my little corner of the world

jackie miller : : graphic design + whatnot

Derby Hat 2018 Edition

Light as a Feather…

If you read my other Derby hat post, you would know how uncomfortable some of my past hats have been, so this year, light as a feather was my goal. I even started with a hat that actually fits my head! Bonus.

I ordered a bunch of feathers from Amazon and Etsy as well as a quick trip to Michael’s. I had big plans for the feathers to match the dress I was planning on wearing, which ended up being a huge bust. The colors are so off. But I wasn’t going to return them, so I made the best of it.

From feathers to flowers

I also watched a few tutorials that showed how to make flowers out of feathers, which I planned on doing with the Michael’s feathers, but another bust as I realized they were not the right kind for the flower. The flower I wanted to do required you to glue the spines to floral wire and then wrap into a spiral to create the flower. The feathers that I bought weren’t at all flexible enough to do this, so onto Plan B.

Plan B

I vaguely remember hearing that you can curl feathers, so another YouTube tutorial later, I found out how easy that was. Literally the same method as curling ribbon. With the feathers, I only did a little at a time, starting at the top and working my way down. So easy. I wanted to have a main color and then just accent with the other colors to cut down on the crazy, so I focused on the turquoise, thinking I may be able to wear the dress after all (the neon pink was TOO MUCH!)

After curling all the turquoise that were in the mixed packs, I started playing around with them and figured out that a flower was still a possibility, but how to secure?

I looked around my craft room and spotted a can of good ol’ Play-doh (don’t judge… I love the smell!) So I decided to sacrifice some of it in order to start building my flower. I can’t tell you how easy it was to shape it and then just poke flowers into it. As a child, I learned the hard way that if you leave Play-doh out, it will harden and become useless, except in this case! It couldn’t have worked out better! Pliable until you are finished placing the feathers and then hardens after a while? I can’t imagine how hard (and messy) this would have been trying to use hot glue to create the flower.

I cut a piece of leather remnant long with the intention of it sitting at the base of the hat with the play-doh concoction glued to it. Again, trying not to ruin this hat (especially since it fits!!) Before I attached it to the hat, I glued these feathers onto the top and bottom so they would frame the feather flower once on the hat. I did accidentally glue one of them upside down as i didn’t realize they had a direction. I tried to fix it, but once it was glued, the show is over. I didn’t realize it until I put the flower on the patch and looked at the hat, it kind of looks like the bottom feathers are facing the wrong way (up) instead of curling over the edge of the brim (which was my intention). Oh well.

But it was fairly straightforward to attach the whole thing to the hat. I first wrapped some tulle ribbon around the hat so that any glue might stick to that instead of the actual hat and then glued the leather to the tulle. I think it worked out well, So then I started to curl and place the longer accent feathers from Etsy. (the long curly ones from the center and the green ones framing the flower).

That was the end of my plan and I walked away. But then the plain side of the hat was calling to me. It looked SO boring. I was almost out my door to get some ribbon from Michael’s when it hit me that I could use leftover feathers (I had a ton). I think it’s kind of cool that the entire hat is decorated exclusively in feathers (and Play-Doh). So I started tacking them down on the tulle around the hat. I did one layer and it looked a little artsy-fartsy. So I opened up the other bag of feathers that had more colors and textures than just the neon and added those in. That was the right choice, even though I am further away from matching my dress. I then added some of the other ‘mismatched’ feathers into the flower, because why not, right? Might have to pick a plain black dress in order for the hat to stand out! Good thing ‘plain + black’ pretty much describes my entire wardrobe!

I think it looks crazy enough to possibly win… but at least I will be comfortable!! Wish me luck!

Update: The judging was done by an independent party and I got second! Lots of good bar swag and a magnum of Prosecco… I guess it’s time to throw a brunch party!