How to Make a Flapper Wedding Cap
Recycle With Purpose in Mind
Beautiful doesn't always have to be expensive! This unique 1920’s flapper-style hat was created using only recycled fabrics:
- I sourced vintage lace from local thrift stores and car boot sales.
- The little '‘skull cap’ is made from a piece of recycled curtain netting that was soaked in PVA craft glue and molded around a wooden hat block. The little cap became the base for this stunning 1920's flapper wedding hat.
Vintage crochet, lace, and wooden hats can also be sourced online. Finding a bargain is getting a lot more difficult these days, but eBay is still one of my favorite places to find items like these.
A Note on Hat Blocks
Vintage hat blocks can be simple or complex. Wooden blocks are tactile and beautiful, as one can't help but be drawn to stroke the smooth wood beneath your fingers. Behind the layers of varnish lay many hours of work by a skilled craftsman. They have become very collectible and expensive. Choose your hat blocks with care and treat them kindly so they last for many years. Cover them with cling wrap or tin foil when using wet wool. This will help protect the wood.
What You'll Need
- A hat block, either wooden or polystyrene
- Cling wrap
- Heavy-duty curtain netting
- PVA craft or hobby glue
- A small piece of fabric lining in a complementary color
- Vintage cotton lace doilies (tatted or crochet) in neutral shades
- Bits and pieces of vintage lace ribbons and lace
- A pair of sharp scissors
- Pins and a long sewing needle
- Rubber bands
- Cling wrap
- A glue gun with glue sticks
1. Cover the Hat Block
Begin by covering a wooden hat block with cling wrap as shown above. This will prevent any glue from sticking to or from damaging the hat block below.
2. Prepare the Hat Block
Drape a thickly woven piece of curtain net over the cling-wrapped hat block.
3. Adjust the Folds
Use elastic bands to gather in the fabric. The folds in the curtain netting should be adjusted to give a pleasing effect.
4. Spread the Glue
Spread a thick layer of glue on the curtain netting. Work it well into the fabric above the eyes and the forehead. Spread it around the sides and back of the head until you reach the elastic band area on the neck. Make sure the pleats in the fabric are well glued so that they do not move when the glue is dry.
- You may wish to use your hands or a paintbrush to do this.
- Remember that the glue is water solvent, so you won't have a problem rinsing off your hands or paintbrush in the water.
Leave the glue to dry properly, preferably overnight.
5. Trim the Net Cap
Once it's dry, trim the net cap with a pair of sharp scissors. The cap should maintain its shape perfectly once it's removed from the block. This small surprisingly flexible ‘skull cap’ is about to become the base for your 1920s lace flapper hat.
6. Line the Hat
Remove the cap carefully from the hat block. Turn the cap inside out and place it back onto a hat block. You may use either a wooden block or a polystyrene hat block as shown here. The latter makes it easy to envision what the finished hat might look like on a human head.
Drape a piece of silk lining over the skull cap and secure the fabric to it with tightly-stretched elastic bands. Arrange the folds in a pleasing way. Then, either glue the fabric onto the cap with a glue gun or sew it securely with a long needle.
7. Add the Lace
Put the hat back on the block. The lining will now be on the inside. Cover the cap with a piece of lace. In this case, I used a piece of a crochet tablecloth. Glue the edges of the lace to the surface of the net cap so the lace fits snugly against the curtain netting cap. This lace layer will now become the first layer of the flapper hat.
If you miss this step, it is possible that the curtain netting layer will show through the layers of lace.
8. Tuck in Excess Lace
Tuck in any excess lace. Retain any which you may wish to drape at the back of the hat. Finish off the inside of the hat with either bias tape or glue on some trim or ribbon on the inside of the hat. You want the inside of the hat to look as nice at the completed flapper hat.
9. Create the Design
Experiment with different pieces of crochet and lace before you pick up the glue gun. Get it right at this stage and avoid costly mistakes later.
The Completed Hat
A 1920s Flapper Wedding Cap
Are you interested in recycling vintage lace for creative projects such as this one?
© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen