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
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.
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
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.
Scissors; for paper or anything else that isn't fabric!
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
||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,
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
||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
||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
||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
||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
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.