In part one of this tutorial, you learned the basic constructions for a flat crowned, wide brimmed hat.  Now comes the fun part.  Your decorations and trimmings can be elaborate or simple, colorful or monochromatic, modern or Victorian.  You can do a very tailored look using bunka and minimal trims, or a fussy Victorian look with flowers, feathers, lace, ribbons or just about anything else your imagination can come up with!

Here are a few basic techniques to get you started.


Pleated Ribbon Trim

2 mm silk ribbon pleated, applied, and edged with bunka trim
Determine the length of trim you want to make and multiply by 3.  Use your cards to pleat the ribbon, keeping it in a straight line as you pleat.
Use clear water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist, and allow to dry completely.  If you are impatient, grab the hair dryer.


Glue your trim as desired to your hat
Glue bunka along both sides of ribbon pleating


My bowmaking tool is simply a needle placed into a wooden handle.  The length of the needle determines the size of the bow.  The loops of the bow will be 1/2 as long as the length of the ribbon, and I have made these tools in a variety of sizes so that I can make my bows any size I need.
Put 7mm piece of silk ribbon over the needle, leaving a tail if desired.  Put a tiny drop of glue on the ribbon next to the needle.
Hold the ribbon down on the tool, and pull the long end of the ribbon up the full length of the needle tool, then insert the needle into the ribbon and push down into the glue, forming a loop.
Turn your tool slightly, and repeat, making another loop.
Continue in this manner till your bow is full and fluffy.  On the last loop, measure the ribbon against the needle, and cut ribbon just beyond this.  Turn under the end of the ribbon before pushing the needle thru to hide the end of the ribbon inside this last loop.
Add ribbon tails to your bow if desired.  Be sure to cut the ends of the tail at an angle, or fishtail them so that they won't unravel.

Pleat very wide silk ribbon and cover the entire underside of your brim. 
Fill in areas between silk ribbon roses with lots of ribbon loops.  Just apply glue to the area, and use your needle tool to make loops and push into glue.  Remember to turn the ribbon to different angles as you work, so that your loops won't all be facing the same direction.  Stop occasionally and add a rose or two, and a leaf, and keep looping.  This is easy, and oh so elegant.


Tulle, netting, bridal illusion.... no matter what you call it, it is a favorite fabric for trimming a hat.  Look for the finest tulle you can find, usually in the bridal section of your fabric store.  Make sure that it is soft and pliable.  And since it usually comes 108" wide, an eighth of a yard will last you a long, long time!

Make fluffy tulle bows, using a length of tulle 1" x 12". Fold long raw edges to inside, form loops and tack center of bow with needle and thread.  Spread netting in loops out till full and fluffy.

You can also gather up tulle and wrap it around the crown of your hat for a fluffy hatband.

Lace can be used as a lovely gathered trim around the outside of a hat, by substituting  it for the ribbon ruffle glued between the brim and brim lining as shown in Lesson One.
You can cover the entire brim of your hat with lace.  Choose a fine cotton lace, with a pattern in a suitable scale.  It should be at least the width of your brim, but may also be a bit wider to extend beyond the brim. Measure around the crown of your hat, and multiply by 2. Cut your lace this length. 

Gather the straight edge of the lace.  Run a bead of glue around the base of the crown, and position the lace, adjusting the gathers evenly around the brim, and folding under the end before gluing the ends together.  You can leave the finished edge of lace loose, or gather and glue to edge of brim and finish with other trims as in photo.

You can also make tiny puffs of lace using the same technique as shown for making netting puffs, and insert these among your ribbon roses.

Use bunka or tiny braid to accent the edges of your brim, or to outline the top of a crown.
Use bunka to cover the area between the brim and brim lining.



Ladies hats have been decorated with everything imaginable at one time or another.  Silk flowers of every type, velvet blossoms, and fruits, even elaborate feathered birds were all used to embellish hats.  Remember, in  Victorian times, a ladies hat made more than just a "fashion" statement.  A woman's hat reflected her good taste and breeding, her fashion savvy, her age, social position, and even her husband's wealth.  The more elegant and elaborate, the better.  All within good taste, of course.



Ribbon Roses

Ribbon roses are a traditional embellishment for miniature costumes and hats.  They are lovely and easy to make.  For those of you who haven't made miniature ribbon roses, you will need a rose tool, 4 mm wide silk ribbon, and glue in a syringe applicator.

Roses can be made with solid colored ribbon, or a varigated or ombre (shaded) ribbon can be used for a multi-color effect

Insert the end of your ribbon thru the eye in the tool, leaving a 1/4" length extending beyond the eye.  Apply a dot of glue to the end of the ribbon and fold over, encasing the tool in the ribbon loop. 
Twist the tool clockwise 3-4 times, wrapping the ribbon around the tool.  Place a small dot of glue at the base of the wound ribbon, and twist, anchoring the long end of your ribbon into the glue.
Twist your ribbon 1 turn, making a fold, and bring the ribbon around, creating a petal.  Anchor this petal with a small dot of glue.  Be sure to place the glue at the base of your rose, so that the petals will remain soft and loose.
Twist and glue ribbon again, forming another petal.
Continue in this manner until you are satisfied with your rose.
Anchor the end of the ribbon with a dot of glue, and trim.  Gently slide your lovely rose off the tool, and allow to dry. 
When your rose is dry, you can trim off the pointed bottom portion, being careful not to trim away too much, or your rose will fall apart


Always a traditional hat adornment.  In victorian times, feathers were dyed, cleaned, and even recycled into plume "trees" 
To curl a feather, use sharp scissors, and a light touch.  You can curl the entire feather by running the spine of the feather against the scissor blade in the same way you curl ribbon for gifts!

Feathers can also be curled by wraping around a round object and holding over steam.

To get an ostrich plume look, separate sections of the feather, and curl them under, using the scissors in the same manner as when curling spine of feather.  Use gentle pressure, or you will remove all of the fluff!


Find tiny colorful feathers to cover an entire brim.  Make sure that the feathers you choose are small, and well matched in size and color. 

Use only a small bit of glue on the underside spine of the feather, and position onto the hat crown.  DO NOT coat the entire undersurface of the feather.  They stop looking like feathers when they are all stuck together with glue!

Other Flowers

Tiny handmade enamel look wire edge flowers
These daisies were made using a paper punch, and white paper.    The edges of the petals of are colored with water colors.  Center is from a glass head pin, painted to match.  Entire flower is then coated with modpodge.
These tiny violets were made using sculpy and a small flower punch.  Punch out flower, shape into a cupped form, and bake.  Then paint centers with bright yellow, and seal with modpodge.

No Hole Beads

Red no-hole beads on fine wire make these tiny berries.  Just dip the end of the wire into glue, then dip into beads, and gently coax the beads into shape.  Allow to dry, then coat with modpodge.
Pretty sprays of pearl no hole beads on wire look like baby's breath among the ribbon roses.

Fruits and Veggies Anyone?

 Model tiny fruits from sculpey or fimo and bake.  Then, use flocking to replicate those gorgeous Victorian velvet fruit and vegetable hat trimmings.


Birds were a very popular hat ornament in Victorian times.  Some were real, preserved birds, others used real plumage on paper mache forms.  Use a tiny plastic dove, found in the wedding area of your craft store, and cover with feathers. 

Next Lesson... Molded Crowns and Wired Brims.

See You Then!


Copyright: Cynthia Howe, 2002

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