The Project Gutenberg eBook, Make Your Own Hats, by Gene Allen Martin, Illustrated by E. E. Martin

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Title: Make Your Own Hats

Author: Gene Allen Martin

Release Date: November 8, 2006 [eBook #19740]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Jason Isbell, Julia Miller,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Transcriber’s note

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of the changes is found at the end of the text.







Spool with needle

The Riverside Press Cambridge



The Riverside Press



Hat-making is an art which may be acquired by any one possessing patience and ordinary ability. To make a hat for the trade is not as difficult as to make one for an individual; neither is it so high a phase of art.

Many rules are given for crown-height, brim-width, and color, as being suited to different types of faces, but they are so often misleading that it seems best to consider only a few, since the becomingness of a hat almost invariably depends upon minor characteristics of the individual for which there are no rules.

A girl or woman with auburn hair may wear grays—gray-green, cream color, salmon pink; a touch of henna with gold or orange; mulberry if the eyes are dark.

The woman with dark hair and blue or dark eyes may wear any color if the skin is clear.

One having dark hair and eyes and a sallow skin may find golden brown, a pale yellow or cream color becoming—possibly a mulberry if just the [vi]right depth. A hat with slightly drooping brim faced with some shade of rose will add color to the cheeks. No reds should be worn unless the skin is clear. No shade of purple or heliotrope should be worn by any one having blue eyes—it seems to make the blue paler.

Any one having auburn hair, blue eyes, and a clear skin may wear browns, grays, greens, tan, blue, and black. Black should not be worn next the face unless the skin is brilliant. It is, however, very becoming to blondes, and to women whose hair has become quite white.

A black hat is almost a necessity in every woman's wardrobe, and it may always be made becoming by using a facing of some color which is especially becoming to the wearer—black and white is always a smart combination, but very difficult to handle.

In regard to lines—it is known that a hat with a drooping brim takes from the height of the wearer and should never be worn by any one having round shoulders or a short neck. A hat turned up at the back would be much better. A narrow brim and high crown add height to the wearer. A [vii]woman with a short, turned-up nose should avoid a hat turned up too sharply from the face. Short people should avoid very wide brims. For the possessor of a very full, round face the high crown and narrow brim, or a brim which turns up sharply against the crown on one side, or all around, should prove becoming. A tall, slender woman would do well to wear a drooping brim, wide enough to be in keeping with her height. There is one style of hat which seems to be, with various modifications, universally becoming, and that is the bicorne, a form of the Napoleon style of hat.

After all, experience is the best teacher. Whenever a hat is found to be especially becoming, one would do well to find out just why it is so and make a note of the color, size, and general outline. These notes are of value if kept for future reference, whether hats are to be made for the shop or for home millinery.

A hat is seldom becoming all the way around, but the aim should be to make it so. Over-ornamentation should be guarded against, also too close harmony in color until much experience has been gained. A rule by which to judge of the becomingness of a hat and to which there is no exception is[viii] this—the hat must enhance your looks. If you do not look more pleasing with it on than with it off, it is not as good a model for you as it might be.

In planning or choosing a hat we unconsciously decide upon those colors and outlines which are an outward expression of ourselves. A hat, as well as any article of clothing, may express many things—dejection, happiness, decision, indecision, gayety, dignity, graciousness, a trained or an untrained mind, forethought, refinement, generosity, cruelty, or recklessness. How often we hear some one say, “That hat looks just like Mrs. Blank!” Clothing of any kind is an index to the personality of the wearer. A friend once said in my presence to a saleswoman who was trying to sell her a hat, “But I do not feel like that hat!” The saleswoman replied, “That's just it—you refuse to buy it because you do not feel like it, while I tell you that it is most becoming.” All of which showed that this saleswoman had not the most remote idea of what was meant, and had a total lack of understanding.

Clothes should be a matter of “feeling,” and this same feeling is something vital and should be ca[ix]tered to if our garments are to help set our spirits free. Why should we wear anything which is misleading in regard to ourselves? Let us look in the mirror each day and ask ourselves whether we look to be what we wish others to think we are.

It is important in planning a hat to see it in broad daylight as well as under artificial light. It should also be tried on in a good light while standing before a mirror, as a hat which may seem becoming while sitting may not be so while standing, with the whole figure taken into consideration.

To make one's own hats, using up old materials, stimulates originality and gives opportunity for expression. It is amazing to see how many new ideas are born when we start out to do something which we have thought quite impossible. It all helps to give added zest to life. Making one's own hats appeals to the constructive instinct of every woman aside from the matter of thrift, which should always be taken into consideration. Some one will say, “I would not wear any hat I might make.” How often have we worn unbecoming hats, poor in workmanship, besides paying some one handsomely for the privilege. Let us try to form[x] some standard by which to judge of the worth of a hat instead of the maker's name.

Before making a hat, the entire wardrobe should be carefully looked over to see with what the hat must be worn, and the kind of service we are going to expect from it. Every article of a costume should be related and harmonious as to color, outline, and suitability. The result should be a perfect whole without a single discord. How often we see a green skirt, mustard-colored coat, and a bright blue hat—each article pleasing by itself, but atrocious when worn collectively. Bright, gay little hats are pleasing when seen seldom, but we soon tire of one if it must be worn daily.

Time and our best thought are well spent in planning our apparel. The proper clothing gives us confidence and self-respect, and the respect of others. To be well dressed is to be free from the thought of clothes. We judge and are judged by the clothes we wear—they are an outward expression of ourselves, and speak for us, while we must remain silent.

“Simplicity is the keynote of beauty”—no one article of clothing should stand out too conspicu[xi]ously, unless it is the hat. Nature uses bright colors sparingly. If you look at a plant, you find it dark near the ground, growing lighter near the top with its green leaves, and then the blossom; the glory is at the top. Everything in nature teaches us to look up. So the hat should be the crowning glory of a costume, the center of interest, and should receive the most careful attention as to becomingness, suitability, and workmanship.




I. Equipment and Materials 1
II. Covering Frame with Velvet 15
III. Frames of Neteen and Crinoline 31
IV. Wire Frames 35
V. Round Crown of Wire 44
VI. Hat Coverings 54
VII. Trimmings 68
VIII. Hand-Made Flowers 78
IX. Remodeling and Renovating 100




Showing Shaped Brim of Neteen with Ribbon-Wire Braces basted in Place 4
Showing Method of fitting Fabric to Shaped Brim 16
Showing Under Facing of Brim pinned over Wire ready to sew in Place 16
Various Processes 36
Fancy Crown-Tip of Braid 44
Rolling Wire Brim 44
Round Crown of Wire 44
One Method of starting the Braid on Crown and sewing in Place 54
Showing Method of covering Crown with Two-Inch Wide Bias Satin 64
Ribbon Trimmings 72
Hand-Made Flowers 78








Thimble—good quality

Thread—Geneva lustre, black and white, number 36. Colored thread as needed.

Needles—assorted paper of milliner's needles, 8 to 10.

Tape-measure—of good quality sateen.

Tailor's chalk—white and dark blue.

Milliner's pliers—pliers which fit the hand, not too heavy, with blunt points, and sharp enough to cut a thread.


Materials used to make Hat Frames

Cape net
Neteen or Fly net
Willow plate
Frame or brace wire
Paper for patterns
Heavy manila


Comes in black and white, about twenty-seven inches wide—a heavy stiff material, smooth on one side and rather rough on the other. It is more commonly used for hat foundations than any other fabric. There is also a summer buckram, lighter in weight and smooth on both sides.



Comes in black and white, twenty-seven inches wide—a stiff, thin, open-meshed material, used to make soft hat frames, to cover wire frames, and in bias strips to cover edge wire after it is sewed on the fabric frame.

Neteen or fly net

A stiff open-meshed material—comes in black, white, and ecru, one yard wide—a very popular material on account of its great pliability and lightness. It is used for blocking frames and copying, the lines being much softer than when made with buckram. Very durable.

Cape net

A light-weight, open-meshed material used for blocking and for soft frames. Not as pliable as neteen.

Willow plate

A coarse straw-like material, light in weight, brittle, and very expensive, used in blocking; frames are also made from it without blocking.

[4]Must be dampened before using. Not recommended for amateurs.

Wire comes in black, white, silver, and gilt, and is covered with cotton, mercerized cotton, and silk. It may be procured in single and double bolts.


Largest wire used in millinery. In making wire frames, it is used as edge wire and sometimes for the entire frame. Being larger than frame wire, it makes a pleasing effect when used as part of the wire frame design, if it is to be covered with sheer material.

Frame or brace wire

Used in making frames and is sewed on the edge of all buckram and fabric hat frames.


Smaller than frame wire, used for wiring lace ribbon and flowers, and sometimes for making an entire frame when a very dainty design is desired.



Smallest wire used in millinery; comes wound on[5] spools. Is used to tie other wires, and in making hand-made flowers. Comes in black, white, and green.


A cotton ribbon about three eighths of an inch wide, with a fine wire woven through the center, also a wire on each edge. Used to wire ribbons.


An uncovered steel wire used to make halo brims; is sometimes sewed on edge of buckram or other fabric brims, if the hat is unusually wide, or if a brim is to be especially stiff. It is occasionally used as an edge wire on wire frames.

Hat Frames of Fabric

Much care, thought, and patience must be exercised in making the frame of any hat. It is the foundation upon which we build, and if poorly made no amount of work can cover it up later. A hat must be right every step of the way. The frame is the first step, and so the most important.

The simplest hat to make is the straight brim sailor with a square crown, covered with velvet. Such a model we will take up at first.


Sailor hat frame

For convenience we will use the following dimensions: Width of brim, three inches; height of crown, three and one-half inches; length of crown tip, eight and one-half inches; width of crown tip, six and one-half inches, and headsize, twenty-four inches.

Pattern for brim

Cut from a piece of manila paper fourteen and one-half by fourteen and one-half inches the largest possible circle; the paper may be folded into halves, then quarters, then into eighths and creased.

A round brim will not be of equal width all around from headsize wire, because the headsize wire must be oval to fit the head. The front and back will both be about an inch narrower than the sides.

Headsize wire

To measure—This is especially important, for upon the accuracy of this measurement depends the comfort of the wearer; this is the foundation wire. Pass a tape measure around the head over the hair[7] where the hat is to rest and add two inches to this measure. One is for lapping the ends and the other inch is to allow for lining and covering of hat which goes up into the headsize.7-1

As our headsize measure is twenty-four inches long, cut a piece of frame wire twenty-six inches long; this allows for the two inches just mentioned. Lap the ends one inch and fasten each end with tie wire.7-2 Wire always laps one inch—no more, no less.

To shape—With the hands inside, pull the circle until it is elongated to fit the head. This headsize wire must not press unduly upon any part of the head.

To locate headsize on pattern—Lay pattern flat, pin headsize wire on pattern with joining at back crease in paper, having the back and front of brim of equal width, and the two sides of brim of equal width. Mark all around headsize wire with a pencil. Remove wire and cut paper one-half inch inside this mark.

To cut buckram brim—Lay pattern on smooth side of buckram, pin, and cut the edges very[8] smoothly. Cut headsize same as pattern. Mark location of center back and center front. Remove pattern and with a hot iron press the buckram perfectly flat, being careful not to break or make a sharp bend in the buckram, for if once broken it cannot be satisfactorily repaired.

To sew headsize wire to brim—First note the relation of headsize wire to brim. If buckram is carefully cut, the wire may be pinned on one-half inch from edge. The brim has been cut round and will have the appearance of a round hat when worn and yet, on account of the oval headsize wire, the brim when finished will measure about three and one-half inches on each side and about two and one-half inches back and front. Pin wire on smooth side of buckram with lap at center back, also pin front and each side, being careful not to lose the shape of the headsize wire. Bring needle up from under side of brim close to wire, beginning at lap. Take stitch over wire to under side coming back through first stitch to right side. Take next stitch over wire one-fourth inch from first, coming back to right side. Repeat all the way around until lap is reached. Fasten thread by taking several stitches close together over ends of wire in order to join[9] neatly and prevent their working loose. Slash buckram inside headsize wire every half inch and turn pieces up. This makes small flaps to which crown may be fastened later. The brim may now be tried on and changes made if necessary.

Edge wire

This is cut from frame wire and must be long enough to reach around edge of brim and lap one inch. Edge wire is always sewed on same side of brim as the headsize wire, which is usually the smooth side. Shape this wire to conform to shape of brim. Never depend on the hat or the stitches to hold a wire in place. Begin at center-back of hat holding wire toward you, and sewing from right to left. Hold wire as near the edge as possible, without letting it slip over the edge. Sew on with overcasting stitch, taking two stitches in same hole. Take the stitches just the depth of the wire. If too shallow, the wire will slip off over the edge, or, if too deep, the wire will slip back away from the edge leaving it unprotected and liable to become broken and uneven-looking. A frame must be well made in every detail to produce satisfactory results when finished.

[10]To cover edge wire—All edge wire must be covered with crinoline or a cheap muslin. Cut a strip of such goods on a true bias, three-eighths of an inch wide. Remove the selvage and stretch the strip. Bind the edge wire with it, holding it very tight. Sew close to wire using a stab stitch.

Right sidewrong side

This stitch is made by taking a long stitch on right side and then a short back stitch on wrong side. Lap ends of crinoline one-fourth inch at finish, but do not turn ends under.

Square crown

A square crown is one having a flat top, or one only slightly rounded, with the sides slightly sloping in towards the top. A crown of this type three or three and one-half inches in height would be at least one and one-half inches smaller at the top than at the bottom. Any crown made separately from the brim must be large enough to cover the headsize wire on the brim at the base. To eliminate any slashes or seams in the side crown, a paper pattern should be made. Following paragraphs explain how this is done.


Pattern for slanting side crown

Cut a piece of manila paper one-fourth inch wider than crown height and one-half inch longer than headsize wire measure. Slash across this paper in four equally distant places, within one-fourth inch of edge of bottom, then lap slashes at top a little more than one-fourth inch, or about enough to take out about one and one-half inches. Pin slashes. Lap ends of paper one-fourth inch and pin together. Place this pattern on brim with joining at back and pin to upturned slashes on brim. Try on to see if any alterations are necessary. It can be decided at this point and changes made should the crown be too sloping or too straight. An amateur should try on a frame often in order to be assured of lines and curves that are becoming. Remove pattern from brim and cut off from top and bottom any irregularities on the edge.

To cut side crown from buckram

Remove the pins from the seam, allowing pins in slashes to remain. Lay pattern flat on smooth side of buckram, lengthwise of the material to take advantage of the natural roll. Cut close to pattern; lap the ends one-fourth inch. Sew, using a fine[12] back stitch close to each edge; this makes two rows of stitching. Sew a piece of frame wire to top and bottom of side crown, keeping all joining at back. Use same method as in sewing edge wire on brim. Cover both wires with crinoline.

Crown tips

The top of the crown may be kept soft-looking or it may be made of buckram, producing a stiff effect. Both methods will be given.

Soft crown tip—First shape side crown to fit headsize wire on brim, which will be an ellipse. Cut piece of crinoline, the exact shape of the crown, plus one inch all around. Pin this over top, puffing it a very little, and sew with stab stitch close under wire. Cut surplus material off to one-fourth inch.

Stiff crown tip, made of buckram—Lay top of side crown on smooth side of buckram and mark the shape with a pencil. Cut buckram one-half inch outside of this mark. Next, in order to fold down this stiff crown tip, it will be necessary to cut, from this half-inch of buckram outside the pencil line, small wedge-like pieces, about one inch apart. Cut them close to the line drawn. Pin this[13] piece on top of crown, press flaps down and sew on with stab stitch.


If a round crown is to be used it is advisable to buy a ten-cent separate crown or a frame with a round crown. If an entire frame is purchased, remove the crown and wire its bottom edge. After some skill has been acquired by the student of millinery, a round crown of fabric may be blocked by hand over a wire crown.

To cover round crown

Pin material on top of crown with bias at front. Pull with the straight of the material and pin just below edge of curve. Sew one-half inch below this with stab stitch, trim material off close under this stitching. Remove pins. Fit a bias piece of material, using same method and measurements as for side crown of velvet sailor in chapter II. Sew the crown to brim before adjusting the side crown covering. Pull this bias piece over crown and pin smoothly in place. Finish top and bottom of this band by turning the edges over a wire. Use same stitch as in finishing edge of facing on brim.13-1 This[14] makes a neat finish for a hat which will demand little trimming. If the amateur finds it too difficult to finish the bottom of a side crown in this way, the edge may be covered with a fold of material or a narrow ribbon; the top may also be finished by a narrow ribbon, but finishing neatly with a wire should be mastered if possible, as this style of finish is used in many places.

7-1 To cut wire see chapter IV.

7-2 To tie wire see chapter IV.

13-1 See chapter II.




Material required one and one-half yards milliner's velvet or any velvet eighteen to twenty-four inches wide. If velvet used is thirty-six inches wide, one yard will be sufficient.

To cover brim

Place corner of velvet at front of brim on top side (smooth side). Edgewire and headsize wire should always be on top of brim. Turn velvet over edge of brim and pin. Stick pins through at right angles to brim to avoid marring the velvet. Pin closely all around edge of brim, pulling material with the thread to remove any fullness. Do not pull tight enough to bend the brim. Trim velvet off one-fourth inch to turn under brim. Baste close to headsize wire on top with stab stitch. Cut velvet out inside of headsize wire, leaving a half inch to slash and turn up with the buckram.

To sew velvet edge to brim

This should be done with a close overcasting[16] stitch on the under side, being careful not to prick through to the right side of the velvet. It is sometimes advisable in preparing the frame to stitch the buckram in from the edge about one-fourth inch with the sewing machine, using a long stitch. This stitching may then be used to put the needle through when sewing the velvet down. If the velvet seems thick and heavy-looking on under side after sewing, it may be pressed down with a hot iron. If done quickly and lightly, it will not show on the right side.


To face under side of brim

Pin velvet on under side, using same method in pinning as that on top of brim. This must be pinned very carefully. Cut off velvet all around edge, leaving a little less than one-fourth inch to turn under. Facings are usually finished at the edge with a wire. Cut a piece of frame wire the exact circumference of the brim, plus one inch for lap. Bend to shape of brim and pin under edge of velvet, beginning at the center back. Roll velvet over wire and bring out to edge. Pin in place all the way around before beginning to sew. Place pins in at right angles to brim. A piece of velvet[17] held in the left hand will prevent finger marks from showing on the velvet. Begin to sew at left of wire joining, while holding underside of brim towards you. Bring needle through from back close under wire. With the head of the needle press velvet along under wire to make a crease or sort of bed for the thread of the next stitch. Take nearly a half-inch stitch by placing needle close under the wire and coming through between the wire and the upper facing. Come back under the wire with a very small back stitch, being careful to adjust the wire as you sew, and to catch a little of the upper covering with each back stitch. When wire joining is reached, treat the lapped ends as one wire. Fasten ends securely by taking several small back stitches. Lace wire, being smaller than frame wire, is sometimes used to finish the edge of facing. It does not look as heavy, but is somewhat more difficult for a beginner to handle.


To cover crown top

To cover the top, cut a piece of velvet with the bias at the front, same shape as top of crown plus one inch all around. Gather one-fourth inch from edge, place over top, equalize the gathers, pin in[18] place, and sew with stab stitch over line of gathering. Make the edge lie as flat as possible and do not draw velvet too tight across the top.

To cover side crown

Cut a piece of velvet on a true bias two and one-half inches wider than height of crown. Pin this strip wrong side out around side crown to find length and to locate seam. Draw it snugly and pin seam on straight of material with warp thread. (Warp thread is parallel with selvage.) Remove velvet and stitch seam. Open it and press by drawing it over the edge of a hot iron.

To sew crown on brim

The simplest way to proceed is to sew the crown on the brim before adjusting the side crown covering. Pin back, front, and each side of crown to brim, placing seams at back. Sew through upturned flaps of brim and crown one-fourth inch from bottom wire. Stretch the velvet strip for side crown on the crown, placing seam at back, unless trimming has been planned which will cover the seam better if it is placed at some other point. Turn top and bottom edges under to fit the side crown,[19] and press bottom fold down close to brim. If this band has been fitted tight enough, it will not be found necessary to sew it.

Edge of brim facing, when finished without wire

A brim covered with velvet or any fabric may also be finished underneath without a wire, the edges being slipstitched together. In this case, the underfacing would be turned under one-fourth inch and pinned in place all the way around before beginning to sew. Bring the needle through from underside of facing to the very edge of fold. Place point of needle directly opposite this stitch and take a small stitch in upper facing, then take a small stitch in underfacing. Each stitch always begins just opposite the ending of preceding stitch, so that the thread between the two facings crosses the seam at right angles to edge of brim. This method makes the work look smooth, and also it will not pull out of place; however, this style of finishing an edge is not popular and requires much practice.

To cover narrow brim sailor without an edge seam

This method can be used satisfactorily only when[20] the brim is narrow, and the fabric pliable. For convenience we will give measurements as for a two and one-half inch brim, flat sailor, outside edge measuring forty inches. Cut a bias piece of velvet forty inches long and seven inches wide. Fold this velvet through center lengthwise and stick pins every three inches through edge of fold at right angles to edge and close to edge. This is to mark the line that must be placed on the edge of the brim. If the velvet is not placed evenly, there will be found a greater amount of fullness on one side than on the other. Place velvet over the brim and pin on edge at points marked by pins. Stretch as tight as possible. On a brim of this width all of the fullness should be worked out. If this is found to be very difficult, lay the brim aside, with the velvet pinned on, for an hour or for overnight, and the velvet will be found to give a little more. Remove as much of the length as possible. Locate seam, remove from frame, sew seam, and replace as before. Sew on top close to headsize wire, working out all the fullness possible; pull under part up into headsize. Sew one-fourth inch above headsize wire onto the flaps, being careful not to pull the thread too tight or the headsize wire will be reduced in size.


A pleasing variety is sometimes obtained by using a colored underfacing on a black hat. The entire facing may be of a contrasting color or extend only from headsize wire to within an inch of the edge of the brim. In this case there could be a strip of material the same as upper facing an inch and a half wide finished at the edge of the brim with a wire. Then the colored facing would be finished over the edge of this with another wire.

Brims covered with two kinds of fabric

A flat brim or mushroom shape is often covered by using two fabrics, which may be of the same color or of contrasting colors. Small pieces of old material may often be conserved in this manner and the hat at the same time have much charm. For instance, the edge of the hat could have a bias band of satin, two or more inches wide, stretched around the edge of the brim, with the rest of the brim covered with velvet overlapping the satin and finished with a wire both on top and bottom, or only on one side. Underside of brim may be finished the same way, or the facing may be brought out even with the edge and finished with a wire.

[22]Shaped brim foundation

The simplest shaped brim is the mushroom style.

To make pattern for brim

Make a paper pattern the same as for the straight brim sailor. Measure the same for the headsize wire, join ends of wire, shape to fit the head, and pin on paper pattern of any desired width. To make the brim droop, slash the pattern from the edge to the headsize wire in four different places equally distant. Lap these slashes one-fourth inch at the edge, and pin. The pattern may also be slashed in eight or more different places if desired, the slashes being adjusted by lapping more or less according to the amount of droop which may be becoming.

After the pattern is adjusted satisfactorily, mark with a pencil all around just inside the headsize wire. Remove the wire and cut the paper on this line. Cut pattern in two at back and lay out flat on smooth side of buckram, leaving pins in slashes. Cut close to outside edge and allow one-fourth inch for the lap at ends. Mark on buckram with pencil close to headsize line and cut one-half inch inside this mark. Lap ends one-fourth inch and backstitch[23] closely at each edge of flap. Sew a strip of crinoline flat over seam to smooth it up. Sew headsize wire on place marked, which will be one-half inch from inside edge. Keep all joinings at back. Slash buckram from inside edge to headsize wire every half inch. Wire edge of brim and cover wire with crinoline—same method as used on sailor brim.

To cover a mushroom-shaped brim

If not very drooping, it may be covered without making a seam in the material. To do this, begin by placing the corner of the fabric on top at the front of the brim. Pin the front, back, and each side, always pulling with the thread of the material, and pin closely at edge, with pins at right angles to the brim. If covered with georgette, satin or silk, which is pliable, the fullness may all be worked out without a seam. Baste close to headsize wire and finish edge by following same method as used in finishing sailor brim. Also follow same method with facing. If the material used is not pliable, or if the brim is too drooping to admit of stretching the material smoothly, a seam must be made at the back. The method would be the same as used in covering the rolled brim.

[24]Sheer materials

In covering with anything as sheer as georgette, it is advisable to line with some other material first. The color could be made deeper by using a lining of the same color, or made paler by lining with white. The lining should be fitted and sewed on with the outside material.

Pattern for hat with rolled or close-fitting brim

The pattern for any hat is first cut from a flat piece of paper. The headsize is marked as for flat sailor and the headsize wire pinned on. The pattern is then slashed in to headsize wire from the outside edge, the slashes lapped over and pinned. If the hat is to be rolled more closely on one side than on the other, the greater number of slashes must be placed there. In this way the pattern can be adjusted to any desired shape. It is an advantage sometimes to cut the paper pattern through in the back, leaving pins in the slashes, and lay out flat on another piece of paper for a new pattern. This eliminates some of the slashes and makes further experiments easier. Pattern-making is very impor[25]tant, and it is of extreme value to make as many patterns as possible before cutting the foundation fabric. Changing a pattern the slightest sometimes makes a great deal of difference in its becomingness. Of course a brim may be changed by adding a slash or two in the buckram, or by inserting a V shape to give more flare, but the fewer seams the better for the hat frame. A rolled or close-fitting brim is more difficult to cover than a sailor or mushroom shape.

To cover a close-fitting or rolled brim

Place corner of material on top of brim at front and pin on the edge. Always use the same method of pinning on the edge as given in the first lesson. Draw the material down to the headsize wire and pin. Work the material out smoothly toward the left and pin at the edge; also at the headsize wire. Then proceed in the same way toward the right, always pinning closely. Be sure to keep the material tight and smooth both at edge and at the headsize wire. Allow the fullness to go where it will. The seam should be located at the center back. Cut away all superfluous material, allowing three-eighths of an inch seam at the center back. Turn[26] the raw edges under away from each other at the seam and slipstitch together neatly.

To slipstitch seam

Bring needle through edge of fold on one side and enter the needle through edge of fold on other side exactly opposite. Slip needle along in this fold one-eighth of an inch, then bring the needle through to the edge of the fold and take a stitch one-eighth of an inch long in the fold of the other side, always being careful to begin the stitch exactly opposite the end of the one preceding. Try to cut the material out from inside the headsize wire in one piece so that it may be used for something else. Examine the material carefully to make sure that it fits perfectly. Baste with a stab stitch close to the headsize wire on the outside; remove all pins as soon as possible. After basting this, you will sometimes find that the material needs a little more adjusting at the edge. Turn the velvet over the edge one-fourth inch and sew down with an overcasting stitch.

To glue velvet to the brim

When there is a decided roll to a brim, it is[27] sometimes most difficult to keep the velvet smooth and to make it lie close to the brim, so we resort to milliner's glue. Do not use glue on satin, or on any fabric thinner than velvet, or on any frame other than buckram. Care should always be taken to have the smooth side of the buckram on top when the velvet is to be glued on.

After fitting the velvet carefully and sewing the seam in the back, remove the pins from the outer edge and gather the velvet up inside the headsize where it is to be held while the glue is being spread on the buckram. The glue must be spread very evenly. It will make a neater job to glue the seam of the velvet open before going further. Be very careful to keep the glue away from the right side of the velvet. Next, rub the glue on the frame with a stiff brush until it is smooth, then spread the velvet back into place, pressing and smoothing it with the hands from the headsize wire out. Watch it carefully for any places which have not sufficient glue, as the material may be raised before it is dry and more glue added. Do not sew the edge until the glue has dried. Usually it is only the material on the upper side of the brim which needs gluing down. The facing may be put on as desired. Some[28]times the top of a crown has indentations, and then the velvet may be glued to stay in place.

The under or outer facing may be fitted to a rolled or close-fitting brim more easily than the upper. Beginning at the front with the corner of the material, pin at the edge and at the headsize wire. Keep the material smooth; work from right to left, and then from left to right. Work the material around to where the seam is to be made. Cut away all superfluous material, allowing three-eighths of an inch for a seam. Slipstitch together as on the top and finish the edge over wire. Whenever possible a seam should be made on the straight of the material.

A shirred crown of fabric

There are two methods of making a shirred crown of fabric in which taffeta, satin, georgette, or velvet may be used. Velvet is especially beautiful made up in this way. The first method is the preferred. Cut a circular piece of material, having a diameter the length of the crown from front to back, measuring over the top from the headsize wire, plus four inches.

On the wrong side of the material mark circles[29] (concentric) one-half inch apart, after first having marked a circle in the center about three inches in diameter. Gather on the line of each circle with a fine running stitch and bring the thread through to the right side as each circle is completed.

Locate the exact center of the crown top and cut a small hole at this point. Pull thread of the smallest circle up tight. This will form a bag which should be pulled down through the hole made at the center of the crown top and sewed securely in place. The material should be pinned down at four equal points at the edge of the crown, the threads of the other circles pulled up until the material fits the crown snugly. Adjust the fullness evenly and sew in place. This is an excellent way to use up old material which would otherwise show marks or any other defects.

The second method does not make as pleasing an effect, but may be used when the material happens to be in such shape that a circle cannot be cut from it. A bias strip about eight inches wide and long enough to reach around the crown, plus three or four inches, should be joined on the lengthwise thread of the material. The first shirring or gathering should be one-half inch from the edge, the addi[30]tional threads should be run in evenly every half inch. The first thread near the edge should then be drawn up as tightly as possible and this edge pushed through the hole in the top of the crown. This method will require a somewhat larger opening than the first. The material is then drawn down on the outside and pinned to the bottom of the crown; the threads are then pulled tight and firm and are fastened off. Next adjust the gathers evenly and sew in place.




Lay the pattern on the neteen in such a way as to bring the bias where the greatest amount of roll is to be, then cut making the same allowances as if cut from buckram. This material should be used double to secure the best results. Cut one thickness first and pin this on another piece in such a way that the warp thread of one piece will lie parallel to the woof thread of the other. Cut the two pieces the same size and before removing the pins baste closely all over the brim with fine thread, making one inch stitches. Fine thread should be used for this as a coarse thread might show through the covering.

To join the seam in the back

Insert one thickness between the other two ends, and backstitch closely. This method ought to make a fairly smooth seam. Cover the seam with a strip of crinoline to smooth it up.

[32]To sew edge wire on neteen

It is difficult to sew edge wire on neteen. A good result is obtained, however, by sewing the wire directly on the edge or by covering the edge first with crinoline and sewing the wire on it. Great care must be taken in handling neteen to preserve the shape, as it is very easily stretched and pulled out of shape while sewing on the edge wire. The same method is used in covering a neteen frame as with the buckram frame. The velvet, if velvet is used, can be glued on, but the material is so porous that it is not very satisfactory. Neteen and crinoline make excellent foundations for braid hats, as these materials are light in weight, soft, and pliable. They are also very satisfactory for children's hats.

To make a turban frame of neteen or crinoline

Make the side crown from a bias fold of neteen or crinoline, the height desired, plus one inch. The length should be the headsize measurement plus one-half inch. This allows for a tiny flare next to the face which is usually more becoming. Join the ends of bias strips on the warp thread.

[33]To wire turban flare

Sew the headsize wire one inch from the bottom, being careful not to stretch or full the material. Cut another piece of brace wire one or two inches larger than headsize wire and sew on the raw edge at the bottom, stretching the fabric to fit if a flare is desired. A roll may be made by slightly fulling the fabric on to the wire, which must be smaller than for a flare. If the side of the crown is to be curved in slightly, this is easily done by taping the side about halfway between the top and the bottom, drawing the tape as tight as is necessary. Next pin the tape and sew in place. Sew another wire high enough above the tape to make the crown the required height. If the crown is to be flared a little at top, sew the wire inside and stretch the material as much as desired. If the top of the crown is to be drawn in, sew the wire on the outside, making the crown slightly smaller at the top. If sufficient material is allowed at the top the extra amount may be drawn up over a small circle of wire to make the crown top, but an extra piece cut for this purpose is more satisfactory. A smooth crown may be made from an extra piece sewed over the top after the side is finished.

[34]Covering turbans

Turbans are becoming to many types and are particularly suitable for the matron. Gay coverings are used on them often when they would be out of place on a larger hat. However, any material may be used; braids, alone or in combination with fabric. Velvets, georgette, satin, and taffeta are used. A turban covered entirely with flowers sewed down flat makes a charming hat: the lower edge invariably looks better if first bound with a bias piece of velvet no matter what the covering may be—it seems to give a softer look around the face. A round crown of buckram makes a good turban frame if a bias strip of crinoline an inch wide is sewed to the lower edge to give a little flare. A frame of this kind may be draped with velvet, satin, georgette, or any pliable material, and when skillfully done the effect is beautiful indeed.





To open coil of wire

Hold the coil in the left hand; unfasten and allow it to loosen gradually in the hand; pass it over the arm and knock it until the coils separate.

To cut wire

Place wire firmly and squarely between the jaws of the pliers at the point where they cut and press straight down. Be sure to cut with the first attempt; otherwise, if the wire is haggled off, the pliers are injured and the covering loosened at the ends of the wire which will make it impossible to tie them together.

[36]To straighten wire

Pass the wire between the thumb and finger with a sweeping motion. A piece of cloth or paper may be held in the hand if the fingers become tender. Do not make small dents in the wire in attempting to straighten it, as it will be impossible to remove them.

To tie wire

Ends of brace wire parallel.

Right angles tied diagonally.

Brace wire tied without use of tie wire.

Before beginning to make a frame of wire, time will be saved and necessary experience gained by tying a few short pieces of wire, until a strong joint can be made. Cut fifty pieces or more of tie wire three-quarters of an inch long. Cut two pieces of brace or frame wire two or three inches long. Lap the ends of the heavy wire one inch, then lap one of these pieces of tie wire around once as close to the end of the brace wire as is possible. Hold in the left hand and with the end of the pliers grasp the ends of the tie wire as close to the brace wire as possible and twist tightly until the joint feels firm. Place pliers back a little and twist several times[37] until a little cable is formed. Cut this off, leaving an eighth-inch end. Press this end down flat with the jaws of the pliers. Tie the other end in the same manner. Practice this until a satisfactory joint can be made with ease, before attempting to make a frame of wire.


To fasten two pieces of brace wire diagonally

To fasten two pieces of brace wire without the use of tie wire

Hold the strand of wire against the wire to which it is to be fastened, at right angles to it, with about two and one-half or three inches extending beyond the point at which the twist is to be made. Press the end straight backward, close to and parallel with the other end of the wire. The end should pass once and a half around. Use the jaws of the pliers to press parallel wires in the twist together, and to tighten the twist. Cut the end off close and use the pliers to press the end down flat.

To make wire frame for hat having flat brim and square crown

Always remember that it will greatly simplify[38] the work first to make a paper pattern for every hat. A hat is seldom made with all sections of the brim of equal width, and this is one important reason why it is more satisfactory first to make a paper pattern.

Pattern for brim

Make a pattern the same as for a straight-brim sailor, being careful to fold the pattern in halves from front to back, and to crease sharply. Fold the halves into fourths and the fourths into eighths and crease. This is to determine the position of the wire spokes in the brim. The eight creases will correspond to the eight spokes in the brim; this is the correct number of spokes.

Headsize wire for wire frame

A wire frame needs two headsize wires, so cut two just alike, remembering always that the headsize wire is the most important wire in any hat, as the comfort of the wearer depends upon the measurements taken for this wire. Measure as for the headsize in a fabric hat, lapping the ends one inch, and tying them. Try on these wires and shape to[39] fit the head. They should usually be elongated two inches.

Pin the headsize wire on the paper pattern, placing the joining on the back crease and the exact center front of wire on the front crease; next pin the sides securely, being careful to keep the wire shaped to fit the head. Allow one-half inch inside of wire and slash every half inch out to headsize wire. The pattern may now be tried on the head for any necessary alterations. The brim pattern may be added to or cut away.

Working measurements needed

Make a pencil mark on the pattern around the headsize wire. Before removing the wire, mark the eight different points where it crosses the creases in the paper pattern. Remove the wire from the pattern.

Sticks for brim

Straighten and cut four pieces of frame wire the length of the diameter of the brim plus three inches for finishing. Place one of these sticks across the headsize wire from front to back on the marks made by the pencil, allowing the ends to extend an equal[40] length. Fasten to the headsize wire with tie wire. Place the next stick from side to side, joining on the pencil marks. The two remaining sticks when placed on the remaining marks divide the circle into eighths. This is called the skeleton of the brim; the wires are named front, back, right side, left side, right side front, right side back, left side front, left side back. The position of these ends or spokes should correspond to the creases in the paper pattern, and the length of each one should be determined by measuring the corresponding crease on the pattern.

Edge wire

Cut a circle of brace wire the exact length of the circumference of the brim plus one inch for lap and tie. Lay this close to the edge of the pattern and mark on it with pencil where each crease touches it, always keeping the tied ends on the back crease. If these measurements are carefully made, the brim will be exactly like the pattern.

To join edge wire

Begin at the back and place the mark on the[41] edge wire on the back spoke at the pencil mark. Twist the end of the spoke once and a half around the edge wire, using the jaws of the pliers to tighten the twist. Cut the end off close and press the cut end flat with the pliers. Next finish the center front spoke, then the sides and those in between. A great deal depends upon accuracy in making an acceptable wire frame. Add as many circles of wire between the edge wire and the headsize wire as desired, fastening to the spokes with tie wire. Keep all wire laps at the back on the center spoke.

Collar of brim

Cut the wire inside of the headsize wire in the center. Twist these wires once and a half around the headsize wire, bringing the ends up at right angles to the headsize wire. Join the second headsize wire to the top of these wires, using the same method as for joining the edge wire. This collar may be made very low or as high as the wires will permit. A separate crown of wire is not always used in a hat covered with very sheer material or sheer braid. In such a case the collar would be made as high as possible to make a support for the crown trimming.

[42]Square crown for wire frame

Straighten the brace wire and cut four sticks or pieces long enough to reach from the base of the crown at the front up over the proposed crown to the base of the crown at the back, allowing eight inches for finishing. Cut and join a small circle of brace wire—about three inches in diameter—for the crown top. Lay the four sticks across this circle dividing it into eight equal sections as at the beginning of the brim, and join to the sticks with tie wire. Cut a piece of brace wire one inch smaller than the headsize wire. Lap the ends and tie this wire. Elongate slightly. Join to the sticks outside of the small circle. Keep all lapped ends of circles on the center back spoke. Bend spokes down over this circle, then measure down from this circle for the height of crown and mark on spokes with pencil. Be very accurate.

Base wire for crown

Measure and cut a length of brace wire one-half inch longer than for the headsize wire. Lap the ends one inch and join with tie wire. The base wire of any separate crown must be large enough to fit over the headsize wire on the brim. Place this[43] circle, after having shaped it like the headsize wire, on the inside of the spokes at the point marked, beginning at the center back, and finish as any edge wire by twisting the ends of the spokes once and a half around the wire. Press the wires down tight with the pliers. Cut the ends off close and press flat with the jaws of the pliers. Many more circles may be added and tied on with tie wire if desired; also more spokes may be added. This would be desirable if the frame is to be covered with braid, or if used for blocking fabric for frames.

Transparent hats

If a wire frame is to be covered with thin material, great care and thought should be given to the frame, for it then forms part of the design of the hat. A finer wire is sometimes used in this case, or a beautiful frame may be made for thin materials by using a satin-covered cable wire, and using as few wires as possible. It may seem advisable after a wire frame is made to cut away some of the wires.




A round crown is one which rounds from tip to base. First straighten, measure, and cut four sticks of brace wire, as for square crown, of the ordinary length, allowing for finishing. Cut and join the ends of a short piece of brace wire five or six inches long. This makes a small circle for the top of the crown. Begin by tying the sticks across this circle under it, dividing it into halves, quarters, and eighths, being careful that the divisions are made accurately and that the sticks extend an equal length from the circle. Keep these wires flat across this circle. The sticks may now be curved down. It is sometimes found easier to attach the base wire at this point before adding other circles.


Base wire

Cut a piece of brace wire one-half inch longer than the wire used for the headsize wire. Lap the ends one inch. Make this the same shape as the headsize wire and test the size by trying it on over[45] the headsize wire on the brim for which the crown is made. An ordinary height for a round crown would be seven inches from tip to base wire, but to be safe, it is always better to measure the head. Sometimes, on account of an abundance of hair or a high coiffure, a greater height is needed. If the base wire is elongated to fit the head, the side measurement from the tip to the base of the crown will be found shorter than from the tip to the front and the back. It will be most helpful to take an old crown which has an elongated headsize and either measure it and work from the measures or else work over it.

The crown must be even at the bottom when finished, and when placed upon the table must rest evenly. The base wire may be tied with tie wire on the front and back spokes and on each side spoke until the circles between it and the crown tip are added. It will then be found easy to adjust it before finishing off the wires; i.e., the crown may be made higher or lower.

Circles or hoops

Add three circles of wire between the base wire and the small circle at the top. The first circle just above the base wire should be of the same size. Keep[46] all wire laps at the back. The other two circles will conform to the shape of the crown and will be found to be a little further apart at the front and back than at the sides.

To finish the base of the crown

The spokes of the crown may now be turned out sharply where the base wire is to be fastened and finished off the same as the edge wire on the brim.

A shaped wire frame made in one piece

The simplest wire frame which is shaped at all is the mushroom shape or one that droops a little. Before beginning this hat it will be found easier to have a pattern for the brim, but it will not be necessary to make a pattern for the crown, which may be either round or square, and for which directions have already been given.

Pattern for brim

Make a pattern of manila paper for the brim the same as for a fabric shape, following the same directions. It may droop only a very little or fit quite close. In either case the method is the same.

[47]Pin the headsize wire on this pattern and try on to shape. Mark on the wire at the point where the creases touch the wire. It is important not to hurry at this point. Make many patterns and then choose the most becoming one. After the pattern is perfected, crease it sharply the same as in the sailor brim. Take all the measurements from this pattern and use them in marking the wires. This brim pattern is not needed until the crown has been made. In making a wire frame in one piece, we begin at the top of the crown and work down.


Measure four sticks as for the crown in the preceding lesson, plus the width of the brim, plus six inches for finishing. This is ample to finish both ends of wire, but on account of the ends easily becoming frayed it is better to have a generous allowance. Begin at the crown tip and work down until ready for the headsize wire. The last wire is or should be of the same size as the regular headsize wire. Place the lap of the headsize wire on the back spoke of the crown and join by twisting the spokes once and a half around. Join the front and remaining spokes in the same way, being careful[48] to join where the wire was marked at the creases on the pattern.


We are now ready to make use of the measurements taken from the pattern. Mark the length of each spoke with a pencil; the distance they are to be apart should be marked on the edge wire. These measurements are taken from the pattern. Finish the edge the same as the sailor brim. Add as many circles between the edge wire and the headsize wire as desired.

We have now made in wire the first variation from a perfectly flat brim. Always make a pattern before making a wire frame except when copying and then measurements may be taken from the hat to be copied. Here are some of the reasons why the pattern is important: first, it may be tried on and this helps to decide if the style is becoming, before working it out in wire; second, the position of the wires may be determined and marked on the paper pattern; third, the more work done from a paper pattern the easier it will be to copy; fourth, it trains the eye, thus making free-hand work much easier.

[49]A rolling brim

Whether the hat is made in one piece or with a separate brim, the same method is used. First, as always, the paper pattern. If the brim is to roll closely on one side and much higher than on the other, extra wires will be needed to fill the space. The place for these may be determined on the paper pattern. They may go all the way around, being brought more closely together on the low side or only part way around as in the illustration.

Wire frame making requires much patience and practice. It is an art just as all millinery is an art. Lines are all important. Because of this I urge much pattern making. Even though one may not have the fundamental principles of art, something really good often develops and we find we have built better than we knew. It stimulates originality, but we must work without fear.

To color wire frames

Wires come in both black and white. A white frame may be colored to match any sheer fabric used for its covering. It will be found to be more simple to color the frame after it is made. Any of the cold or soap dyes may be used. If these are not[50] available, a piece of velveteen soaked in alcohol and rubbed on the frame will give of its color sufficiently to tint the wire. Crêpe paper may also be used, or water-color paints. Rouge may be used effectively if moistened. There are also gold and silver wires which may be used for frames when desired, and which will add to the beauty of the design. If they cannot be purchased, a frame of white wire may be gilded by using liquid gilt, applying it to the frame with a small brush.

Halo hat brims

Halo brims may be made from any fabric, but to be effective the material should be sheer. Malines, nets, georgette crêpe, or chiffon are all used to good effect in making this style of hat. Good-looking halo brims have been made from old georgette waists, using the back for the brim and the front and sleeves for the crown.

Only two wires are used in making this brim, the edge wire and the headsize wire. The size of the brim is to be determined and then a hoop of sprung wire cut just the length of the circumference of the brim. This wire is uncovered; the ends just meet and are joined by the use of a little clamp, the ends[51] being inserted and pressed down with the jaws of the pliers.

Place the material from which the brim is to be made upon a flat surface. If of maline, several thicknesses may be used. Fasten this material down to the table slightly with pins or thumb tacks. Lay a circle of sprung wire on the material and pin in place. Begin by pinning the back, front, and then each side, being careful not to pull the wire out of shape. Take the work up and pin the material closely all around the edge. Cut off, allowing one-quarter of an inch to turn over the wire. Sew to the wire closely with an overcasting stitch or with a running stitch just inside of the wire. The edge may be bound with a fold of the same material, a fold of satin or one row of braid.

Headsize wire for halo brim

This headsize wire is made of frame wire. First measure, then cut, join ends, and shape as for any hat. Lay the headsize wire on the material, having the joining at the back. The front and the back of the brim, if of equal width, will be somewhat narrower than the side because of the elongated headsize wire; however, the headsize wire may be placed[52] on the brim in any position desired. Pin in place and sew with an overcasting stitch. Trim the material inside the headsize wire, leaving an extension of one-quarter of an inch to turn over; it will be found necessary to sew this down over the wire, making the edge more secure.

Another method of making a halo brim is accomplished by cutting a piece of material on the bias, twice as wide as the brim and as long as the circumference. Stretch this piece of material, then pin the center of the strip over the edge wire, gather the raw edges to fit the headsize wire and sew in place. This method does not make a smooth brim, but is more quickly made. When two thicknesses of sheer material are used for halo brims a very pretty effect is obtained by placing flat flowers, petals of flowers, or feathers between the two materials.

Crown for halo brim

This may be very sheer, although a halo brim may be used on a braid or satin crown if desired. A wire crown for a halo brim usually consists of a mere collar of frame wire several inches high. This is sewed to the headsize wire. The covering[53] for the crown is usually made in the shape of a circle about fourteen inches in diameter, with the same number of thicknesses as the brim. Gather one-quarter of an inch from the edge, adjust fullness and sew to the headsize wire. The height of the crown depends upon the style of hair dressing. Place a band of the same material as the crown, or a narrow ribbon, around the base of the crown for trimming and to conceal the wires. A wired bow of the sheer material may be used very effectively. (See chapter on “Bows.”)




To cover with braid

Great care and patience must be exercised in covering a hat with straw braid. The lines which are to be emphasized should be carefully studied, as there are several methods used in laying the braid on the frames. (See illustration.)

The stitch used for sewing braid is always the same—a very short stitch on the right side, and a stitch one-quarter of an inch long on the wrong side. The thread must not be pulled too tight, or the position of the stitches may be seen; also always match the thread to the straw. Straw braid may be sewed to a willow, buckram, neteen, or crinoline frame except when a very soft hat is desired; it may then be sewed and shaped over a wire or buckram frame, but not on to it, as it is to be removed from the frame after sewing; or, if the braid is coarse, it may be sewed to a wire frame which has been previously covered with crinoline or mull. (See illustration.)


Many hats have a brim faced with straw, while a[55] fabric is used on top. In this case the braid must be put on first in order that the stitches may be taken through the brim, which the fabric on top will cover.

To pin in place on the frame

Place the outer edge of the straw even with the outer edge of the brim, beginning at the center back, allowing three inches to extend to the right. Pin in place and baste all the way around until the center back is reached. Curve the second row gradually up from the center back; do not make an abrupt curve, until the correct lap is reached, usually one-eighth of an inch. There will be found a thread at the edge of most braids which may be pulled up to take out the extra fullness when sewed on a curve. The outside edge of the first row must be left free for the edge of the fabric, which covers the other side, to be slipped under. Do not begin sewing until the second row is basted in place.

To sew

Bring the needle through the edge of the braid at the lap from the under side and take a tiny stitch, stabbing the needle through the braid and the buckram; the small stitch on the right side will be hidden[56] if the thread is not pulled too tight. Take a stitch on the wrong side from one-quarter to one-half an inch in length, depending upon the width and quality of the braid. Continue basting and sewing the braid until the headsize is reached and the braid extends up above the headsize wire one inch. If the brim is wider at some points than at others, the wider side must be filled in with short strips following the same curve, being careful that the ends are left long enough to extend up beyond the headsize wire one inch. When the brim is very much wider at some points, short pieces of braid may be worked in at intervals as the braid is sewed; this would not make such an abrupt curve, and the general lines of the braid would be more pleasing.

When one side of the brim is to be covered with fabric, fit this to the brim, baste at the headsize wire and cut the edge, allowing one-quarter of an inch to lap over the edge. Remove the basting from the first row of braid and tuck the edge of the fabric under. Pin and slipstitch to place through the straw.

Both sides of brim covered with braid

Allow the first rows to project slightly beyond the edge of the brim both on the top and the bot[57]tom. These edges may be brought together with a small slanting stitch, or if preferred the edge may be first bound with a bias piece of satin, or with a row of braid or gay-colored material. If the edge of the brim is bound, the edges of the first rows of braid at the top and bottom would not meet. The bound edge thus showing gives the effect of a cord.

To cover a crown with braid

Begin at the bottom of the crown, slanting the second row off from the first row the same as on the brim. Pull the braid up with the thread (which will be found on the edge of nearly every braid) and sew until the center of the crown tip is reached, when a hole in the top of the crown may be made and the end pushed through and fastened on the underside. Keep the braid full enough so that it will lie flat all the way. Sometimes it is easier to begin sewing the braid on at the very center of the top of the crown, or a few rows may be sewed to a small circle of crinoline before attaching to the top of the crown.

If a braid is used which is composed of four or five smaller braids sewed together, the method is[58] the same until the crown tip is reached or a place where it is impossible to make the braid lie flat. The braid must then be separated into the smaller strands and one cut off at a time, and each end lapped under the preceding strand; proceed with the remaining strands, cutting one off at a time until only one remains to finish the center with. When the crown tip is completed, push the remaining end through a hole in the center of the crown tip and sew to the inside of the crown. When using this kind of braid the operation may be reversed, beginning at the center of the top and covering a small circle of buckram with braid; press it with a warm iron to flatten it, then sew in place on the crown and complete the covering. This seems the easier method, because the top of the crown will look much better if pressed and this will be found hard to do unless begun on a small separate piece of buckram.

To piece braid

Sometimes a braid must be pieced at a conspicuous point on the hat, when careful handling will be found necessary. If the braid is composed of several smaller braids sewed together, the ends should be ripped apart for several inches and the strands[59] cut in unequal lengths; also the strands of the other end which is to be joined to it should be cut of such length as to meet the corresponding ends and allow a lap of one inch. The ends cut in this way may be tucked under one at a time without the joining being noticeable. If the braid is very wide it may seem best when covering a frame to cut and join the ends of the row of braid. It would then be better to make a straight joining in the back.

If a fancy braid is to be pieced, the ends are lapped diagonally and sewed flat. If a fancy joining is part of the design, a simple one is to lap the ends to look as though woven. This may be employed on a crown or brim or both, and it then becomes a part of the design. Also the top of the crown or any part of the hat may have a woven covering of braid, but any such fancy method requires an additional amount of braid.

The top of the crown may be covered by laying the braid on straight from front to back, allowing the ends to extend down on the side crown an inch or more. The braid of the side crown should cover these ends. The brim of a narrow hat is often covered with short lengths of braid radiating from the headsize wire, the ends extending up on the crown[60] one inch. A fabric is often combined with braid for the sake of design, or if there is an insufficient quantity of braid.

Crown top of braid, side crown of fabric

Side crown of braid and top of fabric

Band of material, plain or corded, set in side crown

Brim and crown made from small pieces of silk and braid

A very soft-looking braid hat may be made by sewing braid over a wire foundation which has been made for the purpose. The braid may be pinned on the brim of wire and sewed, being careful not to attach the braid to the frame; slip the needle over the wire and finish sewing the braid while it is still pinned to the brim, then remove, press slightly, and sew a facing of braid to the under side of the brim if desired. Some kinds of braid may be dampened before pressing, but it is safer to experiment first with a small piece, for some braid is ruined by pressing.

A soft crown of braid should be fitted over a[61] wire crown and sewed in the same way. After removing it from the wire frame, it can be slightly pressed by holding it over a thick cloth held in the hand and pressing a warm iron to the outside. A soft hat of braid can more easily be made by first making a frame of crinoline and sewing the braid to it. Horsehair braid crowns are beautiful when shaped over a wire foundation. They may be pressed slightly (after being removed from the wire crown over which they have been shaped) when they will be found to keep their shape. The brim would need a wire foundation to hold it out in shape and the braid should be caught down to the wire as it is being sewed. A small lace wire should be used for this foundation, four spokes together with the headsize wire and edge wire being sufficient. The wire should be wound with maline or have a facing of maline. Horsehair braid is transparent. There are many fanciful ways of using braid on a hat, but these can be readily copied if the foregoing methods have been mastered. Be very careful about pressing braids or adding moisture as it ruins some braids, while others must be moistened before they can be handled in sewing to a hat frame.

[62]Covering wire frames with maline, net or georgette

Wire frames which are to be covered with sheer material, such as maline, net, or georgette, must be carefully made, as the wire frame becomes a part of the design, and the wire should be silk covered.

If maline is used, it should be pleated or gathered on, unless the brim is of the halo style, for which directions are given elsewhere. Four or five thicknesses of maline are necessary. The material is often gathered in small quarter-inch tucks at the points where the tuck may be sewed to the circle wire on the brim or the crown. A small tuck at the edge wire would make a softer looking edge than if put on plain. The fullness is then gathered in and sewed to the headsize wire. If the edge is left plain, a few rows of lacey-looking braid may be sewed on the edge. A wide tuck hanging down from the edge is sometimes used and it is very becoming to certain types of faces. The wires of a frame are often first wound with narrow bias pieces of net or maline. The edges are turned in and the material wrapped on smoothly and evenly. Sometimes the wires are wound with a contrasting color.

[63]An effective covering for any frame may be made from ribbon or bias strips of satin or silk, velvet or georgette, or any soft fabric. If a wire frame is used, it must first be covered with a thin plain material to serve as a foundation to which the ribbon or strips of material may be sewed, or a frame of neteen or crinoline may be used if a very soft hat is desired.

Ribbon covering

If a ribbon is used, it must be gathered on one edge so that it may be drawn down to fit the frame and may be laid on the same as braid. An inch-wide ribbon is easily handled.

Bias fabric

If bias strips of silk or satin are used, the material should be cut in strips two and one-half inches wide, on a true bias, and joined in one long strip. Fold lengthwise through the middle and gather the raw edges together a little less than one-quarter of an inch from the edge. This is sewed to the frame the same as braid, the folded edge overlapping the raw edge and the thread drawn up to adjust it as[64] it is pinned and sewed in place. This is an excellent way to use up old material.

Hat Linings

A hat lining should receive the same careful consideration and workmanship as the outside of the hat. From the milliner's point of view it is an advertisement, the place where we find the designer's name. A well-fitted lining, whether of somber or gay colored silk, enhances the value of a hat. Sometimes we find a tiny sachet rosebud sewed to the lining, or a little lace-trimmed pocket for the veil.

There are three popular kinds of linings—

Plain lining

This should be made of a bias strip of material cut the length of the headsize wire, plus one inch for seam. The width should be the same as the crown height plus two and one-half inches.


Fold one end over one-half inch and pin to the[65] back of the hat; fold the edge of the material down one-quarter of an inch around the inside of the crown as close as possible to the edge without showing when the hat is on the head. Pin in place all the way round and slipstitch the two ends together; then begin at the seam and slipstitch the lining in place. The method is to bring the needle from the underside of the lining through the edge of the fold, catch a few threads of material on the hat opposite this thread, and put the needle back through the fold at the same point; bring the needle through the fold one-half inch from the first stitch and proceed in this manner until the seam is reached. Turn the other raw edge down one-half inch to the wrong side and make a running stitch one-quarter inch from the folded edge in which a narrow ribbon should be run, and drawn down as much as necessary to make the lining fit the crown. A crown tip is used with this lining, which is made of a piece of silk four inches square, sewed or glued to the inside of the crown top. On this piece the designer's name is usually found.

French lining

This lining is made from an oval piece of silk[66] which corresponds to the crown measurements. Measure the crown from front to back and from side to side, adding one inch to these measurements. Fit a small wire to the inside of the hat at the headsize and tie. Lap the edge of the silk over the wire one-quarter of an inch. Gather the silk close to the wire using a small running stitch. After completed, pin in place and slipstitch to the crown. This lining will reduce the headsize of any hat somewhat, so it should never be used if there is any danger of making the hat too small for the head.

Tailored lining

This lining is rather the most popular lining used. Large firms send their material away to be made up for their trade and the linings may be bought ready-made, but almost every one has pieces of silk which may be easily made into one of these linings.

Cut an oval of crinoline two-thirds as large as the top of crown, baste a piece of silk lining over this. Pin this on top of the crown, as this can best be fitted on the outside and should be done before the hat is made. Now cut a piece of bias material long enough to reach around the bottom of the crown wide enough to meet this crown tip at all[67] points. After pinning it to the crown tip, turn up one-quarter of an inch at the bottom and pin to the bottom of the crown. Stretch snugly because the inside of the crown is smaller; pin the fullness to the crown top all around, gather between pins, and baste in place. Stitch on the machine. This seam may be corded or a small cord sewed on to cover the seam.

Linings may be made of taffeta, china silk, satin, sateen or of almost any material which is not too heavy. When a wire frame is covered with thin material and the frame shows through, the hat should have a thin lining. If the hat is covered with maline, use a maline lining; if with georgette, a georgette lining should be used.




Milliner's fold

Cut from a piece of velvet, satin, or any fabric which is to be used, a bias strip one and one-half inches wide and of the desired length. This must be on a true bias, which is found by placing the warp and woof threads parallel. Any other bias is called a garment bias. Hold the wrong side toward you and turn the bottom edge up on the wrong side toward you and up to the center and baste close to the edge. The basting thread must be loose enough to permit the fold to be stretched. Leave the basting in. Next fold the other raw edge down until the two edges meet, but do not baste. Fold again, keeping this last fold one-quarter of an inch or a little less from the other folded edge. Hold in place and slipstitch down. Slip the needle through the edge of the fold and take a long stitch, then, going down through to the other side, take a short stitch. Come back through a little under the fold to hide[69] the stitch. Slip the needle along the edge of the fold as before, and continue in this manner. The thread should be kept loose all the way to permit the fold to be stretched slightly when used. The fold when finished should not twist or look as if it had a stitch in it.

Another separate single fold may be added to this; it is then called a French fold. The milliner's fold has many uses, such as finishing the edge of hats, and the bottom of crowns, to cover the joining of the hat to the brim. It is used sometimes around the top of a square crown and is much used in mourning millinery, when it is made of crêpe.


For the inexperienced in bow-making there is no better plan than to copy many different styles of bows, using either tissue paper or cheap cambric, as ribbons are ruined by being made over too many times. Bow-making is sometimes quite difficult for an amateur, while for some students of millinery it is very easy, but any one with patience may become quite expert in time.

Cut the tissue paper or cambric the exact width of the ribbon which is to be used. In this way the[70] exact amount of ribbon may be determined, as well as the length of each loop. If a stiff, smart-looking bow is to be made, fold the ribbon in loops before pleating. If a soft-looking or puffy, “fat”-looking bow is desired, pleat the ribbon singly before making the loops. The soft bow is often used for children's hats. After the desired number of loops is made, wind a strong thread around the center and over this wrap the remaining end of ribbon around the center several times until the center is filled up sufficiently to look well.

Bows of maline

Maline is one of the most beautiful materials used in millinery and it lends itself to many uses. Hat frames are covered with maline; it is used to cover wings to keep feathers in place; to cover faded or worn-out flowers; for shirred brims and crowns; for pleatings; for folds on edges of brims to give a soft look; and for bows.

A bow of maline requires wiring with a very small tie wire or lace wire. The wire may be caught in a fold at the edge of the loops, or the loops may be made double with the wire caught inside.

[71]Wired ribbon bows

Ribbon is sometimes wired if a stiff effect is desired. Silk, satin, velvet, or any kind of ribbon can be used. The flat ribbon wire is sometimes pasted between two ribbons with milliner's glue. Often two colors are rather effectively used in this way. The wire may also be stitched to one edge of the ribbon. This is done by turning the ribbon over the wire at the edge and stitching on the sewing machine. The ends of the wire should extend two inches beyond the ends of the loop of the bow. After the bow is arranged, these ends should be bent out and back, making loops which are sewed down to the hat. This holds the bow very firmly, especially if a small piece of buckram is placed inside the hat at the point at which the bow is to be sewed. This re-enforces the frame and makes it still more firm. If a bow is to be placed on top of a crown, a hole may be made and the ribbon which completes the middle of the bow may be brought up from the inside of the crown through this opening, over the bow, and down through this opening and fastened inside of the crown.

A narrow ribbon of velvet is very pretty twisted over a wire and two perky loops and ends made.[72] These are very pretty perched on the edge of a brim or among flowers on the hat.

True lovers' knot

This is not, strictly speaking, a bow, but comes under this head. The ribbon used is made into the knot and sewed flat as it is made. It may be sewed on the brim or side crown and is very effective made of gold ribbon.

Tailored bow

This bow is usually made from a piece of ribbon which has both sides alike, although it may be made from any ribbon. A Knox tailored bow is made from gros-grained ribbon. Cut a small piece of buckram for a foundation to sew the ribbon on. This should be sufficiently small so that the ribbon will conceal it. Make two loops of equal length, letting the ribbon lie perfectly flat. Measurements should be very exact. Sew these loops firmly to the buckram; fold the ribbon back and forth to make these loops without cutting. Next fold two more loops, one on each side, one-quarter of an inch shorter and exactly on top. Sew firmly and cut the[73] ribbon off at the center. Fasten two short ends to the back of the bow, allowing them to extend one-quarter of an inch and cut diagonally. Take a short length of ribbon and pleat it once through the center. Wrap this once around the bow and fasten at the back.

This bow is much used on sailors or any tailored hat. There are many kinds of fancy bows brought out from season to season, but if the making of a few styles of standard bows is mastered, others may be easily copied.



A pleating is difficult and requires patience. Unless accurately made, it should never be used on a hat, for upon its accuracy depends its attractiveness. The simplest pleating is a side pleating. This may be made from paper or stiff muslin for practice work. There should not be a thread's difference in the width of each pleat. Any simple pleating requires three times the length of the space it is to cover. If a half-inch pleating is to be made, the folds will come every one and one-half inches. As each fold is laid, baste it down with silk thread. Press slightly on the wrong side before using.

[74]Box pleating

This is made by turning the first pleat to the left and the next to the right. The same amount of material is required as for side pleating. If the pleats are to be one-half inch deep, the box pleat will be one inch across. Baste with silk thread at the top and bottom, and press on the wrong side. A simple box pleating may be basted through the center and the edges caught together.

Double or triple box-pleating

This is made by adding one or more pleats, one on top of the other. Begin by making two or more pleats turning to the left, then the same number turning to the right. Be very accurate, being careful to keep the box pleat the exact width desired. Baste at the top and bottom. This pleating is nearly always used by basting through the center, after having slightly pressed. The top and bottom bastings are then removed. The pleating may be caught together at top and bottom of box pleat, and it is then known as rose pleating.


This is the most difficult pleating to fashion, but[75] very handsome ornaments are made in this way. A foundation of buckram is usually required to sew the pleats on as they are laid. The two illustrations given will suffice. After these two examples are correctly copied, other models and original designs can be easily made.

Foundations of buckram

The foundation for the second is in the shape of a low pyramid made from buckram. Cut a small circle of buckram, slash in three equally distant places from the outer edge to within one-eighth of an inch of the center. Lap a small amount and sew. Three rows or more of pleating may be used on this ornament. An ordinary ornament will require about five yards of inch-wide ribbon. The first row would be placed near the outside edge of the buckram and each pleat sewed as it is laid. The pleating should radiate from the center. To do this, the inside of the pleating will lap more than the outside. The next row will overlap this first row and the same method will be used. The pleating may be tested by holding a ruler on a line between the top and the lower edge of the pleating. The pleats should all be on a straight line between these points. The last or[76] finishing row is the most difficult of all. The pleats at the apex should meet, and pleats at the lower overlapping edge be on a line with the rest of the pleating. A tiny bow or button is sometimes used to finish the top, but it is much handsomer if finished without either bow or button.


Maline pompons make a very pretty ornament for any hat. They may be made perfectly round or elongated like the illustration. Several thicknesses of the material may be cut at one time. The shape of the pieces for the elongated pompon would be cut like pattern “a.” Each piece is folded lengthwise of the material, and this fold is fastened to a wire which has been previously wound with maline. The edges of these pieces are left raw, and enough are used to make the pompon appear quite compact.

Ribbon Rosettes

There are many different kinds of rosettes made from ribbon. Sometimes several loops of ribbon are made very close together and wound with thread as they are gathered. A very pretty rosette[77] is made of narrow ribbon one-quarter of an inch wide. Many loops three inches long or more of this width ribbon may be fastened to a small piece of buckram. A knot placed at the end of each loop adds to its attractiveness.

Rosettes from old plumes

An old plume may be used to make trimming for a hat by cutting it from the quill with a very sharp knife or razor blade, retaining a small portion of the quill which will be sufficient to hold the feathers together. This should be sewed onto a fine wire, and it may then be wound into a rosette. A small flower placed in the center is a pleasing addition.





Material required:
Tie wire, green
Gum tissue, brown and green
Cotton batting
Milliner's glue
Yellow stamens
Dark green tissue paper

Flowers may be made from almost any fabric—satin, velvet, georgette, maline, ribbon, soft leather, oilcloth, yarn, and chenille. A scrapbag for odds and ends should always be kept for small pieces of materials. Any piece two inches square may be used for flowers or fruits. Such a bag of pieces will prove a veritable gold mine to use in making flowers and fruit trimmings. Each year brings out novelties in trimmings, but hand-made flowers are always worn more or less on hats, gowns, suits, and muffs. They are especially beautiful on evening gowns. A generous number of the best examples are given here with illustrations.

[79]To prepare the petals of any flower is not difficult, but to arrange them is another matter. Study the face of any blossom which you are making and try to make it look as natural as possible. Pinning the petals in place before sewing them is of great value, otherwise they are apt to slip back on the stem as they are being sewed.


American Beauty rose

This rose may be made of silk or satin; it may have as many petals as desired. Each petal is cut from a piece of folded material like the diagram (1). It is highly important that the folded edge be on a true bias. Begin the rose by cutting three petals like the illustration, with the bias edge one and one-half inches long. Run a gathering thread one-eighth of an inch from the curved edge, leaving a thread one inch long so that the petal may be adjusted as it is pinned in place. Make a loop one inch long on the end of a piece of wire six inches long. Cover this loop with a small circle of the material like the rose. It is sometimes found to be advantageous to fill this circle with cotton to make a soft center for the rose.

For an ordinary-sized rose there should be eighteen petals. The first three are already described[80] as having a one and one-half-inch bias. The next larger in size should have a two-inch bias and be correspondingly wider; the next five should have a two and one-half-inch bias, and the next five a three-inch bias. The three small petals should be arranged around the covered loop of wire and pinned in place before sewing. Sew securely. Each row, as it is arranged according to size, should be pinned in place and scrutinized carefully to see that it is placed effectively. Each row should be placed a little higher than the preceding one. See that the face of the flower looks as nearly like a real rose as possible, allowing the back to look as it will.

With a little experience one soon becomes efficient and learns how to adjust the different materials. Some materials being more pliable than others, the shape of the petals may be changed slightly to meet the need. The back of the rose may be finished by adding a sufficient number of green leaves taken from some discarded flower or bought for the purpose. A small green cup is also added to finish the base; these may be bought at ribbon counters. The bud used with this rose may be made by using the three smallest petals. Some green foliage must also be used with this rose and the stem bound[81] with a narrow gray-green ribbon, or with gum tissue which should be warmed before using. The inside petals may be of a darker shade than the outside petals.

Ribbon rose

To make a medium-sized ribbon rose requires two yards of satin ribbon two inches wide. There are several different methods of making the center for this rose. A simple center for this rose may be made from a piece of the ribbon, four inches long. Fold this in half. Sew the selvages together along one side. Turn and fill with cotton around which has been wound the end of a six-inch piece of frame wire. A little rose-scented sachet powder may be sprinkled on this cotton to add perfume to the blossom. Gather the satin down close to the wire after rounding the corners at the lower edges. Two yards should make this center and eighteen petals. More may be added or fewer may be used. For the first row cut three lengths three inches long; the second row, five lengths three and one-half inches long; third row, five lengths four inches long; fourth row five lengths four and one-half inches long. Each petal is finished the same before it is sewed in place[82] Fold the two ends together, turn each corner of the folded end down diagonally and pin in place. Now raise the end on the back of the petal and catch the corners down with a few small stitches. Replace the end and gather the raw edges together, but do not draw up close. Prepare all of the petals in the same way before beginning to sew them to the center. Sometimes a tiny bit of cotton is placed inside each petal to make the rose look larger. When all the petals are finished, begin the rose by adding the three smallest petals first. Pin in place around the center, wrapping them closely around it and letting them extend about one-eighth of an inch above the point. Add the next row, pinning each petal in place before sewing. Place each succeeding row one-eighth of an inch above the preceding one. Watch the face of the blossom carefully and see that it looks as natural as possible. The back of the blossom will be covered when finished, either with a few old rose leaves and a rose cup, or points of green ribbon sewed to resemble leaves. A rubber stem may be bought to slip over the wire on which the rose is sewed, or the wire may be wound with green floss, baby ribbon, green tissue paper, or gum tissue. If the rose is to be full blown, it would[83] be much better to make the center of yellow stamens.

Wild rose of silk

The petals for the wild rose may be cut from the same pattern as for the first rose given. This same pattern is used for many different flowers—the wild rose, apple blossom, sweet pea, and for foliage.

For the wild rose use the size having the two-inch bias. Gather one-eighth of an inch from the curved edge, draw down tight and fasten the thread off. This rose requires five petals, and will look more natural if two of the petals are of a darker shade than the other three. For the center wrap a piece of tie wire around several yellow rose stamens which may be bought at a millinery store, leaving the ends of wire five or six inches long. Arrange the petals flat around this center and sew in place. The petals should lie out flat, or nearly so. A bud for this rose is made by folding a petal together after having gathered it. The bud may be effectively finished by using two leaves of foliage, placing one on either side, partially covering the bud and then finishing with the wire or a small green rose cup. To finish with wire, make a loop in the[84] center of a ten-inch piece of tie wire. To this loop sew the bud. Twist the wire several times for an inch below the bud, then turn one end of the wire back and twist it around the stem until the bud is reached. Wind it several times over the base of the bud, draw it tight and see that the wire is close together. This will make a finish for the bud.


The rose foliage may be made if desired. Cut the leaves from green satin or velvet, or color them green with water-color if a light-colored material must be used. After cutting the pieces in the shape of rose leaves (it will require two pieces for each leaf), lay one wrong side up, cover with milliner's glue. Lay on the center of this a piece of tie wire long enough for the stem. Place another leaf on this and press together. When all the leaves are made after this method, arrange on a long stem or wire, and if wound with brown gum tissue it will look very natural.

Small wound rose of fabric

Cut from a true bias a strip of material one inch wide and four inches long. Fold lengthwise through the middle. Turn the raw edges in on one end,[85] and gather one-eighth inch from the edge along the raw edges. Draw the thread up to one inch and roll, beginning with the folded end, and sew. A piece of tie wire may be glued inside the fold before gathering, if desired. These little roses may be sewed on a stem or sewed to a shaped piece of buckram which has been covered with silk. It may be in the shape of a buckle or a circle and covered with these little roses in several colors, pink, blue, and mauve. Sewed flat against a crown or on a brim, they would trim a hat effectively.

Wired rose

This rose, when carefully made, is most beautiful and sells for an exorbitant price. To make the rose as illustrated requires one-quarter of a yard of satin cut on the bias and one-eighth of a yard of velvet cut on the bias. If the velvet is one or more shades darker, the result will be more pleasing.

The rose is fashioned from petals cut like the illustration. The first three petals are cut from dimensions given in the illustration, two inches long and one and three-quarters inches wide. The next five petals should be one-quarter of an inch larger, and each succeeding row of five petals should be[86] one-quarter of an inch larger than the preceding one. The last row of petals is to be made from the velvet. Cut a piece of the tie wire long enough to reach around the outside edge of each petal, plus one and one-half inches. Lay the petals down wrong side up, bend the wire to the shape of the petal, lay the wire close to the edge and turn the raw edge over the wire one-eighth of an inch and glue in place with milliner's glue. Place a light weight on the petals until thoroughly dry.

Begin assembling the flower by first making a center from some of the scraps left from the velvet, or yellow rose stamens may be used; fold several small pieces into bud-like shapes of about one inch in length, sew strongly and fasten on a loop of the wire six inches long. Keep the point where all the petals are joined in as small a circumference as possible. Begin with the three small petals, pleat them at the bottom into as small a space as possible, and sew to the center with the wrong side to the center. After they have been arranged, the edges may be crinkled down somewhat. Add the remaining petals according to their size. The last row of velvet petals is rather pretty if one or more is placed with the right side toward the center.

[87]Flat pasted blossom

A conventional flower which makes a beautiful trimming may be made from the pattern for the wired rose first given. Cut five petals (of any size required) from velvet, and five the same size from silk or satin. Lay the velvet petals wrong side up and cover with milliner's glue. Lay on this a piece of tie wire one-quarter of an inch from the edge, allowing an extension of ends of the wire at the bottom of the petal. Lay the silk petal on top and press firmly. When dry arrange these five petals around a cluster of yellow stamens, which have been fastened to a loop of tie wire. This blossom should lie out flat when finished. Of course the shape of the petals may be changed in any way desired.


The petals of this blossom are also pasted to a lining, the poinsettia making a beautiful ornament. While a bright red is extremely lovely, a black poinsettia is equally effective. The petals should be made of velvet and lined with the same color in satin. These petals being narrow, only need a wire through the center. After the petals have been prepared,[88] they should be assembled around a bunch of yellow stamens or knotted baby ribbon.

The foliage is made from green velvet lined with green silk. The accompanying illustration shows the proportion of both the petals of the blossom and the foliage. The stems may be wound with green or brown gum tissue.


Poppies may be made from ribbon seventeen inches long and two and one-quarter inches wide. Cut two pieces five and one-half inches long. This leaves one piece six inches long. This will make five petals. Cut the ends round on the five and one-half inch pieces, and cut one end of the six-inch piece round. Beginning at the center, close to edge, gather with a small running stitch. Turn in the raw edges and draw the thread sufficiently to make the rounded ends curl over one inch, and fasten off the thread. These two long pieces make four petals. Pleat them very close at the center, sew together, finish the single petal the same and add it to the four petals. Knotted black baby ribbon or yellow stamens or both will make a beautiful center.

[89]Morning glories

Cut a circle of paper four inches in diameter. One quarter section of this will be the pattern for a morning glory. The circle may be larger if desired, but the size should depend somewhat upon the material used. These dimensions are for a small blossom made of taffeta silk or organdie. If made of velvet or heavy silk, the pattern should be much larger.

Lap the straight edges one-eighth of an inch in and paste in place. This makes a cone. Cut a piece of tie wire six inches in length, lap one end over several knots of yellow baby ribbon and twist securely. Push the other end of wire through the cone from the inside and draw the knots down into the point. Make a short bend in the wire at the lower point of the blossom on the outside to prevent its slipping down on the wire. The upper edge of the cone may be rolled over a piece of tie wire and pasted if necessary; usually it stays in place without either sewing or pasting. The edge should be stretched slightly. Organdie or taffeta silk will stay rolled into place without the tie wire. Water color is used most effectively on these flowers to make the shading as true to nature as possible. If made of[90] velvet they may be sewed down flat on a hat at the side joining, when a large stamen of twisted ribbon or chenille may be made to cover the joining in the cone.


This blossom is especially adapted to the gown of the matron, or wherever a touch of lavender is desired. It is effectively combined with violets, or lilies-of-the-valley and maidenhair fern. The petals are made of satin ribbon one and one-quarter inches wide and of the peculiar pinkish lavender orchid shade. There are five petals in all—each calls for seven inches of ribbon. If possible, three of the petals should be one or two shades darker than the other two.

Fold a seven-inch piece of ribbon (one and one-quarter inches wide) in half with the right side out. Cut into shape like the illustration. Stitch a seam along the curved edge one-eighth of an inch from the edge. Twist a very small loop in one end of a piece of seven-inch tie wire and fasten up at folded end of the ribbon. Overhand this wire along the raw edges, turn to the wrong side and sew the wire in with a one-eighth-inch seam on the[91] wrong side. This makes a French seam. Now spread the petal open flat, and push it up on the wire until the petal measures six inches in length. Gather the raw ends and wind them tight to the wire. Finish the other four petals the same way.

No. 1 pattern for the center

This calls for a piece of velvet ribbon one and one-half inches wide and four inches in length. If possible this ribbon should be darker than the darkest petal, but of course should harmonize. Roll the ends and hem them down. Gather along one edge and draw down close around the looped end of a piece of tie wire in which a bunch of yellow stamens have been fastened. The blossom should be arranged with the three darker petals pointing up at the back of the center and the other two at the front drooping.

No. 2 pattern for the center

This center is made from a piece of velvet ribbon three and one-half inches long and one and one-quarter inches wide. Fold lengthwise, with the satin side out. At one end sew straight across, making a seam one-eighth of an inch deep and turn.[92] Cut the other end like the diagram and sew this with the velvet side out, leaving a tiny space at the bottom to insert the wire. This now looks something like a “Jack in the Pulpit.” Twist a few yellow stamens in the end of a piece of seven-inch tie wire and push the other end down through the little opening left at the lower point and draw the stamens down in as low as desired. Make a small, short loop in the tie wire close to the blossom to prevent its slipping back down on the wire.

Each year there are new developments in flower making, but the principles are the same. If a few are mastered, there is usually very little difficulty experienced in copying others which may appear from year to year. Lovely flowers may be made from a few inches of hat braids which are left over or from wool and raffia, maline or colored nets.

Blossoms of maline or net

These may be made by using the same pattern as for the American Beauty rose, selecting the size required. (See illustration.) Lay a strip of tie wire inside along the bias fold. Gather along the curved edge and draw down tight. This brings the two ends of the tie wire together, and they should be[93] twisted lightly. Arrange four or five leaves around a few yellow stamens. If green tie wire is used, it is not necessary to wind the stems; otherwise brown gum tissue may be wound around the stem. From this pattern many different blossoms may be made, varying it slightly, such as rosebuds, sweet peas, and apple blossoms.

Sweet peas

Cut four petals after the same pattern, making one about one and one-half inches and two one inch, then a small one for the center, or a few knots of baby ribbon may be used for the center. Arrange the petals in a natural-looking blossom.


No flower is more popular than the violet, and a cluster of handsome violets make a most acceptable gift at any time.

Violet-colored satin ribbon about one-quarter of an inch in width is used. Begin by tying a knot one inch from the end, tie another one inch from this knot; continue until there are five or six knots one inch apart. In tying, try to keep the satin side of the ribbon out and make as round a knot as possible by pushing the ribbon edges together on the[94] knot. Do not tie too tightly. A little practice is needed, but the blossom is easily made. Hold the first knot between the thumb and finger, bring the third knot up and place with it, then the fifth, and so on, until the knots are all placed—usually three on one side, and two or three on the other. Cut green tie wire six or seven inches long for stems. Wind an inch of the end over the ribbon between these folded knots and twist. Cut the ribbon off pointed, leaving one-half inch end.

Two shades of ribbon may be used if desired. Sometimes a few yellow stamens are fastened in with the wire or a few French knots in yellow added at the center after the blossom is made, but neither is needed and add but little to the beauty of this little blossom. Shape the petals up around the center.

The foliage for this flower can be bought, or made according to directions given elsewhere. A spray of almost any foliage will do. A small rosebud, a morning-glory or an orchid added to a bouquet of violets will make it doubly charming.


Daisies may be made from one-quarter inch rib[95]bon, using as many petals as desired. Cut the ribbon into two and one-half-inch lengths. Tie a knot in the center. Sew the ends to a small, round piece of buckram. If two rows of petals are used, the second row may be made one-quarter of an inch shorter. The center may be covered with ready-made daisy centers or a few French knots. The stem of wire is tacked to the buckram on the back and may be wound with green floss.


These flowers are made of geranium-colored satin ribbon. Use the same method as in making violets, except that yellow stamens should always be added.



The material required for making apples is cut into a circle of any size desired and from any material. The edge should be turned in one-sixteenth of an inch and gathered all around. Place this over a piece of cotton batting, over which a piece of wire has been twisted, leaving ends long enough for a stem. Add a sufficient amount of cotton to fill the material out well. Draw the thread tight and sew.[96] A stitch may be caught through the center and pulled down, or a little tuft of brown embroidery thread sewed to the center to give a more realistic look. The apple may be tinted with water-color if desired. In that case the entire apple should be moistened first and then the color applied and allowed to dry.


These are made from a smaller circle of material than the apple—satin or velvet would make a charming cluster. The method used is the same as for the apple, except that there would be no stitch in the center. They should also be filled until they are hard. Use tie wire for the stems.


These may be made from a piece of plum-colored material on a true bias, two and one-quarter inches long and one and one-quarter inches wide. Sew the ends together on the wrong side. Turn, gather one end one-eighth of an inch from the edge. Pull the thread up tight and sew. This makes the “blow” end. Turn the lower edge in one-eighth of an inch and gather. Fill with cotton to which a piece of tie[97] wire has been attached and pull close to wire and sew. Add as much cotton as necessary to procure the right shape before finishing.


These may be made from gathering a folded circle of plum-colored material one-eighth of an inch from the edge, but used without filling with cotton. Sew to the end of looped tie wire and wind the wire with brown gum tissue. Arrange in a cluster. Always warm the tissue before using so that it will adhere.


These are made the same as cherries, except a cluster would have several sizes. They are beautiful made from black velvet. A cluster of grapes to sew flat to hat may be made by covering different sizes of button molds and arranging them on a hat to look like a cluster.

Mourning Millinery

Hats worn when one is in mourning are nearly always small and made of black crêpe with a few folds of white crêpe near the face. The covering of[98] crêpe is always lined, preferably with sheet wadding to give the soft appearance desired. The trimming is of milliner's folds or flat flowers made of the crêpe.98-1 The mourning veils used may have a simple wide hem sewed down by hand or an applied hem. The applied hem is much the handsomer finish.

Applied hem on a veil

For a hem three inches wide, cut a strip six inches in width and long enough to reach around the edge of the veil plus three inches for each corner. It takes that much extra length to mitre a corner of a rectangular veil.

Fold this strip lengthwise in the middle and baste with fine running stitches one inch from the fold to hold the fold flat. Measure this strip at the edge of the veil to locate the place where the fold must be mitred at the corners. Cut a V-shaped piece from this fold to within one-quarter of an inch of the fold. Cut through both thicknesses. Sew these raw edges together in a seam one-quarter of an inch deep and the result will be a mitred corner. Each corner should be carefully planned and mitred before sewing to the veil. Next turn both raw edges down[99] toward the inside one-quarter of an inch and baste separately. Slip the edge of the veil between, pin carefully in place, baste and slipstitch the edges to the veil. Both edges may be stitched at the same time. If this work is carefully done, the result more than repays the time spent upon it.

The veil is a very important part of the hat and may be adjusted in any becoming way. It may form part of the covering of the hat, and is then arranged in becoming folds toward the back and allowed to fall to any desired length. It makes a becoming background for the face. Mourning millinery is not used as much as formerly, but those who desire to adhere to the custom will find the style little changed.

98-1 See chapter on “Flowers.”




Straw shapes

Brim—Brush well to remove all the dust. If the brim is too wide, a few rows of braid may be removed from the edge, and the edge refinished with one or more rows of ornamental braid of the same color. If it seems necessary to use an edge wire, this last row of braid may be made to cover it, or a bias fold of satin, silk, velvet, or ribbon may be sewed over the wire.

Crown—When the crown of a straw hat is found to be too low for the present style, the crown may be ripped from the brim, a narrow piece of buckram sewed to the bottom of the crown and then sewed back to the brim. Of course trimming must be planned to cover up this buckram. If the crown is too high, a few rows of braid may be removed at the bottom of the crown, enough to give the desired height.

[101]To put a straw hat into shape

If the general outlines of a straw shape are found to be good, or if it only needs slight reshaping, it can be done at home with satisfactory results. It is really home-blocking by the use of heavy cardboard. A rounded crown can be made flat on top, and a slightly rolling brim can be made into a straight brim by using this method. It is a joy to take an old, discarded, battered straw hat and make it into a fresh-looking and up-to-date hat, a piece of work which any one may well be proud of.

Cut from a piece of heavy cardboard the exact shape and size of which the crown top is to be made. Cut another the exact height of the crown and long enough to fit around the head, allowing the ends to just meet. Sew these pieces of cardboard together which will make a crown the exact shape you wish. Dampen the straw crown sufficiently to make it very pliable and pull it into shape over this cardboard crown. Turn the crown upside down on a flat surface and place a weight in the crown. A flatiron or a small stone jar will make a good weight. Bind the outside firmly and smoothly with a cloth, pin in place, and leave to dry. After it is thoroughly dry, remove the cloth, and before re[102]moving it from the block, cover with a coating or two of some good coloring which may be bought for the purpose. This can be procured in several colors, but must be put on with a stiff brush and rubbed in well in order to produce an even shade.

If the brim is rolling and is to be made flat, dampen it thoroughly, press it down flat on a smooth surface, and cover with weights; leave until dry, when a few coats of coloring may be applied. If the brim is separate from the crown, the hat may be completely changed by slipping the brim down over the crown, leaving it an inch or so from the bottom on one side or in the back, making a bandeau which lends itself to trimming of flowers, ribbons, or malines. In this case the bottom of the crown would require a wire sewed on at the edge to keep it in shape. If a high luster is desired, a coating of shellac may be applied the last thing before trimming.

Light straw hats

Light straw hats may be cleaned by the use of soap and water or gasoline. If the hat is in need of bleaching, sulphur and water may be used, or a commercial bleaching fluid may be bought all ready to use according to printed directions. Two or three[103] coatings of coloring will change the color. Pleasing results are sometimes obtained by using two different colors, one over the other. This, of course, requires experience and should be tried out before using on a hat.

When straw is to be re-sewed

Rip carefully from the foundation; brush and press carefully. Some straw will not stand dampening, so try out a small piece first. Place it on a heavily-padded board and press on the wrong side.

Panama hats

It is much more satisfactory to send a Panama to a good professional cleaner. A Panama hat may be made less severe-looking by the addition of an underfacing on the brim of some sheer material, such as georgette or crêpe de chine, finished off at the edge over a wire. The facing may be put on top of the brim if desired. The entire crown is sometimes changed by covering it with a figured chiffon drawn down tightly and finished at the bottom with a band and bow of ribbon.

Another change might be made by covering the[104] entire crown with flower petals sewed down flat and intermingled with green leaves. They should then be covered with a layer or more of maline. This is a good way to use up old flowers. The flowers will stand a lot of retouching with color when they are veiled.

Old buckram frames

When a covered buckram shape has become broken and out of shape, remove all the covering. Dampen the frame and press with a hot iron. A roll of cloth or paper must be held in the hand while pressing the crown. A break in buckram is difficult to remove; however, if new material is not available, much may be done with the old. Do not remove the headsize wire unless a pencil mark is made where it is to be sewed.

If the headsize wire is too large or too small, now is the time to change it. If the general shape of the brim is to be changed, remove the edge wire and trim to the required width. If it is to droop or roll, slash the brim from the outer edge to the headsize wire and lap one-quarter of an inch at the edge. Slash in several places if necessary. Sew close to both lapped edges of the buckram and cover with a strip of muslin or crinoline sewed on flat.

[105]If a brim is to be made more flat or flaring, slash and add V-shaped pieces of buckram. If the headsize is entirely too large, this may be remedied by dividing the brim into halves. Remove the headsize wire and the edge wire, cutting through from front to back. Lap and sew; make the headsize wire the required size and sew back on the brim. Trim the outer edge of the brim and add the edge wire. The same thing may be done to the crown. If too large, divide into halves and lap the edges until it is the required size, or a piece of material may be added to make the crown larger. The crown may be lowered by cutting a piece from the base, or raised by adding a piece of heavy material at the base. When a fabric-covered brim is changed it will be found difficult to use the old covering, but it can sometimes be done.

Blocking over wire frames

If a buckram frame needs changing radically, it may be done by blocking over a wire frame made for the purpose. The wire frame should have six sticks instead of four, and circles not more than one inch apart, shaped as desired. Old or new buckram, neteen, or any coarse material which has been heav[106]ily starched, may be used. Wet the fabric thoroughly with warm water.

Block the crown first. Place the material over the crown and pull it down until all the wrinkles are removed, pin closely to the headsize wire all around. When dry, mark with a pencil all around close to the headsize wire, remove from the frame, cut on the pencil mark and sew a headsize wire on the edge. If there are marks of the wire to be removed, hold a cloth on the inside of the crown and press lightly with a hot iron. The brim is managed in the same way. Mark at the headsize, cut off at this point one-half inch inside the mark, and sew a headsize wire on the pencil mark. Mark at the edge wire, cut off at the pencil mark, and finish with edge wire.

New brims for old crowns

If the brim of a hat is past renewing, a new one may be made, or the wire brim from an old hat may be used with a crown of velvet, or any fabric or straw. The wire brim may be re-covered with georgette—an old, half-worn waist will do nicely, using the back or sleeves, or any portions that are not too badly worn. When a heavier crown is used, the edge of a sheer brim should have a fold of material like[107] the crown sewed at the edge, or a row of straw when the crown is of straw braid.

Felt and beaver hats

When soiled, clean with gasoline and cornmeal. To restore the gloss, rub the hat with a very fine piece of sandpaper which has been tacked over a small block of wood. Rub with the nap. To complete the process, remove the sandpaper and substitute a piece of velvet. Rub this on a hot iron, then on beeswax. Continue the operation of rubbing the hat with the nap until it is restored to its original freshness. The crown must be packed with cloth before rubbing to keep it solid enough to do satisfactory work. If the brim of a felt or beaver hat needs cutting down at the edge, mark with a piece of chalk where the brim is to be cut. Sew on this line with an unthreaded sewing machine several times, and the felt will be cut through and the edge broken off at this point. This looks much better than when cut with shears or with a knife.

Renovation of hat coverings and linings

To freshen velvet and raise the pile, brush well to remove the dust. With the wrong side down, hold[108] it over the spout of a tea-kettle of rapidly boiling water. An assistant is needed to brush it lightly as it is passed back and forth over the steam. The great force of the steam will raise the pile much more quickly than the method of using a damp cloth over a hot iron. If the velvet after steaming is found to be still too imperfect or faded to be used on the hat plain, it may be gathered a half inch apart or more and used either on the crown or the brim, or it may be mirrored by ironing on the right side with a hot iron, always ironing lightly one way, using a sweeping motion. Do not let the iron rest for a second on the material or it will leave a mark.

To freshen crêpe for mourning millinery

Brush the crêpe with a fine brush to remove the dust. Clean in gasoline if necessary. Crêpe may be made to look like new if pinned down smoothly and evenly on a padded surface, a damp cloth placed over it, then a hot iron passed over it without touching it, but near enough so that a slight amount of steam will dampen the crêpe. Remove the cloth and allow the crêpe to dry in place. Crêpe becomes shabby-looking quickly if not given the best of care.

[109]Cleaning, curling, and tinting feathers

To clean, immerse the feather in gasoline to which has been added a few spoonfuls of cornmeal. Draw the feather through the hands several times until it is clean; rinse in clear gasoline and shake in the fresh air till dry. A very light-colored or white feather may be tinted by dissolving some oil paint in the gasoline used for rinsing.

To curl, draw the flues, a very few at a time, over a blunt knife. A plume is rather difficult to sew on a hat and produce the desired effect. The end of the quill may be sewed very firmly to the hat, while the tip of the plume should not be sewed close to the hat, otherwise it will look stiff.


If soiled, they may be cleaned in gasoline or soap and water, using a brush. Do not rub or wring. Hang up to drip dry, or wind tightly around a bottle and leave to dry. Do not press until after twenty-four hours, if cleaned in gasoline. To produce extra stiffness, rinse in a weak solution of sugar and water. It is also very easy to change the color of ribbons by using any of the commercial cold dyes.


If flowers are faded, they may be touched up with water-color. If they are pink, rouge may be used effectively. If the edges are much frayed, trim them slightly with the shears. Green leaves may be dipped in hot paraffine to restore their gloss, or pressed with a warm iron without paraffine. Even very imperfect flowers may be made to look well if veiled with maline or georgette.


Quills are sometimes improved by passing them between the thumb and finger on which a small amount of vaseline or oil has been placed. A quill may be curved by holding it over the spout of a tea-kettle of rapidly boiling water. Place a dull knife on the underside and press the quill hard enough to make a sharp dent. Do this every half inch. If the quill is sufficiently steamed this may be accomplished easily, and the result is permanent.


Loose feathers should be glued in place and the wing covered with maline or a hair net of the same color. Wings may be covered with a coat of shellac[111] which stiffens them and gives them a very glossy look.


Most laces may be washed in warm, soapy water. Press gently in the hands—do not rub. Press the water out after having rinsed the lace well in warm water. Shake gently and pin down smoothly on a sheet, being careful to stretch and pin each scallop in place. Allow it to dry. If necessary press slightly with a warm iron on the wrong side. Some laces are greatly improved by pressing.


Malines may be used to good advantage, even if parts are badly worn and faded. Place a thin, damp cloth over them and press with a warm iron. Allow to dry thoroughly before removing from the ironing-board.


Transcriber’s Note

The following typographical errors were corrected.

18 To cover side crown changed to To cover side crown
108 crepe changed to crêpe
110 Wings changed to Wings




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