How to Make & Trim Your Own Hats

Written by victoria martin
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Make & Trim Your Own Hats
Making your own hat for a special occasion gives you a memorable adornment that invites compliments. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The art of making hats, or millinery, has produced practical or gorgeous head adornments for centuries. While styles may come and go, the actual art continues to rely on tools particular to both millinery and sewing. Making a basic hat can is a fairly simple process involving a series of several steps. Depending on the occasion you plan to wear the hat for, making the trim for a hat is a matter of style, taste, and imagination.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Heavyweight buckram
  • Thread
  • Heavy duty thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Fabric glue
  • Fabric stiffener
  • Fabric sizing
  • Millinery wire, 19 or 21 gauge
  • Elastic cord
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • Iron
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Fabric pencil
  • Pins
  • Hat trim objects

Show MoreHide


    Hat Base

  1. 1

    Use scissors to cut a 7-inch diameter circle from the buckram fabric.

  2. 2

    Cut seven 1 3/4-inch long slits into the edge of the circle.

  3. 3

    Moisten each slit with water and overlap the slit 1/4 of an inch over itself. Press each overlapped slit with an iron. Place the buckram disk on a rolled up towel, and use the iron to shape the disk at the overlapped points until the curve of the buckram is uniform.

  4. 4

    Cut a 7-inch diameter circle from the fabric you want to use to line the inside of your hat. Use the fabric pencil to draw 1 3/4 inch lines on the back side of the fabric around the edge of the circle to mirror the buckram circle you constructed earlier.

  5. 5

    Fold over the fabric where you drew the line and hand sew the fabric with thread and a needle 1/8 inch from the fold's edge. Make sure to taper the fold to a point closest to the fabric's centre. Iron down the folds you have sewn.

  6. 6

    Place the lining circle beneath the buckram circle so that the slits align. Pin the two pieces together. Use a needle and thread to sew a basting line around the edge of the two nested circles.

  7. 7

    Cut a piece of millinery wire that is 3 inches longer than the circumference of the hat. Use heavy duty thread and a needle to sew the wire around the edge of the hat with a whipstitch. Overlap the excess wire on itself.

  8. 8

    Cut a 9-inch diameter circle from the fabric you want to cover your hat with. Cover the hat with it so that there is 1 inch of fabric overhanging the hat all the way around the edge. Pin the fabric in place. Use thread and needle to sew the fabric to the hat, joining it along the base of the hat, tightening the fabric as you sew. Trim the excess fabric from around the base of the hat.

  9. 9

    Cut a strip of fabric that is 2 inches wide and 3 inches longer than the circumference of the hat edge. Fold 1/2 inch of the fabric over its width at the top and the bottom and press it with the iron. Sew the strip along the base of the hat, covering the milliner wire on the inside and your stitches on the outside.

  10. 10

    Cut a 22-inch piece of elastic cord and tie a knot in both ends. Sew the edges of the knots to the inside of the hat, directly opposite of each other. This cord will hold the hat on your head, and will be worn around the base of your head.

  11. 11

    Trim the hat with feather and ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon, styling it into a bow. Pin feathers to the inside of the bow and sew them to the back of the bow. Use fabric glue to adhere the bow to the bottom of the hat and secure the bow with stitches.

Tips and warnings

  • Items that work well for trimming your hat are fabric flowers, rhinestones, beads, and ribbons of different textures.
  • Try your hat on during the different hat-making stages to get an idea of how you want it to sit on your head and how you want the trim to be arranged on the hat so the hat isn't unbalanced or lopsided.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.