File this under “Reasons missa is going to milliner’s hell” for 100, Alex.” This is the WRONG WAY to recover a hat. DO NOT DO THIS. It’s bad bad bad Wrongy McWrong. It’s really bloody fast. But it is wrong, and will probably get you mocked by anyone who knows what they are doing. You have been warned… ;)
Still here? Great. Here’s the thing: I’m all about the cheat when the cheat works. Is it a cheat that looks nice, keeps all the ugly to the inside, and will be just fine on stage? Then great. Generally speaking, I don’t get to work for people who want to pay me for art. They want done. and they want it now.
If you need an eleventh hour hat, and you’re a light touch with a glue gun, this will do. If, however, you are going for points on authenticity or cannot use a glue gun without making lumps, this is not going to help you. The order of operations is shockingly similar to the way you should make a hat, but the technique is somewhat lacking in handwork.
- One sacrificial hat. Sad Fezes work well.
- Farbic to cover
- A sturdy razor or carpet knife
- Hot glue. Lots and lots of hot glue.
The non-glopular part is really pretty key here – if you make it gloppy, you’ll see it through the covering fabric and people will be like, “why does your hat have a tumor?” and you’ll be all Schwarzeneigger “It’s not a TUMOH!” While this is good fun, it’s usually not the effect that I go for with a hat.
I usually work this in 4-5″ segments. It’s just easier to do it without the glue freezing.
This, dear reader, is the atrocity that is the hot glue hem. Oh yes… I wouldn’t recommend it for an actual hem, mind you, but for something like this it actually works out fine. The trick really is to use a light bead of glue, so that you don’t have a ridge and don’t have a stiffened bit that doesn’t lie like the rest of the fabric.
Again, I like to work in 4-5″ segments so my glue doesn’t freeze. Also, it’s pretty clear from looking at the picture that I never bothered to cut a strip to work with – I’m just using one long edge of the fabric. That’s not really uncommon for me. I can’t explain myself….
Well, almost fini… See, what the designer actually wanted was this:
When I say I need to make it for the stage, I mean I need to make something that strongly resembles this concept, but is visible from stage. That means that the little top hatty-poo is getting bigger.
I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that this is *not* the traditional construction technique, although the interwebs was surprisingly hush-hush on the topic of ancient chinese court hats.
And yes, that is a pile of sacrificial fezes. They are almost as useful as baseball caps. ;)
I have to admit I giggled at the “sacrificial fezzes.”
The repetition of “yes, its glued.” OMG, I laughed SO HARD. Almost made the morning’s coffeee come out of my nose. Good work, grrrl! :-D Hugs from your biggest fan in Ohio!
THIS IS WHY YOU ARE SO FREAKING AWESOME OHMAHGAH!!!! I never wanted a pill box hat until now…
*laugh* Thanks, Gorgeous! The pillbox is truly one of the most versatile hat bases. They show up almost everywhere and every-when. It’s pretty awesome!
Fabulous!! I’m having to make hats for high school drama group and this is what I needed to know. Hot glue is a necessary evil sometimes!
Instead of using sacrificial Fezzes, try round chinese food containers next time… Just cut off the lip…
Awesome tip! Especially for those who don’t routinely find themselves with a pile of spare fezes. ;) Thanks, Michelle!
Great ideas!! For someone who needs 20 “Little Old Lady Land” hats, this will be a big time saver. BTW, I love hot glue
Hey, there, Halbert – It doesn’t have to be all “Little Old Lady Land”. Think of all the things you can do with a pillbox base – a henin, a Chinese headdress, an escoffion, a boater… It’s a foundational hat base!
Of course it it, but I am costuming the producers and had to crank out 20 identical LOL outfits. it worked well. I created a base from felt and a glue wash.
Well, this is great! I found your fake fall front trousers so now I don’t have to make those from scratch for two men & I need military hats (1844) so I’m thinking margarine or cottage cheese containers if sacrificing ball caps doesn’t work (I’m thinking trim the brim & spray paint them dark grey). At least I have a viable alternative now. (I love the bits of humour er reality you bring to your work)
Hi, Libby – glad you’re enjoying the blog and finding it useful. Your local resale may have a fez or a brimmed hat with a similar profile as a starting point. If you do this using margarine/cottage cheese containers, mind the corners. The side-to-bottom join is rounded on most brands. I’d run a strip of chipboard (or, realistically, cereal box) around the sides, so that it’s level with the bottom, then fill the well between the new side and the top with caulk or something. That will give you the sharp corner you need, and add a little weight to the construct to help it sit on the head convincingly when it becomes a hat. Good luck!
This made me laugh out loud. I’ve done so many of these same things. The best tip for glue gun burns: use popsicle sticks to hold fabric or whatever in place while the glue is still hot. Also, for “The Producers,” we used plastic plant saucers as bases–they worked great.
Cheap fast and effective, is that not the cardinal rules for theatre work.
I was watching Vanderpump Rules last night and she had a similar hat on and it was beautiful ! It had rhinestones all over it. I would love to make one but i cant find a hat like that at all. !
Where did you find this one. I know it was years ago. Thank you love the way you showed us !
Hi, Debra – Sadly, I got the fez from a pile my boss pulled out of costume storage when I was working in the shop. But don’t fret! A pillbox hat is really just a straight-sided hat without a brim, so you can use any straight-sides hat as a base. I’d check resale shops. Barring that, any oval shape with straight sides that is the right size and not too lumpy will work – hit a dollar store and look at the shapes. If you end up with something plastic, it might be kinda light and hard to keep on. You can add loops for hair pins or tipsy clips to the bottom edge of the hat to help with that, or hot glue a couple decent size metal washers inside the hat for weight. Hope that helps!