Thursday, June 25, 2015

Decorating Straw Hats for Gene Marshall & Madra Lord

Photo courtesy

Trimming a straw hat can be as simple as some ribbon and flowers, or as elaborate as you like including feathers, veiling, buttons, bows, birds, leaves, and fruit. Straw can even be dyed, painted, embroidered or appliqued. With a little imagination, a basic straw hat can easily be transformed into a chic and sophisticated topper.

Here's an easy DIY project to take your favorite miniature diva from Spring to Summer to Fall. Straw doll hats can be purchased at your local craft store, or you can utilize straw hats you already own. For this tutorial, I used hats from some of my Fashion Royalty, Barbie, and other 1/6 scale dolls. The scale works perfectly for Miss Marshall's (and Miss Lord's) vintage-inspired hats.

From left to right:  An unidentified 1/6 scale straw hat, a red straw hat from a small antique reproduction doll, and the hat from Mattel's "Country Bound" Silkstone Barbie ensemble. All of the original trim has been removed. In addition to your hat, you will need scissors, needle and thread and/or glue (I like Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesives), assorted ribbons and trims.

Gene Marshall
With the drama of pairing black with natural straw, the hat from Barbie's "Country Bound" fashion takes a detour to city chic. Double-Fold Bias Tape was used to trim the hat. A tiny black suede bow finishes the back. The trim was applied using a needle and matching thread or you could use glue. Miss Marshall added a black jersey bandeau to wear underneath the hat. Pin-striped suit is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection, blouse is from Integrity, and gloves are from Ashton Drake.

Gene Marshall
Miss Marshall updates the two-piece jacket and dress ensemble from Ashton Drake's "Sunday Afternoon" with a smart and sassy red straw hat accented with a 5/8" wide navy grosgrain ribbon, navy vintage veiling, and miniature fruit recycled from an old hat. Navy handbag is from Robert Tonner's Brenda Starr Collection.

Madra Lord
The side of the original straw hat now becomes the front of Miss Lord's new, perfectly shaped, 1930's-style topper. The striped band was made by applying two widths of ribbon recycled from Ashton Drake's ribbon-tie shoes to a 3/8" wide black grosgrain ribbon. For the custom band, apply a thin line of Fabri-Tac glue to the grosgrain ribbon using a straight pin. Place the narrow ribbon on top of your glue line and smooth it with your finger. For a secure bond, cover with a stack of books for approximately 24 hours. The trim was attached to the hat with needle and matching thread, and accented with a few beads. OOAK suit and gauntlet gloves are from The Couture Touch, scarf is from Mattel, handbag is from Ashton Drake.

Need more inspiration? Here are a few more vintage hats from around the web.

Lamp shade style hat with florals encircling the crown.
Photo courtesy

At first glance, I thought this might be a bias-strip of floral fabric.
At closer look, it's flowers and leaves covering the entire brim.
Fabric ruched and tacked to the brim might be interesting.

A unique treatment of ribbon. Circa 1940's. Photo courtesy Polyvore.

Interesting placement of the green velvet ribbon. Photo courtesy

Fabulous embroidered straw hat courtesy
You could also use ready-made appliques, or paint your own design with fabric paint.

Credits and Resources:

For resources and detailed directions on binding the edge of a hat with bias binding, CLICK HERE.

"Blue Fox" Gene Marshall is from Ashton Drake.
"C'est Moi" Madra Lord is from Integrity.
"Symphony in G" Gene Marshall, enhanced with an Integrity articulated body, is from Ashton Drake.

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