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Hat Hackery

Unfortunately, my appetite for a plethora of different hat styles outstrips my budget for such things. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as trends and my own tastes change. Even if I had T-Swift Money I likely wouldn’t be able to keep up with myself.

If you’re a bit like me with an unsatiable felt hat obsession and an unaccommodating budget, like any obstacle in life: try a new approach. Hat looks can be unlimited with a creative determination and a handful of versatile accessories. Here’s a couple of quick examples to get your imagination revved up.

I decided to try out a couple of quick ideas on this lovely little Charlie 1 Horse “Old Hag” felt that I featured in our fall fashion looks on Instagram last year. I chose this lid for a little creative accessorizing because: (1) I love the bone color, and (2) this is an entirely affordable felt option for just about any wardrobe.

So, Step 1: choose a hat to hack. Done.

Step 2, strip her down … a process I haven’t pictured here because as a respectable Christian woman I just couldn’t expose a hat in that condition in good conscience. I appreciate your understanding.

Step 3, dig into some of your on-hand accessories. Start seeing scarves, earrings, bangles, fabric scraps, and rings in a new light. Imagine their potential to be repurposed into hat bands and decor. I was lucky enough to have a box of custom turquoise and silver pieces on loan from Spoiled Cowgirlz to paw through. I settled on a few different items I felt could be fun for a couple of different updates on this hat, including a distressed bandana with silver and turquoise scarf slide, a turquoise and silver beaded choker and a set of … actual hat pins.

Step 4, make your naked hat respectable once again.

This first one is super quick and easy. I just refolded the bandana, wrapped it around the crown of the hat, slid the opposite ends through the scarf slide and pulled it snug.

Now, if you wanted to get really serious about this style, I would probably recommend at least pressing the bandana so you have nice creased edges. You could even trim it down to a size that’s a little less bulky if you’re TRULY committed.  But, you get the basic idea.

For the second look and a little bit fancier remix, I pulled out that turquoise beaded necklace and the set of actual hat pins. If you’re short on hat pins you could always substitute other pins, broaches or even straight-backed earrings.

Should you decide to go the earring route, I highly recommend using another pin or sewing needle, or even go raid the vet room a smaller gauge needle, to punch your initial holes through the felt. Regardless of your approach be sure you watch your fingertips and be prepared to apply a little elbow grease.

In this case, where I am substituting the beaded necklace for the hatband, the length of the necklace wasn’t equal to the circumference of the crown. Honestly, I’m willing to wager that you’ll rarely have a perfect fit for this situation.

There are really only two ways this can go: the necklace is too short and you have a gap in the back to fill, or the necklace is too long and you’ll need to take a wrap or two, and still have a gap in the back to fill. So, you’ll need to set your perfectionist tendencies aside and be graciously resourceful.

A couple of options I found are to scare up some leather lacing, or even some clear hair elastics will do in a pinch, to bridge the gap. Here I’m showing where I raided my husbands leather shop for a little upcycling of a bit of leather from a busted bosal hanger. Which I actually kind of love.

Just be sure you have your new “hatband” tightly secured, so you don’t go losing bits of yourself all over like a cowgirl version of Cinderella.


Now, wasn’t that simple and fun? I know I’m not the first girl in the world to employ a little creative license to update her hat, and I’d love to hear and see what you’ve tried. Have you added a scrap of lace, leather braid, feathers or flowers to your own hat? Drop me a comment or send me a message, I’d love to feature a few fresh ideas!


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