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DIY hat renovation

Some years ago, Christi and the Saturday Crew and I had been digging around in dumpsters, as you do, and I found this hat:


It was completely ridiculous. I thought I might use it in a costume context or wear it ironically or something, but I never did. I’m a bit too old for ironic fashion, and I just don’t have the right look for the “curled-up-straw-cowboy-hat” thing anyway. I think one needs to be a bit pixieish and insouciant, neither of which I am.

However, as sunny days and warm weather threaten to put in a creditable appearance, I have been thinking that I could sure use a sun hat for the garden and Dirty Kanza, especially. Which got me to thinking that maybe I could remodel that old dumpster-find cowboy hat into something a bit more “me.”

So, I filled up the bathroom sink with warm water and plunged the hat into it, weighting the crown with the shampoo bottle, as the hat wanted to float about. After about half an hour of soaking, the straw felt fairly pliant, so I drained the sink, and stretched the hat over that old stockinette hatblock I have. I pinned it in place with some long drawing pins and hand-shaped the brim into a down-turned dome. I left it to sun-dry in the backyard.

Once the shape was right, I needed to address the fugly blue-and-red embroidery which meandered around the lower edge of the crown. I realized that if I picked the stitches out, there would be a bunch needleholes in the straw and the whole hat would likely be materially weakened, so I decided it would make more sense to place some sort of decorative band over it.

A dig through my trim-and-lace box turned up a wide band of red gros-grain ribbon, a scrap of machine-made “crochet” lace, and a selection of plastic flowers.
front and back
Conscious of avoiding a Minnie Pearl effect (since I already have a Minnie Pearl hat for when the occasion requires), I selected just a few blossoms which I figured would help tie together the red hatband and the blue plastic piping protecting the outside edge of the straw-braid brim.

So, this is what I ended up with:

IMG_2924 IMG_2926

If I decide the streamers at the back are too long and annoying, I will loop them up into another layer of “butterfly wings.” That way, if I should ever want that gros-grain ribbon for some other purpose, it will be easy to take it back off, iron it flat, and reuse it.

I think this gives me a reasonable sunshade for my eyes and snoot without having to dismantle the masterpiece that is the old Minnie Pearl hat, and when the cheap straw gets too tatty, I can take the trimmings off and re-use them at a later date.

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