Thursday, March 5, 2015

Saucy Buckram Hats for Gene Marshall

An Easy DIY Project

The secret to these stylish hats....They are made from a buckram pate!  Pates are used in doll making to close the opening on top of the head. They are available in a variety of sizes. Pates resemble small disc-like hats with a slight cap effect. The brim and crown merge into one with the trimming acting as the crown. This style was often seen in the late 1940's and continued into the 1950's.

Here's what you'll need to make your own hat for Miss Marshall:

Buckram Doll Pates.  For this project I am using a 2 1/4" size pate.

Bias Tape.  You can use 1/4" double fold or 1/2" single fold purchased bias tape, or you can make your own using cotton fabric and a Bias Tape Maker that makes 1/2" tape.

Glue.  I use Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives.

Assorted Trims.  Flowers, bows, veiling, feathers, birds....The possibilities are endless.

To begin, apply glue along the edge of the top rim of the buckram pate, sandwiching the edge inside the bias tape as shown in fig.1 above. Position the tape and press until the glue holds. Work a small section at a time, as the glue dries fast. If you are working with double fold tape, you will notice that one side is slightly wider than the other. The wider side will go underneath the hat. If you are using single fold tape, I recommend pressing the tape in half before applying.

To finish the ends, trim the tape allowing 1/2" overlap. Fold over the end 1/4" as in fig. 2. Apply a dot of glue to hold, then overlap the ends 1/4" for a neat finish (fig. 3). Glue in place to secure. Turn over and glue the underside of the bias tape to the buckram pate. You are now ready to apply your trimmings to the top of your hat with glue.

Need some inspiration for decorating your hat?  Check out these delightful hats from UK milliner, Talulahblue, who specializes in cocktail hats for big girls.

Resources and Credits:

Buckram Doll Pates are available at DollspartCR's Crafts, doll shops that sell doll making supplies such as Gigi's Dolls in Chicago (773-594-1540), or they can be purchased from eBay.

Fabri-Tac glue, Bias Tape, and Bias Tape Makers are available at fabric stores.

Trims such as florals, pre-made bows, feathers, birds, etc are available at craft and fabric stores. Doll Artist's Workshop is a great online resource for doll size trims. If you follow The Couture Touch blog, you know I love to reuse trims. All of the hats shown in this tutorial were recycled from other items.

The Models:  White Orchid Gene Marshall is from JamieShow, and Symphony in G Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.

Miss Marshall wears a chic buckram hat utilizing a 2 3/4" size pate. A small piece of veiling was applied to the top of the pate before attaching the bias tape. A black organdy fabric rose accented with a bow forms the "crown".  Cocktails, anyone?


  1. This is awesome!!! I love your hats. I don't love making hats myself, so I love finding instructions like these.

    1. Thank you Diane. They are fun to make. Melissa

  2. One of the details of Gene Marshall that got me started collecting are the hats.
    Love them. Wish we still wore them.
    Now I am inspired to try these lovelies.
    Thanks for the instructions.

    1. I just adore hats too! Thank you for your lovely comment Maureen. Enjoy! Melissa