Blog, Crafts, Featured

DIY Kentucky Derby Hat



Wow! It has been a few weeks since I have posted, but I assure you that I have been nothing but busy at working hard to accomplish goals! I am SUPER proud and excited to announce that I passed my preliminary examination defense, and I am officially now a doctoral candidate! It is so rewarding to be recognized for hard work and to know that I am one step closer towards getting my Ph.D.! The past few weeks I have been busy with prelims, finishing up coursework, grading, and managing research projects. My favorite way to take a break from the chaos and relax is by crafting! I know it’s just more work, (and trust me I definitely took some “self care” time to binge watch shows on Netflix!), but it keeps me busy and makes me happy!



The annual Kentucky Derby is always the first weekend in May. I have actually discussed with Mike that once we are both finished with school that I plan on having an annual derby party/brunch that will be a formal and classy affair. My Pinterest board is already filled with awesome recipes and ideas. My favorite part about the Kentucky Derby is the classic, preppy style that perfectly syncs with my idea of how we should always dress. All of the pastels, seersucker, florals, and sundresses are essential to derby style. Guys should deck out in seersucker and bow ties. I even made sure that my dog, Cotton, was derby ready and have him sporting a seersucker bow tie from Crew La La.



The most important piece for ladies is the derby hat. I have seen simple to extravagantly creative derby hats. Most are wide-brimmed sun hats with a sash and flowers (fascinators are another option, too!). I wanted to have a simple hat, but something that was unique and classy. If you know me, I stand by Jackie Kennedy’s quote that “pearls are always appropriate”, so although I have never seen pearls on a derby hat, I thought it would be a “pearl”fect addition to a hat! I also wanted my hat to match my dress from Vineyard Vines, so I actually had some really pretty pink pinstripe fabric lying around. I absolutely LOVE this dress, mostly because it has pockets! I don’t know what it is about a dress with pockets, but I always get so excited when they do! And no outfit is complete without pearl jewelry. My absolute favorite is from Kiel James Patrick.

Here are DIY instructions for how I made my own derby hat!


  • Sun hat (I got mine at Walmart for less than $5!)
  • Pearl strands ($1ish each at Joanne’s in the jewelry section, I bought 4 but only needed 3)
  • 6 x 50 piece of fabric (I wanted seersucker, but I already had a pink pinstripe fabric)
  • 3 x 50 piece of fusible (iron-on) interface
  • Hot glue gun
  • I used a sewing machine, but if you don’t have one, fusible glue and tape are available now and I am sure that would work just fine.
  1. First you need to iron your 6 x 50 piece of fabric in half (it should be 3 inches now).
  2. Lay the interface on top of the fabric and sew down the edges.
  3. On each end (depending on how “sharp” you want the tips to be) measure about 1-2 inches from the side and make a mark.
  4. From the tip of the edge that you just sewed, draw a diagonal line inwards towards the folded side of the fabric. Do this on both ends.
  5. Now, sew along one of the diagonal line and reverse over it to make it stable.
  6. On the other end, only sew about halfway to 3/4 of the way and leave an opening.
  7. Trim excess fabric and interface close to the sewn edge, but not too close!
  8. Now, the tricky part. I have this amazing loop-turning tool that you can just insert and hook at the end of the piece and pull it out so the seams are on the inside. I absolutely love this tool and they’re super cheap. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting a safety pin and attaching a piece of string to it. Let the safety pin drop all the way to the sewn end and hook it to the fabric. Now, just pull the string and your piece should be flipped out!
  9. Iron the “tube” to make it flat and crisp.
  10. For the small opening, I used permanent fabric glue to seal the end.
  11. Now, find the middle of your piece and fold and make a crease so you know that’s the middle. This will help to make your bow even!
  12. Think of an “awareness” ribbon (like for breast cancer awareness) and fold your piece like that. There should be a loop at the top, and the ends should be crossed.
  13. Pinch this all together to the center mark and take a small, clear rubber band to secure it all together.
  14. Pull and twist your bow to your liking.
  15. When you get the bow just how you want it, make a small middle piece of the same fabric and glue a dab on the back of the bow. Place the middle piece on this glue and wrap it around towards the front and then to the back. Glue the end down.
  16. I then just took the pearl strands and glued them to the edges of the “head” of the hat. I left a small gap where I knew the bow would be.
  17. Glue the bow to the hat.

There you have it! You’re own simple, yet classy derby hat! I can’t wait to see everyone else’s derby dresses and hats!


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