Wardrobe Spotlight – Hats Part 2

If you’re a little lost you might like to read this post in conjunction with Hats Part 1 and DIY Fascinators. This post will give you ideas on how to decorate a plain base hat. I see a lot of people on Etsy who basically just sell pre-bought decorated hats but in my opinion it’s better to buy a better quality plain hat and decorate it yourself with stuff from around the house or things you can buy cheap from the craft store.

I apologise for so many pictures of my face, but hats don’t look quite right unless someone is wearing them.

Your Kit

  • Badges and Brooches
  • Ribbon
  • Scarves and Bandannas
  • Tarot and/or Playing Cards
  • Fabric flowers.
  • Russian Veiling (not pictured here, see below)
  • Hat of your choice.

Soft Hats

These are the hats that don’t keep shape so I wouldn’t attach anything too fancy. A brooch is probably the extent of what you want to add although I’ve also added some ribbon and a short feather. It gives a sort of girl-guide look, but it can pretty cute if you’re into that sort of thing. You can put the brooch in the middle but if you ask me it looks a bit strange on a beret. It looks fine on a cap with a brim however (see below).

Soft and Structured Hats

These hats are made out of soft materials but have a fixed shape. This means you can stick pins into them and if you do it carefully it won’t ruin the hat. More badges and pins will give a kind of hipster-punk look whereas a single brooch will get you a bit more of a military look on the cap. Try experimenting with different button sizes. I personally really like the look of the smaller ones but you can mix and match.

Hats like fedoras have a brim that goes all the way around which means that the crown is pretty stable and the hat looks more balanced on a 360 degree view so you can stick things on the side and around the brim as well. (Compare to a cap where the brim makes the hat front-heavy and it wouldn’t look balanced if you added items anywhere else.)

Hard hats

You probably don’t want to be sticking things like pins into bowlers and top hats so you need some ribbon or a scarf to tie around the brim in order to tuck things under or pin things on.  Think about balance and height levels. While I have items on the back, right side and front of the hat below the highest items are on the side and back. The front brooch/cameo is small and level to the scarf band so it isn’t a major sticking point. At the most you want two built-up areas (and probably not the combination of front & back, and side & side since in this case asymmetry is more pleasing to the eye.)

Add a Veil

What I also see a lot is people selling goth top hats with veils at silly prices. Adding a veil to a top hat is really easy and you can get Russian veiling on Etsy for about $3/yard (approx 90cm) or at your local craft store. You shouldn’t need much more than that and the piece below is only about 20cm wide.

Start off by creating some pleats and tacking them together with safety pins. How many you want is up to you but the more you add the more the veil will puff out. I used four pleats.

Now you should have a trapezoid shape where the top is longer than the bottom. We actually want the veil to create a rounded effect so we don’t want to see the corners at the bottom. Take each bottom corner and pin it together with the outer pleat corner at the top.

Your veiling should look a bit like this now:

If you look inside the brim of your hat there should be some lining around the crown that you can pin this onto. The safety pins should be invisible inside your hat. I personally like having the veil come just under my eyes but you can experiment with what looks best on you. Since the veiling is pinned together and not glued on you can muck about with this and attach it onto different hats. Some people like attaching the veiling to the outside of the hat on the brim at well – you can pin it onto the inside of a scarf or bandanna and hid the safety pins that way. You might need a longer length of veiling however.


Made a fascinator lately? Great! (You can try positioning it at the front and the back of your hat also.)

As always let me know if you had any problems with this post! Hopefully this has inspired you to experiment with sprucing up an old hat or two with stuff you should have around the house. Here’s some other objects you might think about incorporating too: watch faces, brass or metal stampings, wooden shapes, wire, pearls, ribbon rosettes, lace, origami, leather cord, beads and other shiny things.

FYI, the rabbit cameo I am wearing here is new and from The Little Shop Of (Handmade). Unfortunately they’ve sold out of those designs as far as I know but they have plenty of other awesome items at really reasonable prices.


DIY Fascinators

Fascinators from department stores can easily start from $50 and go into the hundreds. Those are ridiculous prices for some relatively cheap components and putting together a fascinator yourself is easy. I have been complimented far more times on my homemade fascinator than any ones I’ve bought and the materials cost me only about $15.

I realise that fascinators come in many different styles and use a lot of different materials, but I’m going to teach you how I fudged my own and then you can experiment with different styles and shapes.


Google some images and figure out a general shape for your fascinator and this is really the hardest part of “making” the fascinator.

Some questions to think about:

  • Which direction do you want your feathers to go?
  • Do you want the feathers to stick out above your head, towards the back or follow the curve of your skull?
  • How long do you want your feathers to be?
  • Do you want layers of feathers with different types, lengths or colours?

Decide on a centrepiece of the fascinator – basically something that will cover the glue and the ends of the feathers. It can be just some ribbon, it can be an old pendant or stamping you don’t use, an old brooch, some beaded trim, a fabric flower, etc. Your feathers will extend out from this item so to some extent this will determine the minimum length your feathers will need to be.

I chose a silk flower that I already owned with some clips at the back, but you can make fabric flowers and add the clips yourself or buy them on your shopping trip. Alternatively if you have any fake flowers lying around you can snip off the stem (and sometimes the stem is made to be be detatched) and use some glue or duct tape to secure the ends.

Your planning doesn’t have to be very detailed and you don’t have to decide on everything at the moment but these are some things you should start thinking about so you don’t get buyers’ remorse. At the very least decide on the length(s) of feathers you need and a colour scheme.


Your local craft or fabric store should have everything you need. Grab a few different feather choices and muck about with how the feathers and arrangement might look. You might also want to look into some Russian Veiling, different sort of clips and bases. If the craft store doesn’t have it, or you’re not sure what it’s called then check Etsy.

Fake/silk flowers seem to be the default centrepiece, but if you want a more upmarket sort of look you might want to go to thrift stores for cheap vintage-style jewelled brooches.


I’m going to show you how I specifically created my own fascinator. You can follow my instructions exactly if you want to, but I encourage you to experiment a little or a lot.


  • Silk flower: $5
  • Cocktail feathers: $7 for a pack of 6
  • Emu feathers: $4 for a bunch
  • Ribbon: $1 for a short spool.

I chose emu feathers because they were short and very small, thin and light. The centre of the feather has very little support and so gravity pulls them down. They curve downwards when worn instead of sticking straight out of the back of my head.

I chose these cocktails feathers because they were longer than the emu ones, had good support at the base but also had a little curve at the top. I didn’t want them to stick straight out above my head.

The emu feathers came tied together in a bunch, so I had the brainwave of using another tiny rubber band to tie the cocktail feathers onto the emu bunch. A lot easier, secure and less messy than glue. It also means the bunches can come undone if you make a mistake.

I tied some ribbon over the rubber band to hide them. It will also make the feathers easier to glue and attach onto the flower. I left a lot of ribbon free so it would actually form part of the fascinator and hang down from flower.

The back of my flower had a clip and brooch attachment which meant that that I didn’t have to use any glue. I simply attached the ribbon to the brooch needle. If you don’t have that option you could also use a needle and sew the ribbon onto the back of the flower, or take a bit of material (or more ribbon) and glue it over the back of the flower and the base of the feathers. If your flower doesn’t have a clip you can attach it in the same way as the feathers.

This fascinator has got me so many compliments and it took me only all of ten minutes to make! Awesome!

Awesome Face:

Let me know if you have any problems with this tutorial!