millinery tutorial.  Miniature hats are a fun and creative project.  The styles, trimmings, and variations are endless.  The methods I will show you are the same basic techniques that I use when making my own miniature hats.  The are a combination of research, experimentation, and lots and lots of mistakes.  

Everyone develops their own methods, and I encourage you to develop your own.  My techniques reflect the things that are most important to me.  All of the edges of my hats, inside and out are completely finished, with no raw edges anywhere.  This means extra work, but a well finished hat is important to me.  You may decide to eliminate some of these steps in order to simplify construction.  Scale is also very important to me, and since I am also a doll maker, these hats are sized to be in scale both in miniature room settings and to fit well on my miniature dolls.  Remember that some of those elaborate hairdo's we put on our dolls need to be considered when making a hat.

Enough lecturing, let's make a hat!


Card Stock: paper 8 1/2"  x 11" to use in your printer

Aleen's Designer Tacky Glue (my favorite)

Wonder Under or other double sided fusable adhesive

Fabric 6" x 6" piece will make one hat.  I only use light to medium weight silks, but rayon is also glueable, and less expensive so it is a good fabric to use to practice with.

Laces:  An assortment of narrow cotton laces is wonderful to have on hand.

Silk Ribbon:  1/8" and 1/4" widths are generally used, and you will find that you can never have enough colors!

Trimmings:  Yes, there are always ribbon roses, but lesson two will take you beyond the ribbon rose and give you lots of ideas for other wonderful trimmings.

"Good" Scissors:  Small, Sharp scissors for fabric and ribbon ONLY.

"Not-so-Good" Scissors;  for paper or anything else that isn't fabric!

Needle Tool

Rose Making Tool

Fine point glue syringe


Patience;  Not available in any stores, but a must have for fiddly mini work.  With time, you will find that the more you have, the less you need.


The pattern used for this tutorial is available for download from 



So that we will all be using the same pieces at the same time, here is a diagram of the three basic parts of a hat.  Regardless of style, most hats consist of these three pieces.


Cut a piece of wonder under just smaller than your cardstock pattern sheet.  Place the pattern face down on your ironing board, and place the wonder under face down on the back of your pattern.  (Paper side of wonder under will be facing up.  If not, prepare to clean your iron!)

Using medium heat, and firm pressure, fuse the wonder under to the back of the pattern sheet.  Allow to cool, the peel the paper backing off.  If backing does not come off easily, reheat till it is well fused, and try again.

Cut out your pattern pieces, cutting just inside the lines.    Place your fabric right side down on your ironing board.  Arrange the pattern pieces on the fabric with the wonder under side down. 

IMPORTANT:   Leave 1/2" between each piece in every direction!


Cut out each pattern piece, leaving 1/4" around all outside edges.  

For the tip piece, cut this out right along the edge of the cardstock edge.  Now, fuse a scrap of wonder under to the uncovered side of the tip, and fuse fabric to this side, and trim.  Both sides of the tip should be covered with fabric now, and trimmed neatly around cardstock base.

Cut small notches around the outside edges of the brim pieces.  When notching, use those Good scissors, and cut right up to, but not thru the card stock base.
Now cut carefully between the ends of the brim pieces, and into the inner circle.  Trim the inner circle, leaving 1/4" around the inside edge.  Also, cut off the corners on ONE end of the brim only.
Cut notches along both long edges of the crown pieces.  Study the picture and see that the corner pieces on one end of the crown have been clipped.

 To finish the brim edges, run a small, narrow bead of glue along the edge of the cardstock.  It doesn't take much, especially if you are using  Designer Tacky.  Work small sections at a time, and fold the notches over into the glue.  Your needle tool is helpful with this step, particularly if you don't like sticky fingers!  Repeat for the center portion of the crown.  Fold and glue the end of the crown that was notched.  Leave the other end to extend as a tab.  This is important, as you will need this tab later to hold things together.
Finish the edges of the crown pieces in the same manner, making sure that you glue under the notched end, and leave the other end extended as a tab.

Very good!  Now get up and stretch, wash those sticky fingers,  have a glass of ice tea, then we'll go on to the next step!




Before you assemble your pieces it is a good idea to check that they will all fit together properly.  Yes, the pattern is correct, but in this small scale, the thickness of the fabric you have chosen can make a big difference in how well some of these parts will fit together. Always test fit before gluing.

Glue the ends of your  brim pieces together.  Place a small amount of glue on the tab extension on your brim piece, then overlap the finished end, and glue into place.  You will be able to feel when the cardstock base edges meet.  Your brim now has a nice curved shape.  Repeat this step for the remaining brim, but remember that this one will be a lining, so it needs to be concave instead of convex, so that you will have a pair!  (Now you know what that little tab was for, right?)
Hold your crown piece together at the ends, forming a circle, overlapping the tab in the same way you did when gluing the crown.  Slip this piece into the center of the brim and check to see that it will fit.  If you have used a heavy fabric,  the ends may overlap beyond the tab area.  You don't want this extra bulk.  If this is the case, make a note of how much the cardstock is overlapping.  Peel a small portion of your fabric  off the cardstock, and trim the length of the cardstock as necessary, and re-glue the fabric.  You should never have to trim more than 1/8" or so, unless you are using fabric that is really heavy.
When you are satisfied that your crown fits your brim nicely, glue the ends of the crown together, overlapping the finished end of the brim over the tab.
Now test fit your crown lining in the same  manner, holding the ends together with tab overlapped,  and fitting it inside the crown.  Since this is the lining, the fabric needs to be facing the inside of the circle this time. If everything fits nicely, remove lining, coat the inside of the crown with a thin layer of glue, and glue lining into place, matching the seams of both pieces.
Now it is time to attach your lined crown to your brim piece.  Run a Very small bead of glue around the bottom outer edge of the crown.  Slide your brim down over the top of the crown till the bottom of the crown and the underside of the brim are even.  Be sure to match up the seams of your crown and brim.  There is no way to avoid seams, but they are much less obvious if they are lined up neatly.
Seat your crown piece so that the bottom edge extends just slightly to allow for the thickness of the brim lining.


At this point, you will need to make some decisions about how you want your finished hat to look.

If you are making a very tailored style, you can now glue your brim lining into place, and then run a length of bunka around the brim edge to cover the joint.

I prefer to use a gathered ruffle of either silk ribbon or lace around the brim, and the best way to apply it is to place it between the brim and the brim lining.  This way it conceals the joint, is well anchored, and the glued edges of the trim are concealed between the layers.  The steps below will show how I apply the gathered ribbon trim.  You can substitute fine cotton laces, and apply in the same manner, by drawing up the header thread in the lace, then gluing around the outer edge of the crown.


  Working in small sections, apply a line of glue to the outer edge of the brim.  Using your needle tool, anchor the end of the ribbon into the glue, with the end of the ribbon facing the center of the hat.  


Move your needle tool down the length of your ribbon 1/8" or so, and push the bulk of the ribbon into the glue.  Reposition your needle tool again, and push, making gathers in the ribbon and anchoring into the glue simultaneously.

You can always pull a thread in the ribbon to gather, but I find this method works better for me.   Be sure to keep just the edge of the ribbon in the glue so that your ruffle will be the same width all the way around the brim.


  Working small sections at a time, apply ribbon around the entire brim, bringing the end of the ribbon again toward the center of the hat and gluing to anchor.  Trim.
  Apply a thin coat of glue over the entire surface of the brim lining.  Glue lining into place, matching the seams of both the brim and lining.
  Test fit your tip piece to see if any adjustments need to be made.  It should fit snugly into the top of the crown, and rest on top of the crown lining.  If it is too large, carefully trim, keeping the circle nice and round.
  Run a tiny bead of glue inside the crown, on the top of the crown lining.  Place the tip piece in place.


That's it!  Now the fun begins!  Your basic hat can be decorated in unlimited ways.  The Part 2 of this tutorial  will be all about trimmings and embellishments.

Here are some pictures of this basic hat decorated in different styles.


With the construction techniques you have just learned, you can make any style hat you desire.  The slightest alteration in the shape of any of the pieces will dramatically change the style of your hat.  Even the styles below are just a brim, crown and tip, with the shapes of each piece changed to create the appropriate style.


In Part 3, you will learn to wire a brim, and how to make a molded crown.  The black hat above uses a wired brim, and the hats below all have molded crowns.


Copyright: Cynthia Howe, 2002

Thank you for visiting my site, 
and taking an interest in my class.
Just as a gentle reminder, 
This class has been designed 
to help you learn the basics of hat making. 
Please visit this site as often as you like,
to help you with your hat making skills. 
This class, photos, & instructions are 
copy-righted & are not to be used 
as a tutorial of your own.