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How to Make a 1940s Straw Tilt Hat

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


how to make a 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat

Since September 15th is national make a hat day, I thought it would be fun to show you how to make a couple of vintage style hats for yourself throughout the month. No specialized millinery tools will be needed, we'll keep it simple. Come back every Tuesday for a new hat tutorial now till October 4th!

This week's hat tutorial takes a nod from many 18th century costumers with our hat base being made from a place mat. You can find these place mats at the dollar store, Walmart, Target and home decor stores. They come in all different colors. Mine is unfortunately not real straw, but a strange woven plastic material but that's alright!



The 15 inch place mat is too big so I snipped the edge of the place mat and unraveled it till it measured about 10 inches across.

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat
how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat


If you have a styrofoam head, tack the place mat down with two pins. If not, you can just hold it up to your own head to see where you want the bend in the hat to be. place the pins where the hat tie will attach.  If you attach the ribbon closer to the outside edge, it will make the hat bow more, as shown below.  You can get the tutorial for these pretty vintage style heads from Poupees on etsy. They're very easy to make and fun!
 how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat
how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat
  Pinch the under side of the hat at the bend and sew in two little tacks to keep the bend where you like it.

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat


I found these decent faux flowers at the dollar store. Pull your flowers apart and arrange however you like in the center of the hat.

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat
how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat
how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat

I used hot glue to stick these guys in place. I found some vintage millinery feathers in my stash so I used one of those and a few pieces of faux grass to cover the funny little edge where we unraveled the straw.

On the back of the bend in the hat, make a large bow or you can add more flowers here. Sew or glue a wide fabric ribbon tie to the under side of the hat, near the center.



how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat

Make sure to trim any of these clear threads from the edge.

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat


Arrange your hair however you like and tie the hat on. I've seen this style hat worn with hair down in a pageboy style or with an updo.

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat

how to make a vintage 1940s straw tilt hat from a place mat


I hope you enjoyed this hat craft. Stay tuned next Tuesday for another vintage hat tutorial!

9 Responses to “How to Make a 1940s Straw Tilt Hat”

  1. Yours is lovely! I see a project in my weekend, thank you for providing such inspiration and instructions.

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  2. Love it! And with a placemat! This is really creative and totally doable.

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  3. OMG YOU ARE SO SMART!!! I SO WANNA DO THIS!

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  4. Such a creative use for a placemat! I love it!

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  5. Video tutorial? I don't understand how the pins/stitches work to hold the hat shape in place. Boggles my mind (and I'd really like to try this!).

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    1. The ribbon tie that ties around the back of your neck should be right in the middle of the place mat, about 5 inches apart. If you attach it further than 5 inches apart, it will make the hat bow more like a bonnet, instead of it being flat. Then, the tacks are just two little stitches, they go wherever you want the bend in the hat to be. If you get a place mat in your hand and bend it, it'll make more sense, I think, because you'll be able to see how easily a few little stitches keep the hat's shape

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  6. I find it hard to believe that it's a placemat! It looks incredible. xx

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  7. A tip from a couture milliner for you. If you have 'plastic straw' placemats, put it on the dollyhead & warm it into shape with your hair dryer. Leave to cool & it'll hold its shape better. If you manage to get hold of straw ones, apply heat & steam from your steam iron. Don't touch the iron to it, just hover it over the straw, once again on the dollyhead. Use LOTS of steam. It will take quite a while to dry & cool though if it's real straw. - Lady Rosemary's Hats

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  8. This is adorable! I may give it a whirl when I get a chance. Funny thing is, that style hat is from the 18th century. I have a low crown straw hat very similarly styled, without flowers, and the brim is much larger. Funny how things come back.

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