Kentucky Derby Hat Project

Back in early May I made a fairly elaborate hat band for a Kentucky Derby party. Who wouldn’t love an excuse to wear awesome headgear? If I re-learned anything from that video yesterday, it’s that hats are a lot of fun.

So, back to 4 months ago. I had found the perfect summer hat to embellish and planned to glue some fake roses to a hat band. Then I found these instructions on making ribbon roses. Suddenly I was going down a whole different path.

Kentucky Derby Hat

This quick sketch and shopping list were on the back of a receipt in my purse.

Following the instructions from, I chose two widths of ribbon. The 1.5″ stripped ribbon was very easy to work with. The 3″ red ribbon was a thinner fabric which made it more difficult to shape this way. The wire in the edges help hold it in place, but it does unwind a bit.

Kentucky Derby Hat

The loops I made using Aleene’s Stiffen-Quik fabric stiffening spray. There are ways to make fabric stiffener at home, but I went the easier route. The ribbons were looped around kitchen glasses and held together with straight pins for spraying, then popped in the microwave to help speed the drying process. I forgot about the pin on the first microwave round. I didn’t forget again!

Kentucky Derby Hat

The sheer ribbon was part of the original sketch. It was vetoed pretty quickly when it was put all together. I did like the third loop though.

Kentucky Derby Hat

And the finished product! Everything was stitched on by hand with no more lazy talk of using glue.

Derby hat

If I were to do it again, I would change three things:

  • The hat would have a stiffer brim. The one was too floppy for such a heavy accoutrement.
  • I would have sewn the hat band with an allowance for how the hat stretches when it’s on my head! It popped up a bit and I was worried about it coming off.
  • The thinner ribbon fabric would have been perfect for wire ribbon roses instead of the folded kind.
  • Okay so there’s a fourth. I would add feathers. Feathers are fun.
Posted in DIY

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