Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Lady's Victorian Top Hat

~The Ladies' Tipsy Tea 2011 - Elma and me~
So many of the lady's top hats that I have seen for sale online or at craft shows, or created by a costumer for her historically inspired wardrobe, are so beautiful. I greatly admire the decoration of this era's hats because they are so elaborate, much like the lady's costume of the time. For the late Victorian ensemble that I am currently constructing, I wanted to make a matching hat, and I can tell you that I am no artist when it comes to millinery - lol! However, last May, Tonia and PJ put together a whole outfit for me (in record time!), including gloves, a fan, a parasol, a gown, and a beautiful hat. Using the top hat that PJ created for me as my inspiration, I created my own - take a look!

1). First I bought an inexpensive felt top hat at the Flower Factory - this is the season to buy them, too. The Flower Factory does carry the top hat and the derby all year around; however, Halloween preparations are in full swing, so you can pick up a basic hat at any major retailer that carries Halloween costumes and accessories. I paid $5...

Basic black felt top hat

2.) I added matching trim used on my gown around the crown of the hat, then secured the same lace used in my gown to the brim - both the braided trim and the lace were tacked in place with hot glue...

3). One of the key attributes of the Victorian hat is that there is always one outstanding feature (the centerpiece) - in my case, I chose to create a large bouquet of black foliage and feathers on the left side of the hat...

4). Flowers are another very common decoration to Victorian hats - and honestly, before I even hot glued one flower in place, I fiddled and fiddled with arranging the flowers this way and that until I created a combination that I liked...

5). After a couple hours of thoughtful decoration, arrangement, and careful gluing, here is the finished result! 

I hope that my creation helps inspire you to create your own beautiful hat, like PJ's beautiful hat inspired me! 

Blessings and happy sewing!


  1. That is a magnificent hat! I am so inspired! I haven't made a top hat like this myself yet, but I keep eyeballing them and feeling envious. :-)