1940’s Cartwheel Hat

Feb 13, 2012

I’ve been waiting to show you this project for a long time and I finally got my hair to work out long enough (thanks to a sideways clipped bang extension) to take a decent photo of my finished hat (below) so that I could complete the post. I’m not entirely sure what you would call this style of hat exactly. I know that it resembles a “halo hat”, but a true halo hat has a band almost like a huge beret, so that’s not it. I’m going to classify it as a cartwheel hat because that is probably the closest style. I became inspired to try this out when I was at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago and saw a hat partially sticking out from under one of the racks. It was covered in dust and looked like it had been kicked all around the store before it ran and hid under some hanging sweaters.

Cartwheel hat after  Side view

With only part of it showing, it looked a lot like one of the 1940’s large brim hats that I see in old movies or in photos from that era like those in the images above. It also reminded me of the turquoise and black velvet version of one of these hats that I bought several years ago which you can gaze upon below. I have a small collection of hats, but only one brown one, and that’s a pill box. I thought a brown hat in this style (because the hat I saw was brown felt) would be a perfect addition to the pile. When I picked it up and saw that it was $2.50, its fate was sealed and into the cart it went.

Another version  One variation
Actual vintage hat  actual vintage hat

The biggest mystery of a hat to me is how they shape the form. I can decorate a hat 20 ways to Sunday, but the actual construction secrets have always eluded me. Being able to start with an already constructed base and transforming it into what I want ended up being so easy that anyone can do it! The hat I used here was a J. Lo style floppy wool hat.

Jennifer Lopez MTV 2001 Video Music Awards Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NYC 9/6/01 ©John Spellman/ Retna Ltd, USA © Retna Ltd.

Below is a gallery with photos of the restyling process that are accompanied by instructions, which will help you form the basic “frame” of the hat. What you do to customize the hat is up to you and really, the sky is the limit. I covered mine with brown velvet (which was the leftover hem from an old pair of IKEA drapes) and made a band with a side scrunch (which was a leftover strip of wool from and old suit that I tore apart many moons ago.) I would estimate that the entire thing cost me under $4, and that was just because of the spray adhesive I used when covering it.

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