Making my own Kentucky Derby hat was so much fun. I had thought about it for years but never really had a reason to. Nobody was throwing a Derby party. I wasn't going to Churchill Downs or even Canterbury Downs.
But, I finally had a reason. It just so happened that the company I work for decided to have Derby Days. A contest for who wore the best hat. I knew right away this was my chance. I was going to make a hat. woot woot.
Most people I know would say, "Why make one? Why not just buy one?"
My answer to that is;
a. because I like to "make things".
b. because then I can customize it.
c. likely it's cheaper to make one.
d. likely I'll have better quality.
With that said I made one instead of buying one.
Here's a quick view at my process:
- Go online and pin kentucky derby hats.
- Go onto my Derby Hat board and see if there is a pattern. *Do I like 1 big flower? *Do I like several flowers? *Color favorite *feathers? *hat size *hat type
- Watch video on making a hat. (for tips and tricks)
- Buy Hat (I chose black because I wanted to wear a black dress.) I bought mine at Gordman's but I know that DSW has hats as well as many other stores.
- Go to Joann Fabrics and pick out flowers, ribbon, accents, feathers, toule, and netting in the color I wanted. (teal for me because I love that color and I was thinking of working with peacock feathers)
- Warm up the glue gun. Make sure to have extra sticks handy. I went thru about 2 sticks
- Get to work on gluing on your accessories.
I ended up buying a combination of "stuff" from Jo-Anns including a huge flower, several accent flowers in different styles and sizes, different sizes and colors of satin and mesh ribbon, coated wire and feathers.
Here's a quick animation on the process of making my hat. While you watch you'll notice a couple of things:
- I start with the big flower first. It's the the focal point and I want to make sure I start with that instead of gluing it on at the end.
- I move things around a lot. I try out an accent first then I glue it down once I like what I see.
- I try to use the visual triangle or working in 3's design theory. (3 purple flowers) (3 loops of ribbon) etc.
- I try to build out my design. Big flower first, then I add the bigger items like the ribbon. Next I work in my other accents starting with the largest to the smallest. It's easier to fill in gaps with smaller items then to add larger accents at the end.
- I tried a couple of light green items which I thought took away from my focal point so I took them out.
- I also with work different textures, colors and heights. Notice that one of the last things I added was the peacock feathers. They stuck out the furthest so they went last. They gave my hat some dimension as did the other teal/blue/blackish colored feathers.
Here's my final "Kentucky Derby" Outfit.
I decided to wear a black dress and keep the jewelry simple because you want to highlight the hat not all the other stuff you are wearing. (p.s. I haven't mastered the art of taking pictures wearing a hat yet. Please forgive me)
Side view. I really loved how it turned out. It's my favorite color. It's over-the-top gaudy but cute. It's not ugly-gawdy. I didn't want to do ugly. If I wanted over-the-top ugly I would have added a huge peacock head or horse-head.
Now I'm just having some fun taking pictures of myself. Which I don't do very often at all. Usually I'm just behind the camera.
From the other side.
If you notice the original hat didn't have a whole lot of bend to it but once you add the decorations it gives the hat some nice curvature which I love. It makes the hat seem like it has more character.
It's hard to see from far away but the large flower and some of the smaller ones have gems glued into the centers. I love that touch. I thought it added a little something extra.
Here's one last animation of the hat from all angles.