Whether you have a fancy dress party or a wedding, making your own fascinator can be a lot of fun. You’ll have a piece that will perfectly match your outfit (as you are choosing the materials) and it will be a great talking point. Don’t get me wrong though, a professionally-made hat, skillfully crafted by a milliner, is irreplaceable but sometimes it’s more fun to have a go yourself!
Step 1: Find materials
This is my favourite part, nothing more exciting than browsing materials and fantasize on the look of your headpiece. Be inspired by the materials themselves, touch everything and make sure to pack a few ‘posh’ items that will stand out on your head. For example, you could get some fancy buttons, vintage pieces from an old necklace, lace, or some ready-made flowers. Whatever you choose, have more than you need so you have choice whilst you are working.
Of course you’ll need some basics: a base, some pins, needles, threads of various colours, and some elastic cord. Bases can come in different materials; if you can, get them in sinamay as it is much easier to sew through them. Here I am using straw bases because that’s what I had available at home at the time of writing this!
Step 2: Cover your base (optional)
If you want to go for a more elaborate project, you might want to cover your base with some material. Here I am using the material from a vintage dress that my mother used to wear…the dress has seen better days, so I decided to re-purpose it for something I am not going to grow out of!
To cover your base, cut the material about 2cm wider than your base, then loosely sew it to make a sort of ‘shower cap’:
Once your base is ready, you can start having fun arranging various decorations on it. Play with feathers (there’s so much you can do with feathers that I will need another blog post!), beads, make flowers out of materials, and so on. Once you know roughly what you want it to look like, pin things down and go to a mirror to decide how to position it on your head. Make sure you put it on the same side as your natural side parting. At this stage, you can also measure the elastic cord and mark with pins where you’ll need to attach it.
Try to think 3-D when you arrange the various elements on the base, you will notice that once the base is on your head some of them might fall flat. Play around until you have a more sculptural effect, then sew everything.
Step 4: Fitting the elastic to the base
Once you’ve measured the length of the elastic, you’ll need to make two small loopholes at each end. These will help you sew the elastic to the base, in the places where you had made your marks earlier. Sew through the base, and in and out the loop, until it feels firm and secure.
Step 5: Cover the inside of your base (optional)
With all the sewing that you’ve done to your base, it’s very likely that the inside will look like a battlefield! You can give your headpiece a lovely finish (and cover the loops from the elastic), by adding an inside cover. This is easily done with another ‘shower cap’, as you did in step 2. Use an invisible stitch to sew the cover to the inside of the base. I usually pin it down first so I know where everything sits.
There is of course much more to a fascinator, but I hope I have covered the essentials to make you have a go. Leave a comment if you have any questions, or better…upload pictures of your headpieces to Instagram and tag them #ubercrafts, and I’ll feature them on the blog.