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This is a quick tutorial on how to make a Steampunk style tophat for your 16" fashion doll. This method can be translated into any design. I used the book ‘The Art of Making Miniature Millinery’ by Timothy Alberts as a reference. This is a great book to have along with his ‘The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes’. I have used both these books as reference in my OOAK designs.
What You'll Need:
-1/4yd millinery weight buckram
-Millinery Wire-19 to 22 gauge works well. You can purchase this at either place above.
-Tie Wire-a very thin wire used to join the millinery wire into the shape of the hat.
-Bias cut muslin strips 3/4″ to 1″ wide
-Cotton Flannel-in white for the mulling process
-Silk for lining inside crown
-Trims- for decorating hat
Make copies of hat pattern. Cut out of manilla paper for easier tracing. The buckram does have a grain, so make sure you trace the pattern on buckram with grain up and down. Cut out pattern pieces. Mark center fronts and backs.
Spring your wire and shape around the tip or top piece of the hat. Connect together using the tie wire. Using double thread with thread conditioner, slip stitch the wire around the outside edge of the top buckram piece. Measure the wire around the outside of the brim, join together using tie wire. Do the same for the inside of the brim along the seam allowance. Slip stitch the outside brim wire around the brim; stab stitch the inside wire to the underside of the brim along inside line (the seam allowance will be clipped and turned upward-away from the wire to be connected to the crown). Now stab stitch the center back seam of the crown. Make sure it fits smoothly around the tip (top piece) with the wire.
Now comes the fun part where your hat will actually start taking shape. Slip stitch the band to the top or tip matching your CF and CB. We are also going to bind the edges of the hat to cover the wire. Take your bias cut muslin strips and gently stretch one strip around the tip and band- cut to size. Using Sobo glue, glue this strip around the tip and band to cove the wire. The bias cut should make it fold over the edges when stretched.
The mulling process begins-you don’t necessarily need to do this part, but I think it makes for a much smoother surface of the hat. Cut out of your flannel: one tip, one crown and two brims with no seam allowances. glue these to their corresponding buckram pieces to cover the hat nice and smooth. It can get a little messy with the glue.
Because the crown of this particular hat is an odd shape, we are going to cover the brim with our fabric before attaching it to the crown. Out of your fabric you will cut a tip with a seam allowance of about 3/8", a crown with the same SA and two brims with SA.
Sew a running stitch around the top piece of fabric. Place it on the top of the hat and pull the stitches so it conforms around the top of the hat. Smooth it out on the top and stab stitch in place through all thicknesses. The brim fabric will be sewn on-the top first. Stab stitch it to the inner SA(by the inside wire) -curve the edges over to the bottom of the brim. A running stitch around the outside edge will again make this process easier. Slip stitch it underneath to the flannel. (Or you can choose to glue the fabric to the brim)
Fit the brim inside the crown and stab stitch those together around the base through all thicknesses, matching your CF and CB. Your buckram hat base should look something like this:
The bottom piece of the brim will be stab stitch around the base of the band again thorugh all thicknesses and then the seam allowance will be turned under and a very small invisible or slip stitch will sew the edge to the top part around the outer edge of the brim.
Now to finish up. The bottom piece of the brim will be stab stitch around the base of the crown again thorough all thicknesses and then the seam allowance will be turned under and using a very small invisible or slip stitch, sew the edge to the top part around the outer edge of the brim. If you chose to glue the brims you can finish off the outside edge with bias binding as shown on the left hat in the main picture above.
The crown fabric piece will be fitted around the hat-press under the seam allowances on both long sides and on one end- fit it around the hat and either carefully glue close or invisible stitch. . The lining is pretty basic, out of silk or cotton sew one tip and crown together to make an inside lining, turn under bottom edge;- place inside hat and stab stitch in place along with the bottom of the band around the base of the hat.
On the outside glue your ribbon around the base and add trims to your desire- use Fabrictac glue for this. Shape the brim as desired- I turned mine up like a top hat has. Voila! your hat is complete.