Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to make a dress up "Pill Box" hat, tutorial!

I'm pretty sure I want one!
My little girl was recently invited to a friends Tea Party. She was most excited to go and of course none of the dress-ups we already have would do! (It's just a good thing mom knows how to sew, and has ample time for making new duds!) I used this opportunity to spend some time with just her. Dad happened to be home when this occurred so I was able to take just her to the fabric store. She loved being able to pick out all of the fabrics and decorations for her new outfit and spend time with Mommy. And it was a great Mommy/Daughter Date! Besides the Tea Party, at school she is having a special hat day. They get to bring a hat and tell about it. I love, love, love vintage style! So my daughter and I decided on a "Pill Box" hat for her dress up, get up. My girls call them "Fancy Lady Hats". We came home and started on the hat. I have not made one before and I don't know if there are any tutorials out there already (didn't look), but they went together so easily. And they turned out so great that I thought I would share what we did.
Things you will need:
Poster board (or other stiff product to hold the hat shape) I'm one for using what you have so be creative and recycle if you can.
Glue: I used my trusty hot glue gun. I like things to stick immediately. (I think I'm impatient!)
Fabric: We chose some taffeta, some satin, "fancy lady fabrics"
Embellishments: Flowers, Jewels, Ribbon, Feathers and of course Netting to adorn the hats.

Okay, 1st step: Cut a strip of poster board as shown, this makes the "box part"/ring part of the hat when you connect the ends. This piece just needs to be long enough to fit the size person you are making this for. I like my pill box hats to be smaller than the circumference of their head, so they sit off to the side.

Then cut a circle also out of poster board, this is the top of the pill box hat.

Then using scissors, make snips about 1/2-3/4" into the circle of the hat all the way around.

Now fold all the snips inward so it looks like this.

This is a side view of the snips folded in on the top of the hat.

Now cut a strip of fabric big enough to cover the poster board strip. Lay the poster board on the wrong side of the fabric and fold the fabric over on one side of the poster board and glue the fabric down, then repeat the gluing process on the other side so the poster board is completely covered with fabric. Then I cut the fabric off the ends so it was flush with the poster board. (Make sure only to glue on the back side, not on the front, as the satin is thin the glue would show through and make it bumpy if you glued the front.)

This shows one side glued down.

This shows the poster board completely covered by fabric and ends cut flush.

Then measure your strip by wrapping it around the top circle to see where to glue the ends together. Then you can either trim the excess strip off, or I left mine on and just doubled it part of the way around.

Then I glued the ends of the strip together. Folding the outside end under so it was a pretty end not a frayed end.

This is the poster board strip covered with fabric and attached to itself ready to have the top added.

This is a circle of satin fabric cut about 1-1/2" larger than the poster board circle and a circle cut exactly the size of the poster board circle of something soft (I used a scrap of Warm and Natural Quilt Batting)to finish the top. 

Now glue the batting circle piece to the top of the poster board circle.

Now lay the fabric piece on the counter, wrong side up and then lay the hat top down on the fabric and place glue on the snip folded sides and wrap the fabric up onto the snips and attach. (Keeping the top flat and folding the fabric around the sides. They will be hidden but the top is not, so keep the top flat and wrinkle free.)

This is a view of the inside of the top after gluing the fabric to the snip sides. 

This is a view of the top of the hat after gluing the fabric to the snip sides.

Now glue the fabric down to the inside of the snip sides to finish the top. Folding the fabric over the snip sides and gluing it down.

This is what the top looks like all covered with fabric and ready to attach to the ring strip.

Now that the top and ring are finished, it's time to attach them to make the hat complete. I did this by placing glue all the way around the bottom of the ring as shown in picture. 

Then I placed the top inside the ring and held in place until the glue dried.

This is the hat completed. Now comes the fun part, adding the pretty stuff!!

Now I attached white feathers to the top of the hat as shown.

Then I attached a piece of netting for the veil.

Then I attached a big ribbon flower with a glitzy button in the center.

Then I attached two alligator clips to the sides, inside the ring to hold the hat in place on the child's head. (Because they are small and I like them to sit off to the side they need help staying on.)

Here is the hat completed!

This project was pretty simple, fast and lots of fun to do with my daughter! Dressing up is just the best!! I don't know what I'm going to do when they get too big for dress-ups.
Below is the pink number I made for my little girls Tea Party.

Lots of Pink!

Ready for the Tea Party!


  1. Thank you! I made one in black for my daughter's school presentation on Jackie Kennedy. It turned out wonderful thanks to you!!!

    1. Hi there. I'm so glad you enjoyed the tutorial! And thanks for coming back to let me know it worked for you too. (Sometimes I post things and I wonder if anyone else finds them helpful.) I bet your black one is "Jackie perfect!" Thanks again for hanging out here! Loves, Kacey

  2. Thank you for your delightful YouTube instructions pertaining to making a pillbox hat. Your instructions were very clear and specific. You have inspired me to make one for myself. You little girl is a porcelain doll.....may she continue her interest in "girly" things.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial! I am sure yours will look great too. Thanks for taking the time to comment here, I love the feedback. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!