Wonderful Peltex Hats

Why Hats?
• Hats make a statement
about the way a person
thinks and feels and how
they want others to
think/feel about them.
They enhance character
and set a mood and help
identify time periods.
• While practical hats are
still worn, the wearing of
decorate hats have
Decline in Millinery Trade
• Millinery is the making of
individual hats by hand, but not
commercially produced hats.
• Lack of interest in decorative hats
has led to the decline in the
millinery trade and the availability
of millinery supplies.
• There is a critical lack of teachers.
• Retailers must cater to the bridal
or Western markets and material
suppliers no longer import
• The only remaining millinery
studios are located in New York,
London, and Paris and cater to
theatrical, film and couture
• Fashion however, is changing as
more subcultures and the general
public look for hats that express
their individuality and more retail
opportunities are created in
which to sell them (Esty, eBay).
• Ironic situation—As the interest in
millinery increases, the
availability of supplies and
teachers has vastly decreased.
Millinery Skills
• According to From The Neck Up,
there are several traits necessary
to becoming a successful milliner:
practice, patience, confidence and
a light touch.
• I would add having some skills in
hand sewing helps too as well as
skills in patternmaking (many
historical hat patterns are printed
in books on grids and you often
have to make your own pattern)
and the ability to see 2D patterns
as 3D hats (although both are
skills that can be learned).
Traditional Supplies
• Buckram- What is sold in chain
stores such as Hancock’s or
Joann’s is very lightweight and
usually needs to be doubled in
order to create a strong base.
Doubling buckram can be
done with water or glue.
Either technique makes the
material hard to sew (the glue
method is very difficult). If you
can find it, mid-weight to
heavyweight millinery
buckram is best. Sometimes it
is possible to find pre-made
buckram hat bodies.
• Wire- Wire wrapped in thread,
sometimes called ‘brim wire’
• Crinoline bias tape
• Milinery needles- Similar to
tapestry needles, but beware,
they’re SHARP! Curved
upholstery needles can be used.
• Flannel fabric or ‘mull’
• Millinery hams- Like hams used
to press curved seams, but
Traditional Method
• Traditional millinery begins
with a buckram base that is
reinforced with wire and then
covered or mulled with flannel
fabric. Sometimes this can be
done by machine, but most
often requires a great amount
of hand time. Not good if you
lack time or have physical
limitations. Sewing buckram is
very difficult for me and
requires a great deal of
strength and finesse. I needed
a better method!
• Heavy-duty stabilizer, firm and smooth,
designed for accessories, crafts, home
decorating and quilting.
• 20” wide.
• Made by Pellon in the USA.
• Easy to cut with either scissors or a rotary
Easy to sew in layers and with fabric.
• Comes in black and white, with or without
• Does not distort with pressing or steaming.
• Peltex has NO GRAIN and a felted texture.
• 70 Peltex is ultra firm and nonadhesive. This product comes in 20”
by the yard widths or in single 15” x
1 yard pieces.
• 71F Peltex® I One-sided Fusible
• 72F Peltex® II Two-Sided Fusible
• 70 and 71 Peltex can be used with
Wonder Under, a fusible web also
made by Pellon.
• Peltex 70- $6.50 Peltex 71, 72$9.99. Check the internet—local
stores seem to have a widely
fluctuating price.
Why Peltex?
• Although slightly more expensive than
good buckram, it is cost effective.
• Widely available.
• Cuts out many steps of traditional
millinery—no wire, no mulling and less
hand work.
• Requires fewer materials.
• Can eliminate many problems with
traditional hats, such as adhering fabric
to the buckram frame.
• Easy to sew, allowing for flexible design
and construction processes.
Making Hats With Peltex
• Any hat you can make with buckram, you can
make with Peltex.
• If you don’t like how the adhesive looks, it is
easy to tear apart or tear off.
• Find a suitable pattern. Cut out the pattern
or copy and cut out of pattern paper your
required size (check instructions to see how
to measure your head or how the hat should
fit). Peltex adds ¼” or more to hat band size.
• Make a mock up out of poster board to
check fit and styling.
• Make alterations to your poster board mock
up and use that for your new pattern.
Things to Consider…
• Before purchasing your Peltex, you need
to layout your pieces- remember Peltex
has no grain, so you can use LESS!
• Decide whether or not you will want a
double or single layer of Peltex. I usually
double up my layers for hats that require
a stiff shape.
• Decide what type of Peltex is right for
your project. Peltex with adhesive allows
you to join layers and adhere linings on
difficult to line styles such as top hats.
• Like Peltex, this process is very flexible.
Read through the instructions first and
then decide which method is best for
your project.
• Trace your pattern onto your Peltex. DO NOT
use Sharpies or permanent markers, use
• Using an applique mat to protect your iron
and ironing board, adhere your Peltex layers.
• If you double your layers, you may wish to
use one layer where parts of the hat
connect. (For example where the brim
adheres to the side band, etc.)
• I DO NOT use seam allowances (SA) on
seams that abut (like the side band joint)as
overlapping layers of Peltex get bulky. Use
¾” SA for the interior of the brim.
• Use ¾” SA for all fabric edges. Be sure to
follow the grain lines for fashion fabric!
• If you wish to adhere the lining to the
interior side band of the hat, do so
now. Leave about 1” un-adhered to
the center edges.
• Fold over the lining to the right side of
the side band. Straight stitch as close
to the edge as possible, stopping ½”
from the edges. Clip the excess on the
folded edge.
• Lightly adhere the outer fabric to the
lower half of the side band. Leave
about 1” un-adhered to the center
• Sew the fabric to the lower edge of the
side band as close to the edge as
• Seams that would normally
overlap can be abutted and sewn
with a zigzag stitch, eliminating
bulk. Use the largest stitch
setting. Use this method to sew
the side band together.
• It is also usually possible to
machine stitch most, if not all of
the crown tip, side band and brim
• What you can’t machine sew, sew
by hand. Peltex is not as difficult
to sew as buckram. DO use
thimbles. In these examples, I
preferred the look of the handstitched crown tip. I didn’t need
to do this on the bonnet.
• For the crown tip and the brim, be
sure to mark center back (CB) so
you can match up the fashion
fabric to the Peltex and the Peltex
pieces to each other.
• Sew the fashion fabric to the
Peltex for the brim after adhering,
if desired. If you adhere, only
adhere to ½” from the edge on
the top layer. Sew both layers of
fabric to the interior opening, but
only the bottom layer to the outer
edge. Pin the top layer back so
you don’t sew it accidently.
• Trim the bottom layer and clip the
interior SA if you have not done
so already.
• For the crown tip, adhere the
fashion fabric to the interior,
sew close to the edge and trim.
• Adhere the top fabric to the
crown tip, leaving about ½” unadhered from the edge.
• Sew the brim to the side band.
Tabs can be sewn inside OR
outside the side band for a
proper fit. Tabs can be hidden
by a hat band.
• Sew the crown tip to the side
band by machine or hand.
• Turn edges on all fashion
fabric seams and finish by
hand. Most will need to be
trimmed. Trim with self
fabric or bias tape.
• Finish the interior with a
grosgrain hatband. Outer
hat bands can be made
from decorative ribbons.
• Decorate your hat with ribbons,
feathers, hat pins, buttons,
flowers, etc.!
• When adding feathers to your hat,
wrap a small piece of electrical,
duct or painter’s tape around the
base so that you will have a base
to sew/pin your feather onto your
• Decorations are a good way to
hide parts of your hat that you
don’t like.
• Make small ‘corsages’ with
pin/clasp backings so that you can
mix and match your hats and
Clean Up
• Be sure to clean your
iron during and after
this project! Even
when I used the
applique mat, I still
got adhesive on my
iron. (Some seemed to
transfer off the mat.)
Dritz’s Iron Off
product works well.
Special Thanks
• Lynn McMasters for her assistance in creating the
white top hat. Her pattern “Arched Brimmed,
Straight Sided Crown Hat Pattern” was used as
the basis for the demo samples. Please visit her
website lynnmcmasters.com for more great
• Denise Dreher’s great millinery book From The
Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking.
• My original millinery teacher, Mela Hoyt-Heydon.
My ‘Helpers’
Thank You!
Please share your creations!
Questions? Comments?
[email protected]

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