The "Design Deep Dive" miniseries explores some of the ideas and inspirations behind my different hat designs. This week I will be looking into one of my newest designs, the Witch Hat Fascinator. It has all the same wrinkles and curls you would come to expect from one of my hats, but on a smaller scale.
I'm definitely not a fashion expert, but the way I understand the whole idea of fascinators is that they are supposed to be a decorative alternative to a full-sized hat. People wear them when a hat would also make sense, but they are more like a fashion accessory than something functional, like something between a smaller hat and an oversized hair clip. I first started seeing all kinds of fascinators a few years ago when I was dabbling with steampunk inspired top hats. Lots of steampunk models were wearing these tiny little steamer top hats fastened on with hair pins or bands. They really caught my eye back then because they were a whole new kind of hat design that I could play with, and because they were so cute! Since my hats are decorative anyway, and not really functional, it also made sense to experiment with fascinators. At that time especially I was really looking to try all kinds of hats and not settle on just witch and wizard hats. But that was years ago and I still had a lot to learn. The few times I tried to make my own steampunk hat fascinators back then they came out looking more like fuzzy cups than mini-hats. There was no real interest for steampunk hats anyway, and I eventually I moved on.
But every year or so the idea of making a fascinator hat design would come back up, usually after spending awhile on Pinterest and seeing fascinator hats come up a bunch of times. Last year I took one of my first solid steps towards creating a fascinator witch hat since I first attempted fascinator hats years ago. Right after Halloween I was out at all the stores picking up discounted Halloween decorations, and I happened to come across this mini-felted witch hat. It was obviously machine-felted and mass produced, and I think it was meant for dolls and not necessarily to be put on someone's head like a fascinator, but it was just the right size. I also had an idea to turn it into a miniature hat block that I could use to shape witch hat fascinators. I bought it and took it home and then dunked the whole thing in Plasti-Dip, which is supposed to make it water proof and rubbery, perfect for shaping wet wool. But then the Holiday Season started up and I lost all track of my personal projects. My fascinator hat design would have to wait, and I put the rubber coated hat in my closet with the hope of getting back to it one day.
Finally things started to slow down for me and I was able to catch up with my 2017 orders. As the Summer of 2018 started up I found that I had some time to experiment again and make hats that I wanted to make, just for fun and just to see what I could do. The results of that work are several one-of-a-kind and experimental hats that you can check out here. But I also pulled that rubberized hat block out of the closet and decided to finally give it a real solid try. Another reason my attention turned back to witch fascinator hats was that I have been getting lots of requests for smaller hats this season, sometimes for children or dolls or other reasons. My fascinator hats are not necessarily designed for children or dolls, but those requests kept the whole concept of mini-hats fresh in my mind. I sat down and began putting together prototypes, trying to figure out just how to create a miniature hat that still looked unique (and similar to the full-sized hats I already make). It took a couple of weeks of attempts before I finally got the design down.
If you are curious about what the final product is like check out the listing page, which has more details about the hat, the decoration options, and lots of extra photos. Instead of going with built-in hair clips to hold the hat in place I decided to go with a milliner-grade band. But you can hardly see the band as the pictures show, so I think the whole thing turned out well.
What do you think? Are fascinator hats interesting to you? What other uses are there for hats of this size?