Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY - Saturday Night Gold Cup Hat Edition

About a week ago my cousin, Brittany sent me a tweet asking me to help her with a hat for the Virginia Gold Cup Races.  It's a big event in the DC area each spring.  The Gold Cup Races are steeplechase races and a big draw for horse lovers, racers and breeders.  One of  the biggest draw for many of those attending is the party and tailgating surrounding the races.  Part of that party atmosphere includes everyone wearing their best preppy and party outfits and many of the ladies wear hats. There is even a contest for the best hat.  Fellow blogger and CapFABB founder Liz (So Much to Smile About) is a judge this year. Many ladies purchase hats but my cousin always makes her own.  Some of the ladies are very classic but Brittany loves going over the top. Her hat last year was made of huge flowers and feathers.  We've been pulling inspiration and posting it on Pinterest on a board she created titled Derby Hats. We decided that a DIY day and evening was called for and flavored martinis would be involved.

These two hats inspired us...
We took a trip to Michaels to find supplies for the hat.  We debated about purchasing a hat to use as the base and decided to create our own and put the cap on a headband.  This would make it easier for her to wear and to manage during the day.  Also, she wouldn't have to attach the hat using hat pins or elastic. Originally, Brittany wanted white.  I loved the sweeping feathers of the blue and red Philip Treacy hat but since she will be the one wearing the hat, I defaulted to her on color and big decisions.  Unfortunately, we didn't find the kind of white feathers we wanted. We did find some great feather clusters and some very large peacock tail feathers (the ones without the typical peacock "eye feather". We also decided to create a base hat using felt and gold duck tape. This would make for a sturdy but pretty base.

Supplies (we didn't use the silver reeds)


  • Five feather clusters (two brown and off white, three blue and green with peacock feathers)
  • Long peacock tail feathers.
  • Peacock eye feathers
  • felt (with adhesive backing)
  • Gold duct tape (Duck Brand)
  •  thin plastic headband
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • scissors
  • wire cutters
First we created the base using an oval piece of felt and duct tape.  We created a duct tape sheet (how to here) to give the hat thickness.  Then we measured the felt for her head and cut the felt and sheet.  We used one oval piece of felt and two pieces of the sheet. The sticky side of the felt was attached to one of the sheets.  Then I sealed it all together on the edges using duct tape.  I cut a small slit in one edge about 1/3 of the way into the oval and bent the oval to overlap in on itself. Then I taped it for form a curved cap.

You can see how the cap is curved.

Each feather cluster had a single wire stem. We clipped them, to shorten them and pushed them through cap and taped them on the back side.  Then I glued each of them to make sure they were secure. We did this for each of the five clusters and let them cool in between.Then we attached three peacock eye feathers on the front of the cap as a focal point. The feathers sit toward the front of the cap and are tilted upward.

Before attaching the long feathers, we decided to attached the cap to the head band and have Brittany try it out. She wasn't sure she wanted the long feathers. Using small strips of duct tape, I secured the cap to the headband.  Since the hat is tilted to the right, the grips on the left side of the headband will be very useful in keeping the band in place.

We tried out the long feather in a couple of spots and decided that we loved them.  We clipped the stems to ensure they didn't hang the opposite side of the hat.  Then we attached them using hot glue in a fan like configuration.


Here is the finished product.  It's over the top and definitely not an every day hat but it's perfect for The Gold Cup. It's fun and this hat will be admired.  I'm sure people will want to try it on. It was such a fun project and turned out much better than we'd envisioned. UPDATE: The hat was a winner!

Of course we couldn't brave a DIY evening without cocktails.  I concocted a great low cal cocktail recipe for blood orange martinis.

Blood Orange Martinis

Two shots of vodka or more if you like, (I use the good stuff.)
3-4 oz Trop 50 Red Orange juice
juice from 1/2 of a lime
juice from 1/2 of a Cara Cara Orange
splash of margarita mix

Mix together in a shaker with ice and pour into a martini glass.

WW pts - 8 (7 of the points come from vodka.  If you only use 1/2 the vodka it will only be 5 points).
Approximately - 168 calories (that is counting the fresh lime and cara cara orange juices).

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

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