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Gunstar Vixen

I was recently asked how I made my fascinator hat for my Lady Gunstar costume, as they can be incredibly expensive to buy, and often come adorned with feathers etc, which as any steampunker will agree, just doesn’t work!! (most of the time anyway!)
This can be adapted to any size hat (potentially a full size hat, but I have to try that) the only limitations are your imagination (and well, your budget!) My version cost less than £5 – not including the watch parts.
Take care to read each step before you start!

You will need:

  • 50 cms strip of stiff interfacing
  • 50 cms of felt (or just 50cms of stiff craft felt if you can find it)
  • Ribbon
  • Hat lace 50 cms (can be found in some haberdashers) alternatively use the widest netting you can find and very carefully trim the edges
  • 2 hair clips (the type used for hair extension/wefts) about 2cm in length each or a matching alice band

Cutting the pieces

- If you are using stiff craft felt, skip steps 2, 4 and 6
1. Work out how big you want the hat and cut a circle from the interfacing (or craft felt) also cut a smaller circle from the centre, so you are left with a wide ring. Keep one of the middle cut out pieces to use as a template for later.

2. Use this as a template and cut two copies from the felt without cutting the hole in the centre, instead trim the very centre pieces into triangular flaps (see picture below, however try and cut 8 triangles not four as shown). Also add an extra 3mm round the outside edge.

3. Cut a strip from the interfacing (or craft felt) long enough to line the smaller inside hole with a small overlap. Make this as tall you you want the hat to sit, then add 1cm to the top and bottom. Cut these extra 1cm strips into small triangular flaps.

4. Use this as a template and cut one from the felt but without the two triangular pointed edges.
5. Using one of the middle pieces from step 1 cut 1 from the interfacing (or craft felt) ever so slightly larger than the template (2mm should do it).
6. Use this piece as a template to cut from the felt.
7. You should now have three pieces of interfacing, and 4 of felt (or just 3 of craft felt).

Stitching the interfacing

- If you are using craft felt follow these steps taking care to keep the triangular flaps hidden.
8. Stitch the main strip to the small circle but bending the triangular flaps over and placing the end piece on top, overlapping the ends. You can also use glue but I prefer a nice strong stitch.

9. Push the top part through the hole, bend the flaps out and stitch to the base from the underside.

10. You should now have a basic hat shape. If you are using craft felt skip this next section.

Covering the felt

11. Take the first felt ring and stitch to the underside of the interfacing ring (again you can use glue, but be very careful as even though it might dry clear it can still easily mark the felt). Stitch the triangular flaps up inside the top part. (You can miss this out but I think it looks a little nicer).

12. Take the second felt ring and stitch to the top of the interfacing ring, this time stitching the flaps up the outside of the top part (see fig. after step 13).
13. Take the very top small felt circle and stitch to the top, taking care to pull the stitches tight over the edge (there should be an overlap as mentioned in step 5).

14. Finally add the felt strip round the middle, covering the overlap and the triangles. Take care to use small neat stitches on the overlap.
You should now have a nicely covered hat.

Finishing touches

15. Take the ribbon and add to the base of the column part of the hat. I used a couple of small quick stitches on one end, then with an overlap of about 1cm glued the other end of the ribbon, making sure not to let any splurge out the sides.
16. Take the clips and stitch to the underside. So the clips open to the back i.e. Stitch them so you would have to slip the hat backwards over your head.

Alternatively if you are using an Alice band then work out where on the band you want it to sit, (i.e. on which side of your head) and use large looping stitches on the left and right sides to keep it in place. With Alice bands you can alternatively use strong glue to hold it on.
17. Check the length of the netting, it should measure from the bottom of the ribbon, over the rim of the hat and as far down your face as you want to come, nose or chin are the usual lengths.
18. Take the netting and stitch the two ends at the very base of the ribbon, just over half way round either side. For example if the back of the hat were the 12 o'clock position, the ends of the net would be at 10 and 2.
19. Then slowly gather and stitch the rest of the net round the front of the hat (gather at the ‘m’ and sew where the arrows point – only rough guide you may need to gather more/less).

You should now have a finished fascinator!

To make adornments:

You can (carefully) glue attachments to the hat (feathers etc) however I used a broach pin as it meant I could change what I have on the hat. A good base would be a small (10p shaped) bit of fimo with a broach pin superglued to the back. You can then add what ever you want to it.

My finished attempt:

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