September 12, 2015

Finishing Up the Pillbox Hat

So a few weeks ago I started working on a new black velvet pillbox hat to wear this upcoming winter and decided to document the process for you all as a sort of informal how-to (find that post here). I took a short break from the project while I waited for the vintage hat veiling I ordered from Etsy to arrive. The veiling turned out to be very fine, almost tulle-like, which isn't exactly what I expected but I think it still worked out in the end! I took some photos today as I finished up the hat to show you how everything came together.

My materials for the day included:

- a circular piece of silk for doing a quick little lining inside the hat
- veiling
- feather puff floral stems from Joanns
- needle and thread
- sewing pins
- a mirror

Positioning/draping the veiling is quite hard to describe. I started with a piece of veiling a yard long, but cut about 8-9" off the end as a whole yard is just a bit much. I pinned the center of the veiling along the top edge to the center of the hat. I then held the hat on my head where I knew I would be wearing it, mine stayed on my head on its own (thanks to the "grip" of the velvet") so I had both hands free to play with draping the veiling to my liking, you could use a hat pin to hold the hat on your head while you do this as well. Once I have the hat positioned how I'll wear it, I gather up the ends of the veiling in my fingers and hold them up to the sided/back of the hat until I like how the veil falls round my face/under my chin. Holding onto both the hat and the gathers I take it off and pin where my fingers are so I can sew the veiling down just where I have pinched it. Yikes...Did that make any sense at all? I hope so!

Once you have the veil draped this far there will be two sort of large loops/pleats of veiling loose on the top (drawn in blue below), I tack the center of each of these (in red circles below) down onto the hat too so everything sits nicer.

Anyways, sorry all that wasn't very clear, I find it hard to describe! At this point you can call it done if you'd like, but I wanted to add some feather puffs! You could add flowers, various feathers, fur puffs (faux fur puffs), or as Bes Ben was showing us yesterday virtually anything, onto the hat as trimmings (doll furniture, fake pineapples, miniature hats!). I went with a soft pale pink feather puff on the top and a black feather puff just behind that.

All these messy stitches inside from tacking/stitching on the veiling and feathers are why you sew trimmings on and then do the lining afterwards, gotta hide the mess!

This is the simplest, but not necessarily the nicest, way to line a little hat like this. You would never want to line a head-size hat this way, but for little perch/tilt hats it works just fine. Cut a circle of lining fabric (I used some spare black silk scraps) larger (2-3 inches-ish) in diameter than your hat. Simply fold the edge of the circle over as you pin it inside the hat around a 1/4" down from the edge, making little pleats every so often to make everything fit. Then stitch the lining in place.

Like so ^. You can add a head ribbon here too if you'd like, but as this little hat is just for me and no one else would ever see inside it, I didn't bother!

The last step was to add a hat elastic so that I could wear the hat without bothering with a hat pin. I cut a length of thin elastic cord, tied small knots at either end and simply secured the elastic to the hat on either side with a few stitches. With that my hat was finished!

I think it turned out rather fun and glamorous! I can't wait to wear it this winter with my eventual black wool suit I want to make. I have now finished two new hats for this fall/winter! One you haven't seen yet (though there were teases on my Instagram). I have a few more ideas for other hats I'd like to make so I will try and document the processes for each. It looks like I will have some yarn left over from my dark yellow sweater and I'd love to make a knit beret too, I just have to find a pattern I like first.

Has anyone picked up or made any new hats to wear this fall?


  1. Ah, Bianca your hat is fabulous!!! The feather puffs are super adorable!
    I think I can scrounge up making a pillbox for the winter as well. I bought a cute little basic brown felt hat for fall that came in today. So once I straighten my hair again, I'll wear that around.

    Carla, TinyAngryCrafts

    1. Thank you Carla! These feather puffs come in lots of colors at Joanns (in the floral section) and were less than a dollar so you could probably find some still :) I still don't have a brown fall hat myself, its definitely on my list!

  2. This turned out wonderful! Didn't seem all that hard either. You chose great materials, which I think makes all the difference. I wish I had the nerve to wear hats.... Do that in modern Norway, and people think you're mad. Sad, really. Then again, I never claimed to be normal so I really should just do it :D

    1. Thank you Siri! It really isn't too hard, just requires a little patience really! That's a bummer that hats would seem odd in Norway, here in Colorado no one wears hats either but I don't really mind getting stares. I'm used to it since retro/vintage style isn't really a thing in this part of the US sadly. You should do it!

  3. It's positively marvelous! A total LBD of a pillbox hat if ever there were. Awesome work, sweet gal!

    ♥ Jessica

  4. This is fabulous! Love those puffs! Really interesting to see how you put it together.


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