March 6, 2015

DIY: Retro Felt Leaf Half-Hat

I recently spotted this adorable little vintage half hat for sale on Etsy (from an ultra drool worthy shop called Poppycock Vintage) and thought, hey, I could make that! So I decided to document the process so that you guys could make one too! I used some wool felt (also from Etsy, I got mine here) and a spare metal headband to recreate the hat. You could use either a thin store bought headband or make a thin headband from millinery gauge wire, whichever is easier for you, I just happened to have a thin headband lining around!

Materials needed:
-Felt (I used wool felt but you could also use craft felt)
-12"+ of millinery veiling
-Chalk pencils (for tracing)
-Card-stock paper (to make a leaf template)
- Needle and thread
-Millinery wire or a thin headband

First draw a simple leaf shape, no need to be an expert artist here as leaves have organic shapes after all. You could always print out some leaf clipart and use that as a template too. My leaf was about 3.5 by 3 inches but you could use smaller leaves to make a headband as opposed to a half-hat style.

Cut out your template and trace it onto your felt, I used six leaves of each color felt.

Next cut out your leaves, try and make them all the same size and shape.

Match up your leaf pairs and perhaps trim them to match if they don't.

At this point I stuck the ends of my headband into a Styrofoam head form so it would stand, up but that isn't necessary. Start pinning your leaves together, sandwiching the headband between the matched pairs. I arranged the leaves so the center portion overlapped the last leaf for a layered look. so! I put a pin through each leaf to hold them in place.

Technically you could use glue and glue the leaves together as you arranged them on the headband, but I decided to sew them together to avoid any possible glue soaking through the felt. I simply stitched through the layers of felt around the headband like you see above. (Also, yikes my dry cuticles! sorry guys)

Once I sewed across the entire center of my leaves I removed the pins. Since my sandwiched leaves were still open on the sides, I added small tacking stitches to tie the points together. I only tacked the "front" edge of leaf points as I decided it didn't bother me if the leaf pairs shifted around a bit in the back. I added the veiling by taking a short length of millinery veiling, folding it diagonally, and then draping it over the half-hat. I placed a few pins to hold it in place and then went around tacking it with a few small stitches. I only tacked it on the ends and perhaps twice in the middle, it doesn't move around too much. Lastly I trimmed the excess veiling that protruded from the back of the leaves.

Then it was all finished and ready to wear! This little half hat was so easy to make that I hope you guys give it a try. You could always make the leaves smaller for a more subtle headband look, or leave off the veiling/add a longer veil depending on how vintage you want the finished result to look. It could be made in so many color combinations, or in one solid color depending on what outfits you plan on wearing it with. I think a version in ivory with matching ivory veiling would be really pretty for a winter wedding!


  1. Gorgeous creation!!! I love the elegance, versatility (you could use any hues and tailor it to any season or holiday), and timeless beauty of this marvelous half hat. You post the loveliest tutorials, Bianca. Thank you!!!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you Jessica! That means a lot to me, I am always trying to come up with more retro DIYs!

  2. Nice! I actually like yours better - the grey and black suit it really well :)

    1. Thanks Tanith! I wanted something I could wear with black as it tends to dominate my closet :)

  3. Great tutorial. I will definitely be giving this a try as yours looks fabulous.

  4. Looks great! Did you find the felt needed stiffening at all?

    1. Thank you! I didn't stiffen the felt at all here, I haven't worked with stiffing felt before but I'd love to learn even more millinery techniques someday.


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