Doll hats make quick and beautiful projects and can give your dolls a completely new demeanor. Cloche or fedora hats are easy projects for the beginning doll artist. In an afternoon its possible to make seven or more hats for your dolls, giving her a new look for every day of the week!
To date I've made over 60 doll hats. I love to invent new shapes for each season. Most of my hats are made from felt embellished with ribbon, buttons, feathers and faux gems. Felt needs no hemming and can be trimmed to fit quite easily. But how does one get started? If you are a collector of pretty ribbons and buttons, you're halfway there!
You need only a few supplies to get started:
A doll to measure for fit.
Felt pieces in your favorite colors; a 9 x 12 sheet will yield about 2 hats. Acrylic felt will work but wool felt is best.
Ribbon: velvet, grosgrain, silk, satin, any type will work depending upon how you attach it.
Scissors, needle and thread and/or sewing machine.
Optional: embellishments such as millinery flowers and leaves, beads, faux gems, buttons, netting.
My favorite hat supplies, collected over time from thrift shops, craft stores and online sources.
1. Satin and velvet ribbon, millinery flowers and vintage corsage leaves. 2. Striped ribbon, pink velvet ribbon, bronze flower stamens, faux berries, white netting. 3. Felt pieces, ribbons, fabric flowers, netting and vintage doilies to cut up. 4. Feathers, buttons, faux pearls and single earrings.
If you don't have access to sources of millinery supplies there are many sources on the web. Etsy has a wealth of shops selling everything you need to get started sewing doll hats. Here are some lovely examples I found by typing "millinery supply" into the search line on Etsy. You can also modify your search by color. Click on the links below the photos to get information on specific items.
These Etsy shops have a beautiful selection of millinery supplies:
Pay attention to scale - you will want small flowers rather than big ones for your doll hats. Vintage supplies are expensive and can be brittle from age so convo the seller before buying if you have questions about usage. Be creative: some newer items can be aged by soaking the ribbon or flowers in tea, coffee or fabric dyes.
If you're feeling adventuresome, look up ribbon dying methods on YouTube and give it a try! Below is a 12 minute video by SoulCreative for YouTube about making hand-dyed ribbon flowers. There are other methods and products you can use, so I encourage you to look around YouTube.
I shared a few of my hat patterns here but its also fun to invent your own. Play with your felt: bend odd shaped scraps over the head of your doll to see what it looks like. Perhaps you could turn your creation into a fascinator. When you get a fold you like, use safety pins to hold it in place while you hand sew the folds down with thread that matches your felt color.
If inventing your own doll hats feels overwhelming, don't worry. I am working on downloadable digital hat patterns with detailed instructions, coming this spring to my Etsy shop. Collect a few ribbons and embellishments now so when my patterns become available you are ready to get started :)
Are you feeling inspired? Good! Gather some pretty supplies and make some spring toppers for your dolls!