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Mini Top Hats -- Using Paper Cups!

April 14, 2013

Oh, boy, do I drink a lot of coffee. From my morning cup to my nighttime cup (yes, really; no, I don't have problems sleeping), I almost always have a cup close at hand.

One day, I realized that the shape of the paper coffee cup I was holding in my hand would be the perfect base for a mini top hat. I love mini top hats almost as much as I love coffee, so a project was born!

To start with, you need a clean cup. If you're a regular at your local coffee shop, they might just give you a stack if you ask nicely.

1-mini-top-hats.jpgI didn't want the full height of my cup, so I marked it at regular intervals from the bottom edge, and cut the bottom off carefully with a utility knife.

2-mini-top-hats.jpgNext, I rolled the cup along a piece of fleece, tracing the arc it made as I went. I marked a piece long enough to  go around the entire circumference of the cup and cut it out. Then, I cut my fashion fabric (in this case, a cotton print) just a little larger than my fleece piece.


To make a top for my top hat, I traced the wide top of my cup onto heavyweight paper -- I used a school folder. (Coffee cups AND used folders? Recycling madness!) Then, I cut out my circle and glued it to the top lip of the cup.

4-mini-top-hats.jpgTo cover the top of the cup, I cut a piece of my fabric big enough to hang down around the edges on all sides. Then, I draped the fabric piece over the top of the cup, and pulled a ponytail holder over that to hold it taut while I hot glued it in place. 

5-mini-top-hats.jpgNext, I folded my fashion fabric over the top edge of my fleece and pressed the folded edge. (Note: You want to be careful here, as fleece can melt under the iron's heat.)

6-mini-top-hats.jpgI wrapped my fleece and fabric layer around my cup to check the fit, marked it, and then stitched it.

7-mini-top-hats.jpgOnce my fabric sleeve was turned right side out, I slid it onto the cup form, covering the raw edges I glued down earlier. Then, I hand stitched the fabrics together along the top edge of the hat. You could also glue inside that edge, but I like the control that stitching allows me.

8-mini-top-hats.jpgTo finish off the top portion of the hat, I clipped the fabric along the bottom of the cylinder and glued it to the inside of the hat.

On to the brim! This part started with more tracing. I found a circular shape that worked, size wise (mine's a catnip container, because I'm classy like that) and traced it directly onto the wrong side of a scrap of my fabric. Then, I cut a piece of 12-gauge craft wire a little bigger than the circle I traced.

10-mini-top-hats.jpgThe next step can be a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy peasy. I zig-zagged the wire right onto the fabric, following the tracing line. When you get to the end, you want your wire to overlap a bit -- you might need to adjust the width of your zig-zag stitch to accommodate the double wire.

11-mini-top-hats.jpgNext, I flipped my raw edge in and straight-stitched it close to the wire, then I carefully clipped close to my stitching.

Next, I cut another circle a little bigger than my wired circle and ran a quick running stitch around it. Then I pulled my stitching taut so it curled inward over the wired edge.

13-mini-top-hats.jpgTime for more hot glue! I secured the raw edges of my gathered circle and once again trimmed away the excess fabric.

14-mini-top-hats.jpgTo cover my raw edges, I glued a little bit of narrow braid trim over it.

15-mini-top-hats.jpgI centered the cylinder of my hat on the brim and traced it. Then I stitched along that tracing and clipped the interior circle, pizza pie style.

16-mini-top-hats.jpgI glued the cylinder onto the brim, then glued the triangles cut from the center of the brim into the inside of the cylinder. Because the brim has two layers of fabric, you may need to do a little extra gluing to keep everything in place.

17-mini-top-hats.jpgThe next step is totally optional. If you want to make a quick lining for your hat, just cut a rectangle of taffeta fabric big enough so the long edge could fit inside the interior circumference of your hat. I don't even measure, I just eyeball, leaning towards too big. Then, stitch along one side and across the top, gathering along the top edge as you go. This is not a precision affair. Once the stitching's done, nestle the lining into the hat and glue it into place, tucking in any excess as you go.

18-mini-top-hat.jpgI make my top hats to slide onto a headband because I do not like chin elastics. This is a personal preference, though, so if you like a chin strap, by all means, do that instead of this! (The whole point of making things is to have them the way you want them, after all!) To get my headband plan in gear, I set the headband against the bottom edge of the hat and marked the placement for my elastic bands. For this example, I marked it with black permanent marker so you can see the dots, but you'll probably want to use a more subtle marking. Then, I glued my 1/4 inch elastic straps into the hat to create bands that my headband can slide through.

19-mini-top-hat.jpgThis is another optional step, Seriously, it's very, very skippable, especially if you're just making a hat for yourself and no one else will ever see the inside. But if you're making it for a special person or you just can't abide an exposed raw edge, you can carefully glue a strip of grosgrain ribbon around the interior edge of your hat, covering the  elastic ends and the lining edge (if you did that step). It's a little tricky to work around the elastic.

20-mini-top-hats.jpgThen, it's time to put finishing touches on your chapeau!

For my first hat, I added braid trim around the top edge, a bias-cut satin ruffle hat band, a couple of feathers from the stash, and three ribbon roses that I made using Melanie's ribbon rose tutorial.

21-mini-top-hats.jpgMy second hat is a little more girly. I used braid trim to cover the raw edge on the brim like the other hat, then added more braid trim and rosette organza for a hatband. A satin ribbon bow with a metal button accent complete the look. Ready for a picnic in the park in a fluffy party dress!

Little hats like this are super fun to play around with. They use up short cuts in your stash that might be too small for other projects, and they give you a chance to dig through all the fiddly bits of trim and trinkets you probably have tucked away in shoe boxes. They are great for kids and can be made to match any outfit. And it all starts with a paper cup!

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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on April 14, 2013 10:17 PM.

Color Changing in Knitting was the previous entry in this blog.

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