Photos and story by Sunni Wigginton

The countdown to the Kentucky Derby has begun, and that means the race is off to create your own personalized Derby look. Dee’s Crafts is a locally-owned craft, gift, and home shop in Louisville. For years, it has been the go-to source for custom-made Derby hats and accessories. Take a look below, as Anna Cooper guides us through a step-by-step process on how to create your own individual Derby hat.

Step 1. Choose your supplies

There are plenty of colors and different hat styles to select from, so choose the embellishments and colors that you like best.

Step 2. Add a ribbon band
After determining your hat of choice, glue on a ribbon band. This hatband will hold the embellishments. Most embellishments are off-set from the center, but you can choose to place them wherever you would like.

Tip: Make sure to choose a ribbon that has wire so that it does not buckle when you glue it to the hat.

Step 3. Add netting
When adding netting make sure to work in sections so that it is easier to fold and gather, creating loops to add to your embellishments. Next, use a cloth covered wire to piece it together – just like a twist tie. Add hot glue to the wire and place it onto the ribbon.

Step 4. Add crinoline
Crinoline is very similar to netting, but adds a fuller and more dramatic look to your creation. Add the crinoline by pulling the gathering string out at the end and fold in half to create full loops. Once you are finished, hot glue the wire and place with the netting.

Step 5. Add Flower
Choose a flower that best complements your creation and glue to the middle of your accessories and hold until completely dry.

Step 6. Add Feathers
The feathers are the final touch. You can personalize your feathers by creating a smooth and graceful angle by breaking the spine of the feather, or use a curling iron to add a curl and finalize your Derby hat.

Do you have any hat-making tips of your own to share? Let us know!