Thursday, June 30, 2011

In Which Gail Carriger Get's Crafty, Using Magnets to Make Plain Hats Match Any Outfit

I love millinery Fashionable Reader. No, really love.

There are few things in life that make me happier than hat decorating. Perhaps tea. Maybe the perfect macaroon. But I digress . . . hats!

I have a number of hats of the Victorian persuasion that I have attacked with a hot glue gun and way too many feathers and ribbons over the years. They survived my attacks and I wore them with a smile. Yes, I have a bit of the Ivy Hisselpenny in me. Well, maybe more than a bit. (Here's a blog on doing it steampunk style.)

But what troubled me was ~ how to trim a neutral colored hat to match several different outfits? I wanted to be able to switch out the trim depending on the dress. Inspired by the magnetic badges at Literary Orange 2011, I sourced some strong rare-earth magnets and Got Creative.

The magnet off of my Literary Orange badge. The metal going into place on a hat band.

My weapon of choice, the hot glue gun,. The metal in place on my wide straw hat.

The magnet in place on the straw topper. Make sure you "line up" your magnets positive to negative.

The hats and trim awaiting action.

Blue/green hat trim ~ used a strip of binding tape glued over the magnet. The blue flowers were sourced from a thrift store $0.50 and the metal flowers were off of an old pair of shoes.

The trim on the two hats. Magnet to magnet seems to work better and be more secure than magnet to metal.

The cream trim. Cannibalized an old decorated hair elastic (my hair is now too short).

The double magnets made it stick out a bit so I added some extra flowers behind, adhered to the side of the magnet.

The final cream flower.

Pink flower off of a hairband from Ross, $2.50. Has the advantage of being already curved.

The finished pink in place.

The finished product!

So excited. I now have plans to make more to go with other dresses. I'm a magnetic hat flower maniac! Be assured, Fashionable Reader, I will tell you all about it here.


  1. That.Is.Brilliant!

    I never thought about using magnates for hat trims. I'm 1 part silly feeling, and most parts impressed.

  2. Magnets, what a brilliant idea!

  3. The use of magnets is indeed ingenious! Such brilliant looking results too.

  4. Wow. Can you be any cooler?

  5. How timely, I am currently wearing my fist ever magnetic, flashy (trashy) Canada Day pin. Your hats are so much more creative and also beautiful.

  6. Fantastic idea, and yes, magnet to magnet is the strongest. :)

  7. Oh, what a clever idea. No more stitching decor on, then having to take the stitches out when I want to change things!

  8. Very clever! Much better than the over large safety pins I've used.

  9. Yay! Crafts + retro + Author = winnage!

  10. How do you pack your hats for travel? Do they require their own suitcase? I'm always a bit flummoxed as to how get them to my destination unharmed.

  11. Moxie, very good questions. The big straw one I wear on the plane and I have hat boxes for the others. My suitcase can get quite large to hold all the hat boxes, but I haven't found any safer way.

  12. Lovely idea. I do something a little similar and a little different for my top hat.
    I make different hat bands. Most are made as so: The base is a long strip of fabric that matches the outit (often a handy way to use up a scrap of fabric), then I decorate it appropriately at the center with steampunk parts. The finished band then just is tied into a bow atpund the hat, over the existing hat band area (decoration at front, bow at the back). This way I have one hat to bring with me.

    I like the idea of magnets though. I'll have to plat around with the idea. It might do well for a one side only decoration.

  13. I've also bought giant flowers connected to hair clips (or glued them onto the little alligator style hair clips). On a hat with ribbon trim, I just clip them to the bow. Alternately, I have a few brooches that also work as interchangeable hat accessories, at least for felt hats. I wouldn't pin through straw.


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