I have been working hard on my craft since 2004, and I think I have a skill level that shows in my work. I am the do over queen and there are many heads without bodies to suggest that these mistakes drive me to the perfect end. The finished doll always seems to lead to the next doll, one is born out of another. This is why I love making dolls. It is the air I breathe and pretty much defines me. I am a doll maker.

This may sound strange but these bodiless heads and headless bodies speak to me. I have control over the parts and pieces individually, but the position involved in the connection is revealed at the moment the pieces touch one another for the first time. The head moves me to sew it in a certain pose, same with the hands and arms. The whole doll forms itself to be expressive according to its idea of itself.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How To Make a Hat . . . .

This is how I make a top hat.
My first step is to dye some 100% cotton batting the color I want. I found a plastic tapered cup to serve as my mold. The cup has been covered with plastic wrap and vaseline so the batting will release. I cut a piece of batting and cover it with fabric stiffener. I then wrap this around the cup. I set the cup on top of a jar so the fabric will dry. I also cover extra batting with the fabric stiffener so I have fabric for my brim.

Before step 5, I have removed the dried fabric from the cup and cut the excess off. I place this tube inside the cup and set it in front of a fan so the inside will dry more. In step 5, I would like you to disregard what the top of the hat looks like, I decided it worked better if I did not keep this folded over fabric, so I trimmed it off. The 5th step is to cut slits around the bottom of the tube. I cut about half inch slits all the way around. I then put a steam iron to this area so I could bend these pieces up easily without breaking them. In step 6 I have cut 2 pieces of the extra stiffened batting into circles. These will become the brim of the hat. A center hole is cut in both and the first circle is slid over the flaps and glued down. The 2nd piece covers the flaps on the bottom. It is glued also.

For step 9 I have cut another circle and then cut flaps to what the size of the hole is on the top of the hat. Once the flaps are folded down this piece will fit inside the hat and be glued in. Which is step 10. Step 11 I have cut a piece of batting that has not been stiffened. This will get covered with the fabric stiffener.

In Step 13 the fabric is laid on top to the hat and trimmed slightly and I press it down around the edge. Step 14. Once it dries, this piece is trimmed to the edge of the hat and is the final piece that finishes the top edge of the hat.

The size of the hat is determined by the size of the cup or glass used as the mold. Remember though the opening to the mold has to be able to fit over your dolls head. One can always make the tube smaller by cutting it up the side and then you can adjust the size and glue it. I hope this makes sense and feel free to question any thing and I will try to explain better.

I think this is a great hat and of course one can add all sorts of finishing touches to it. It can even be painted if dyeing is not your thing.


Indigo said...

That was so cool watching the process take place. (Hugs)Indigo

Sue said...


Coleen said...

Love this hat!! I can appreciate the work you put into everything you make!

Heart Hugs,

Sonia ;) said...

OMG...I missed this post....Too busy for words. I am going to save this..Ive always wanted to make a Top Hat. Nat Im saving this....Thank you sweetie!!

Sonia ;)