Miniature millinery

Mini top hat

A number of years ago i picked up an adorable little mini-top hat from Torrid, down in the USA.  (Las Vegas if I remember correctly).  It came in black and white, and I only bought the black (but then later wished I’d bought the white as well.. it was white sinamay instead of ‘felt’, and would have been so summer-cute…).  Since at that time I didn’t find any mini-hats locally, I got thinking about how to make one of my own.  (Truthfully, I’d been thinking of making one of my own for ages, but getting one to use as an example only pushed me further to do my own.)

This one was the first one that I made.  It started with a pre-made fake felt base, and then I added on a tulle veil, and applied random black sequins and seed beads to that veil. (Yep, each one had to be stitched on and tied off individually to avoid the floating threads.)  I also did a little grouping of black silk flowers, and some black feathers.  I attached a comb using black elastic button loops.  (You can find that in the bridal section of good sewing stores.)  The comb helps the hat stay on – I don’t care for ones set on hair bands, since the hard ones always seem to pinch my head, and both the hard and soft ones limit how I can wear my hair.

Mini Wellington

The next one I made was a mini-wellington top hat.  Wellingtons are larger at the top of the hat (crown) than they are where the hat meets the brim – think of the Mad Hatter’s top hat.  This is actually a legitimate style, not just something out of costume & fantasy… 😉

This one I made 100% from scratch – the hat base itself is heavy black cotton twill, the lining is recycled dress fabric from a bright red polyester jacquard dress, and I pleated the diamond-weave red ribbon and covered it with black sequins for the hat band.  The stiffening inside the hat is interfacing along with the base from rug-making supplies!

The brim is trimmed with black grosgrain ribbon, and the red diamond-weave ribbon creates the streamers at the back as well.  I added a few black silk flowers and leaves, and made a ribbon rosette from the same red diamond-weave ribbon and black grosgrain ribbon to decorate the back.  The centre of the rosette is a hand-made black velvet button, and a red velvet button along with some black jet (or faux jet) buttons (from my button stash) decorate the brim as well.  The final touch is a peacock feather, which references the whole Mad Hatter idea… and adds some additional colour from my ever-repeated black and red colour scheme.

This one is also worn with a comb, though it’s a bit heavier, so it has to be in the right spot or it will go off-kilter…

After this one, I also made a smaller mini-top hat… which I’m keeping to give someone as a gift – so no photos for now!

More miniature millinery to come!

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5 comments on “Miniature millinery

  1. Tamian says:

    Hello, You have some lovely hats here. I wanted to find out if it would be possible to get permission to use the image of your Mini Victorian Riding Hat for a book cover I am currently working on.

  2. Michelle Dawson says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I wonder if you could help me. I’m hosting a Mad Hatter Themed end of year function for the company I work for and to create excitement we have put up prizes for the best hat, this would be to excite the staff about the party and participation as well, so not to bore you, I thought of making the original top hat as a dress that I could wear but don’t have a single creative bone in my body when it comes to sewing. I like decorating and so on, but not sewing. Do you think you could perhaps help me with some advise. I would have to find someone here in SA that could sew for me, but I would need to give them the general idea, maybe some drawings as well. Could you be so kind as to help?

    • Dawn says:

      Hi there Michelle,
      I’m sorry, but I don’t know anyone in South Africa who could help you… I’m in Canada. To find someone, I’d suggest heading to a few local fabric shops – they may have business cards for sewers for hire. Likewise, you could also try the theatre department or fashion department of a local college or university. Further, you could check your phone directory for local couture/custom clothing designers. Those would be my suggestions for anyone locally – I don’t know if there may be different approaches in your part of the world. Good luck!
      (As an aside, we’re also doing a Mad Hatter themed end of year function where I work!)
      Dawn

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