Mad as a Hatter - Make Miniature Dolls House Fantasy Hat

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27 February 2013
imports_HAC_indeedahatforamadha_87935.jpg Indeed a Hat for a Mad Hatter!
Kat ‘the Hat’ Hazelton shows us how to make a 1/12th scale Mad Hatter hat. ...
Mad as a Hatter - Make Miniature Dolls House Fantasy Hat Images

From a child I have always loved Lewis Carroll’s stories about Alice’s journeys into Wonderland. The stories are full of fabulous characters but my favourite has to be the Mad Hatter. To be honest I think my love of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Hatter’ character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland inspired me to become a hatter myself.

There are many stories on what inspired Lewis Carroll’s creation of the ‘Hatter’. Some say he based the character on real hatters, or milliners as they are also called. The poor hat maker would spend long hours exposed to mercury, used in the process of turning fur into felt, and would end up suffering from mercury poisoning. This terrible condition would cause the poor maker to suffer from ‘Hatter’s shakes’, a form of nerve damage which gave symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease and which is still known today as 'Mad Hatter's Syndrome'. The poor hatter would also suffer from various ailments including memory loss, depression, and irritability and in some cases their careers would drive them, to all intents and purposes, quite literally mad! This is where we get the expression ‘as mad as a hatter’ to describe someone who is acting crazy.

But there may be another inspiration for Carroll’s endearing character from a real life man called Theophilus Carter. Theophilus Carter was a furniture dealer and a well known British eccentric inventor who famously exhibited his invention of an alarm clock bed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. This mad invention of a moving bed tipped out the poor sleeper into a tub of cold water to wake him, or her, up! This proved to be quite a popular exhibit causing great hilarity with the visitors who saw it.

Theophilus owned a furniture shop in Oxford, and rumour has it that he became known as ‘The Mad Hatter’ from his habit of standing in the door of his shop wearing a top hat pushed right onto the back of his head. This image of him might have inspired the early illustrations of the hatter used in Lewis Carroll’s books.

You will need:

• 1 piece of plain stretchy fabric 8” x 4”  (200mm x 100mm)
• 1 piece of stretchy lace, the same size as the fabric
• 1 length of pale pink silk fabric 7” x 1-3/16” (180mm x 30mm)
• A tiny 3/8” (10mm) square of striped silk
• A cardboard tube from a kitchen towel
• Small earring head pins
• Small beads - I used 3mm and 4mm
• Fine black pen
• Thick cream textured paper
• PVA tacky glue
• All-purpose clear glue
• Bamboo skewer or cocktail stick
• Scissors

  1. Using your scissors cut a rectangle 3-1/8” x 13/16” (80mm x 20mm) from your cardboard tube. This will create the crown of your hat. The crown is the section of the hat that covers the head.
  2. Cut a piece from your fabric slightly larger than the rectangle. Apply your PVA glue to one side of your rectangle and place, glue side down, into your fabric. Leave to dry. This will create the lining in your crown.
  3. Take your rectangle, roll into a tube shape and glue into place with 3/16” (5mm) overlap.
  4. Cut a circle from your cardboard 1-3/16” (30mm) in diameter.
  5. Glue the circle of cardboard onto one end of your crown making sure it’s centralised and leave to dry.
  6. Cut a piece of fabric 3-1/8” x 1” (80mm x 25mm), enough to go around your crown. Apply a line of glue around the top of your crown and stick your fabric all the way around.
  7. Where the fabric meets up, cut and glue in place with a 1/8” (3mm) overlap. Add a line of glue around the inside of your crown and tuck under about 3/8” (10mm) of the fabric to give a tidy finish. If you have more fabric than this just trim the excess and leave to dry.
  8. Cut a 1-3/16” (30mm) circle in diameter from your fabric and cover the top of your crown with your glue.
  9. Press on your circle of fabric and leave to dry. Trim any untidy edges.
  10. Cut a 1-3/16” (30mm) circle of lace and glue this onto the top of your crown. Leave to dry.
  11. Cut a piece of lace 3-1/8” x 1” (80mm x 25mm). Glue this directly around your crown.
  12. To make your hat brim cut a circle 1-3/8” (35mm) in diameter from your cardboard. Cut a hole in the centre making sure it’s slightly smaller than the size of the bottom of your crown. Spread a thin layer of glue over one side of your brim. The brim of your hat is the section that’s attached to the bottom of the hat's crown horizontally, all around the circumference of the hat.
  13. Press your brim, glue side down, onto your fabric. Leave to dry then trim and cut out a hole in the middle.
  14. Turn your brim over and spread a thin layer of glue over the other side of your brim and cover this side with fabric in the same way.
  15. Cut two circles from your lace 1-3/8” (35mm) in diameter. Take one of these circles and glue onto one side of your brim. Leave to dry. Turn your brim over and glue on the other circle of lace and leave to dry. Then cut out a hole in the centre. 
  16. To make your silk sash for your hat, take your piece of silk and run a line of glue along the middle.
  17. Fold both sides into the middle press and leave to dry.
  18. To make your hat pins you will need your headpins, beads and the clear all purpose glue. Run a line of clear glue along the end of your hat pin.
  19. Thread on your chosen beads pushing them to the end of the pin and leave to dry. I made three hats pins for my Mad Hatter hat.
  20. Gather together all your items to decorate your hat - hats pins, a small patch of silk, a price ticket and feather. To make your price ticket, draw a little ticket onto cream paper with a fine black marker pen. Then draw a ‘10’ and ‘6’… 10 shillings and 6 pence in old English money.
  21. Put your hat together by running a line around the bottom of your crown using PVA glue.
  22. Glue the crown onto the brim then glue on your patch and leave to dry.
  23. Glue the sash around your hat where the crown meets the brim, I have wrinkled mine to make it look more realistic. Trim off at the back leaving a little trail.
  24. Glue on your hat pins behind the sash and glue on your price ticket.
  25. Finally, glue your feather on the other side just under the silk sash and leave your hat to dry. I have added a little green and gold paint to my little ‘Hatter’ hat to match my larger version!
  26. Please note that this pattern is made for a hat to fit a hat stand so please adjust pattern to suit.
  27. Copyright Kat Hazelton ‘Kat the hat lady’ 2012.

This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.

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