So, you've looked all over yon interwebz and every thrift shop or antique mall in town to find that perfect vintage 70s hat, but to no avail? You've come to the right place! If you're like me, you see these floppy masterpieces of headwear all over - Pinterest, fashion magazines new and old, and even on television - yet you can't seem to find that hat ANYWHERE (at least, not for a reasonable price). In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to turn any old felt cowboy hat into a floppy, wonderful head accessory befitting any strapped-for-cash fashion hound.
Step 1: Materials:
• Felt cowboy/western hat in a color of your choice
• an iron
• seam ripper and/or scissors
•Styrofoam wig head
• fairly strong adhesive
Step 2: Rip Some Seams.
If you look around the edge of the hat brim, you'll notice that the edge is turned under and stitched. The first thing you need to do is take your seam ripper and rip out that stitching all the way around the brim. If there was wire sewn in around the brim, take that out. Ripping these stitches gives you a little extra diameter and helps the hat to become more floppy. The edge you just un-stiched probably still wants to turn under, but don't worry; the iron shall rectify this soon.
Step 3: Remove the Hat Band
If your hat came with a hat band attached, carefully cut any threads fixing it to the hat using your seam ripper or scissors. Be careful not to cut the threads holding the band itself together, and make sure you don't cut the band - we'll need it later. Set it off to the side for now.
Step 4: Time to Iron!
Set up your ironing board or lay a towel on the floor. Heat the iron on a medium setting (I used setting 5). Place the hat on the board/towel and, working in small sections, fold the turned-under edge of the brim out flat and iron it out. You may want to lay a small dishtowel over the felt as you iron it, just to be sure nothing melts.
Note: You'll want to use plenty of steam, as this makes the felt more pliable. If your iron does not have a steam setting, use a damp dishtowel over the felt or spray it with a little water.
Step 5: Shaping the Hat Brim
Lay the hat on its side, as shown, and iron the underside of the brim to further flatten the seam. Rotate the hat, and iron all the way around the underside of the brim. Go over one of the sections of the underside once again, and then place the hat on the wig head or your own head. Before it cools, shape the brim by pulling the middle of the ironed section down so it looks nice and floppy. Continue doing this all the way around the hat until you are satisfied.
Note: Do not put the hat band back on until you have completely finished shaping the hat.
Step 6: Optional:
Slide the hat band back onto your hat. If your hat did not come with a band, or you do not like the band, make your own from a strip of ribbon or leather. Tie it so it fits snugly. Then, if you like, add some feathers to the band. Secure them with adhesive.
And you're done! Thank you for reading this tutorial. If you have any questions or other ideas, please share in the comments.