I am in a no way milliner (and my last name is not Hatmaker, but I love her blog). However, I have over the last few years started a collection of little fascinators from simple feathery clips (purchased and handmade) to more elaborate ones. In honor of a Bridesmaid-theme Girls Night Out, I donned my butterfly print Chinese wedding dress because, naturally, a group of bridesmaids needs a bride. And, hello! – dress still fits! I picked up a great butterfly embellishment this past Christmas at Hobby lobby, and have been just waiting for a chance to wear it on my person. Well, I put two and two together (actually, a few more than two items) and created a butterfly fascinator, matching the butterfly print on my cheongsam. This post is a description of how I created this simple fascinator – no fancy tools or supplies. Each fascinator should be unique, but the general steps are easily reproducible. If I inspire you to make one, share a photo!
- Hat/fascinator base
- Focal object
- Ribbon, wire, loopy stuff
- Thread, glue, pins, scissors
- Other “bits of flare”
- Hat base: For this hat I used cardstock covered in fabric, tacked down with spray glue and a zigzag stitch. You could also use felt or formal millinery base, often made of variety of materials, e.g. sinamay, satin. The goal is something that is a stiff, holds its shape and will be foundation surface for creating your masterpiece. I have also bought some simple feather hair clips and then modified them. So, check out your local costume jewelry store (e.g. Claire’s or Icing).
- Focal object: Birds, flowers, ornaments etc. I have made fabric rosettes, used artificial flowers (big and small), leaves, craft birds, and, for this version, a butterfly clip Christmas tree ornament. I have a collection of those clip-on ornaments – imagine the possibilities of the partridge in a pear tree ornament with the lovely long tails! I get excited just thinking about it. Things with clips are great because you can often use the clip for the hat fascinator, saving a step. Or in a pinch, just clip the ornament on you as you dash out the door.
- Ribbon and wire: Wire can be used to fasten items but also to create loops and swoops. This is a great use for ribbon scraps. Or try wired ribbon. I haven’t worked with horsehair yet but it looks great for shaping, covering with fabric etc. (and isn’t made from horsehair necessarily). There is also sinamay ribbon that has great shape.
- Veiling: There are formal veiling products but I just use sheer fabric, tulle and for this hat the yellow gauzy substance came in a fruit basket several years ago. I like to stash away materials – no, it is not hoarding. Veiling isn’t required for a fascinator, but kind of fun. I am sure there are formal rules somewhere but I am not worried about them right now. My favorite veil is birdcage style.
- Fasteners: you can buy fasteners at almost any craft store, most with a clip and pin, so you can make broaches or hair clips. You can also raid the hair accessory section for simple clips or combs. I like the claw clips vs. barrettes as I think they lay better in my hair and hold longer. If the piece is small enough a couple bobby pins might be enough.
- Thread, glue: for something quick – the hot glue gun is your best friend, you need something that will dry quickly and help to hold items securely. I also use needle and thread to tack or secure items. Of course, proper milliners probably feel nauseous at thought of hot glue.
- Flare: this is really all the extra little bits that make the fascinator complete. I use buttons, beads, small unspecified sparkly bits, feathers, parts of other ornaments or floral decorating items. In this hat, I had some aqua glitter covered plastic floral picks that I clipped and placed under the butterfly, then made a large fabric covered button in matching fabric and created the butterfly antennae out of a curly magenta glitter floral stick (it appears to be made from those plastic shipping straps – I will start saving those from work!). I find great items in the floral section of the craft store.
- Create a base. Trace a 4 ½ inch circle on cardstock. On the other side, apply a layer of spray glue and smooth down teal fabric ( great use for scraps). Flip over and cut about a ¼ inch outside the traced line.
- Using a zigzag stitch and gold thread for accent, stitch around the circle on the paper side, just inside the traced line. When done, trim the circle down, removing the traced line being careful to not cut the stitching.
- Mark the center of the circle and cut a straight line (radius) from edge to the center. Do this at the point that the circumference stitching joins. This cut allows you then overlap the edges, about a ¼ inch, forming a very slight cone shape. Glue or stitch the overlapped portion of the base.
- Attach the fastener to the base, again with hot glue. I have used items with clips already on them. It just didn’t work well with the clip on the butterfly. I tried though but ultimately cut it off and just attached a new one. If using a clip on an item you will need to first slid the item into the center of the fabric/paper circle and then form the cone shape around it.
- Cover up the seam on the base with the magenta curly glittery object. Cut curl in half almost all the way to the end and use hot glue attach to hat base – viola! exaggerated antennae and some height. Think about which side you plan to wear the hat, as this will help you decide where to place items. Some hats can be worn on either side but for this hat, I wanted to wear on the upper left side(I part my hair on the right) and wanted the butterfly upright.
- Make the veil. Cutter a rounded triangle of sorts or a wide strip – I didn’t want to waste the material. Sew a basting stitch along the long side to gather up. This helps it create the shape (poof) to form the veil. Attach when you are ready to commit and then start to play around with placement of the focal object and other bits of flare. Glue items down when you are confident in their placement – building layer by layer. Don’t rush it but don’t be afraid! I used just tiny dots of glue and was able to peel up one of them when it wasn’t in the right place.
- Keep playing around and building your fascinator. I think a dose of editing is important but the hat is about the details, so play around, embellish, have fun and get creative. All totaled, this fascinator cost me less than $10 in supplies and about two hours of crafting and architectural time.
Another fascinator clip I created: the green and navy feather version was for the Super Bowl (#GoHawks) and was a repurposed feather (just glue loose feathers and sequins on a felt tear drop shape) clip with wire loops, beads, and handmade fabric rosettes (green tulle and blue rayon).
From my vantage point it is about creating something interesting and bespoken to perch on your noggin. Love the thought of perching an object on your head but lack a hot glue gun, creative sparkly bits or craft courage? Etsy has some fantastic hats – I created a treasury this past November with some of my favorite hair ornaments, fascinators, fancies and a Pinterest board to capture ideas and inspiration.
- http://www.save-on-crafts.com/millinery.html (great supply ideas)
Fascinator selfie, along with the usual doggie photo bomb and poor choice of background…. Oh well. I was excited to get going to GNO! And the pictures the hubs took feature the world’s largest pile of laundry piled on our stripped down mattress. Sheesh!