How to Make a Mini Top Hat

By Michelle Powell-Smith

A mini top hat can be a great fashion accessory, a fun addition to a Halloween or masquerade costume or ideal for theatrical or burlesque costuming. Making one only takes an evening and can be done while relaxing in front of the television. Most of the materials are easily available at any craft store or even a discount retailer.

A top hat has a crown, a brim and a hat band.

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Step 1

Draft your top hat pattern. While this might sound complex, it is actually just a few simple pieces. Your mini top hat is made up of a crown, a brim and a hat band. Figure out your dimensions and hold the brim up to your own head to judge sizing. A full-size top hat may be a bit much, but there is a wide range of small top hat sizes, ranging from tiny to a petite traditional hat. The hat brim should be oval-shaped, with an appropriately sized hole cut in the center of it. The width of your oval will vary depending on the desired result. You will also need a hat brim. This is simply a rectangular piece cut to the size you want. For a mini top hat, expect the height of the hat brim to be around 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches. Finally, make a pattern for the crown of your top hat. Again, this is typically a small oval. A circular brim and crown will also work, if that is the look you prefer.

Step 2

Cut the pieces from thick wool felt. Acrylic felt is less expensive, but it lacks the sturdiness you need for this project unless you further reinforce it with interfacing. Wool felt does not fray, so you need not worry about finishing seam allowances. Press your felt with the wool setting on your iron if needed before proceeding. You will need two crowns, two brims and a single hat band piece when cutting your top hat pattern.

Step 3

Split six strands of embroidery floss into two three-strand lengths. You will use three strands of embroidery floss for all construction on this project. Align the edges of your hat band and stitch to form a loop. Work with small, even stitches. A whipstitch is ideal for this process. Once you have formed the hat band into a loop, using small whipstitches, attach one of the two crown pieces of your mini top hat to the hat band.

Step 4

Turn your work inside out. Stitch the second crown over the first, rolling the edge of the crown under with your fingers as you stitch it to create a neat, finished edge. This will add strength and neatness to your mini top hat. This is an ideal time to embellish the hat band with hand embroidery, but other trims can wait until the brim is in place.

Step 5

Stitch the two oval or round brim pieces together at the outer edge. You can also use bias binding to finish this edge, or stitch on trims of various sorts if you would like. Stitch the completed brim to the hat band, making sure all stitches face toward the inside of the top hat.

Step 6

Stitch a piece of grosgrain ribbon over the hat brim seam on the inside of the hat. This will neaten the inside of your mini top hat and make it more comfortable to wear. You may wish to add small thread or ribbon loops to secure the hat with bobby pins if desired. A very small top hat or one worn for a performance might be best secured by a hair comb.

Step 7

Decorate your mini top hat with ribbons, flowers or feathers as desired to coordinate with the rest of what you are wearing. Outrageous embellishments are ideal for a burlesque costume, whereas a simple satin ribbon might work for a more tuxedo-style look.