Asymmetric Mini Tophat Fascinator Tutorial

I was asked to officiate/MC at a circus themed wedding, so I thought it would be fun to wear a tophat, kind of like the ringmaster. After trying on a few tophats in a store, I decided I was better off with a tophat fascinator.  I have a funny face and large head, which results in me looking like a freak of nature in hats most of the time, trust me.  Anyway, etsy searches turned up ones that I fell in love with,  but they were pricey at $96!.   So of course I decided to make my own, and thought I would share the pattern.

NOTE:  this pattern/tut is for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  Please do not sell tophats you make from this pattern. I took my idea from someone who is selling it, we should at least show her some respect by not competing with her.

Okay, that aside, the whole thing is pretty easy once I figured out a pattern.  You can download the pattern here.

You will need:

  • Pattern
  • Thin cardboard.  I used a cereal box, but a tissue or shoe box would work equally well.
  • Fabric to cover your hat.  I like damask, but you can use any thick wovens, upholstery fabric would work well here.  If the fabric is too thin, your glue will show through.
  • Hot glue/glue gun
  • Glue for gluing your fabric to the cardboard.  I used modge podge because I was too lazy to dig in the garage for my fabric glue, but that would work well also.
  • Trim
  • Elastic, preferably in a color that blends with your hair.  I used 1/4 inch, although I think next time I might go thinner since my ears hurt after wearing it for a while.
  • Feathers/other decorations.

Note on the trim, it will work best if you select something that folds easily in half widthwise.   This is the one I used.


1.  Print out pattern.  I scanned it in on regular letter sized paper, so if you print it out that size, it should work.  I need to add a size marker to the patterns next time.  Notice that pattern pieces are labeled A, B and C.

2.  Transfer the pattern markings to cardboard.  Piece A & C can go any direction.  Piece B should be placed with the writing “this side top” on top.  Meaning, don’t flip the pattern piece over so the writing on the pattern is face down when you trace it.  You should trace 1 copy of each piece.

3.  Cut out your cardboard pieces.  Score the lines on the cardboard where indicated, fold up the little tabs on piece A and C, and also the solid tab on piece B. The little tabs gives the pieces a place to attach to each other.

4.  Mold your pieces. I found it was helpful to premold the cardboard a little before attaching the fabric to it.  It caused less wrinkles in the fabric.  I wet each piece quickly under a running facet and just molded it a bit with my hand into the desired final shape.  I taped things temporarily with painters tape and waited until the pieces dried completely.  This is important, otherwise as you try to glue all the pieces together, they can disintegrate.

5.  While the cardboard pieces are drying, you can cut out the fabric.  You will need 1 of piece A, without the tabs.  1 of piece B without the solid tab.  You will need 2 of piece C, 1 with the center circle and tabs removed, and 1 with the center circle not removed.  Put aside the fabric with center circle not removed for now.

6.  Glue the fabric to cardboard pieces. Be careful to not get the glue on the outside of your fabric. Wait till everything dries.

7.  Hot glue the solid tab of piece B to itself.

8.  Carefully mold piece A into piece B, hot glueing the tabs to the inside (non-fabric side) of piece B.  This is by far the hardest step, and where it really helps if you molded your pieces in step 4.  The fit does not have to be perfect, as we will cover up most of the mistakes with trim later.

9.  Attach piece C to the bottom of piece B, hot glueing the tabs to the inside of piece B.  See, it’s starting to look like a hat!

10.  Now we are going to work on the part that attaches to your head.  I have seen people just attach fascinators with just combs and pins, but having slippery Asian hair I knew that was not going to work for me, so I decided to go with elastic.  Cut a piece of elastic that is long enough to go around your face, starting at where you want the fascinator to rest, and then tucking behind one ear, your chin, the other ear and back up on your head again.  Add a little extra for the knots we will have make.

11. Take the piece of fabric you put aside in step 5, eyeball where the center circle is roughly.  Make two small incisions inside the center circle for the elastic to go through.

12. Feed each end of the elastic through the incisions.

13. Cut out two small pieces of cardboard, and feed the ends of your elastic through that and knot it so it won’t slip out.  I added in these pieces of cardboard because the point where the elastic attaches to the hat will suffer a lot stress since it’s stretched around the head.  So larger surface area is needed for the glue to get a firm grip, otherwise you would just be gluing the knotted ends of the elastic to the hat.

14.  Matching the poistion of the fabric to the position of the hat, (basically make sure the pointed end of the fabric is matched with the pointed end of the hat) hot glue the elastic and cardboard inside piece B.

15.  Once the hot glue has dried, try out the whole contraption on your head.  Make sure the elastic is secure enough as you really would rather fix it now than once you have done all the other steps.

16.  With the fabric glue or modge podge, glue the fabric onto the bottom of the hat.

17.  Now we will hide the icki areas with trim.  If you selected the same type of trim as I have, you will see it’s quite easy to match the midpoint of the trim to the seams of the hat, therefore ensuring equal coverage on both sides of seam.  I started by hotgluing the trim from the back of the hat, around and down.  Follow the magenta arrow!  At the end, tuck the loose ends of the trim under itself.  Do the same for the brim of the hat.

18.  Yay, time for decorating.  I used goose biot sword feathers, rooster tail feathers and a little robot I had laying around.  Remember, in general things look better in odd numbers.

Adding Sleeves To A Onesie

I’ve gotten a few emails asking me where I got the onesie with the alternate color sleeves in the Toby turns zero post.

Well, guess what? I made that. Not the whole thing of course, I’m just a tad too busy for that. I had purchased all these short sleeve onesies for my baby shower, but it’s still a bit cold for Toby to be laying around in short sleeves. So I decided to add some sleeves to them, it’s super easy.

Want to see how?

1. Determine roughly how long and how wide you want your sleeve. Cut a piece of fabric twice the width and the length plus 1 inch. With the right side of the fabric facing each other, sew down the long side. Flip one of the widthwise raw edges over and sew that down. I did this with a combo of a serger and a sewing machine, but you can really even do this by hand since there is so little sewing.

2. With the sleeve still inside out and matching the cut edge with the edge of the onesie sleeves, feed the sleeve through the neckhole of the onsie.

3. Match up the cut edge of the sleeve with the edge of the onesie sleeve and sew it down.

4. Trim threads and flip the sleeve inside out. Yay, you have a onesie with one long sleeve! Now, you can leave it like that for the one armed 80’s look or repeat this on the other sleeve.

Super Easy Adjustable Baby Sling Tutorial

I’m sure there are hundreds of baby sling tutorials out there, but I still wanted to share mine. Because damn it, what is the internet good for, if it doesn’t offer you different choices?

This one is based on a professional sling that a friend gave us. Basically it’s a long piece of cloth with two O-rings attached to it. See? SUPER simpler.

What you will need.

Fabric: you’ll need a piece that’s 33 X 70, your exact length will depend on your height and how low you want your sling to hang. Some pins (although these are kind of optional, depends on precise you want to be). Sewing equipment (notice I didn’t say sewing machine here, you can hand sew if you want. Me? I am too lazy for hand sewing), 2 steel rings. EXCEPT You’ll want rings that are 2 inches wide, like these below. The rings in the original picture turned out to be too small. I got these at Home Depot, in the hardware section.

Now, what you will want to do is to fold up one end of the fabric. Bringing the sides to the middle and then repeat. Ignore the wrinkles, there is no time for ironing, I have a newborn! :)

In case the top picture is not clear, here’s the fold done in paper. Easier to understand?

Feed the folded end through your two rings. If you want to be precise, you can pin the layers down and feed everything through carefully. Don’t poke your fingers like I did.

Flip the end over the rings, and sew it down. I’ll have to take a picture of this soon.

You are done! To wear, feed the other end through both rings and then again through one ring. Here’s an action shot of the sling.

Book Purse Tutorial

Book Purse/Clutch

A purse for the librarian in you.  (Update:  If any of you makes a book purse, please send me a pic!  I would love to post it.)

1.  Find an old hard covered book with an interesting cover.

2.  Use a X-acto knife and cut out all the pages of the book.  You
should now have just the book cover. I know, I know, this part is PAINFUL…  But you can maybe make some pretty book art from it.

3.  Cut a piece of fabric the same size as the book cover, fold the
edges in 1/2 inch and iron.  Uhhh…. I forgot to take a picture at this step, so here are some cherry blossoms from Tokyo instead.

4.  If you are making a clutch, you can skip this step and go onto step 5.  If you want a purse, this is the time to dig out your purse handles.  You can buy purse handles in a lot of places nowadays.  Just google it.  These handles I have here, they each have a little slot for attaching it to a purse.  Your purse handles could be totally different, so you have to get creative by yourself here. But the basic idea is to use some of your fabric to create straps for attaching your handles to the inside of the book.

Sew the strips with the right sides facing each other, turn them inside out, fit them through the handles and sew the straps together.

5.  Glue the fabric straps to the book (Of course, you don’t do this for the clutch).  And also glue the piece from step 4 onto the book.   I use E6000, which is like the mother of all craft glues for this.  Be warned though, it also smells like the mother of all craft glues.

6.  Now set that aside to let it dry and we are going to make the insides of the purse.  Get out a large piece of paper, or just tape two together like I have done half-assedly here.  Trace the cover of your book on a large piece of paper, making sure to MARK both ends of the spine of the book on your paper.

7.Measure the width of one side of the book, and draw a line that is that same length about 75 degrees from where you marked the beginning of the spine.  This angle controls how wide your purse will open.    The smaller the angle the wider your purse will open.

8.  Now you are going to duplicate the line to the other side by cutting out the line and the fold the paper over width-wise.

9.  Now do the same lengthwise, so you reproduce the triangle on the other side also.

10.  Cut two pieces of this out of the fabric for the lining of the purse.

11.  Take one of the pieces of the fabric, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, sew the edges of the triangles to the edges of the square.

12. Repeat with the other piece of fabric.  Turn one of them inside out, you should now have something that looks like this picture.

13.  Put the right side out piece inside the wrong side out piece, and sew around the top edge.  You need leave a hole big enough for you to put hand though.

14.  Put your hand through the hole you left, and turn the whole thing inside out.  Stitch down the hole.  You should now have something that looks like this.  (I also topstitched around the top edge for a cleaner finish)

15.  Sew velcor onto either side of the purse.

16.  The end is near, can you feel it?  Glue the insides to the book frame you created earlier.  Hopefully, the glue will be dry already from the earlier step (if not, you should really wait for it to dry, this is advice coming from the world’s most impatient person, so trust it!)

17.  Done!!

18.  Variations: Some people find that the velcro doesn’t do a great job of keeping the purse closed.  I think it depends on the thickness of the spine of the book, but you could always make a clasp closure of some kind and glue it at the same time as the handles.  You can also obvious decorate the surface of the book if it’s too plain for you.

Thing-A-Day Feb 9th

A simple child’s toy that I learned to make in Japan.  It’s basically 16 strips of paper (I used a metallic pearlescent paper here, anyone know what it’s called??), stuck to some circular stickers (I just cut them out of avery stickers), and then the whole thing poked through with a bamboo skewer.  There’s a bead glued on the top of  the skewer and another one about 4 inches down to prevent the paper from flying off.   When you twirl the whole thing back and forth, it makes the pretty pattern you see here.