Like I said, as part of our family costume my husband decided to be the Mad Hatter. Honestly, I mostly put his outfit together from pieces I bought– a velvet blazer, some plaid golf pants, a pair of argyle socks– but some items I just had to make myself.
First and foremost was the hat. You know me, I’m the queen of decorated top hats, so while I bought the base hat on Amazon I knew I’d be going to town on the embellishments.
The hat itself is huge– not just tall (which it totally is, unlike many of the dinky little so-called “top hats” you find at the lower price points), but also big in circumference. My husband has a pretty big head, and this hat literally fall down past his ears, it was that big.
I made a band of padding from two lengths of ribbon– I stitched one ribbon just inside the edges of the other, then stuffed it with toilet paper (for lack of a better material). Then I hot-glued it around the inside of the brim to make it fit more comfortably.
Next I raided my stash of fabric scraps and ribbon to find just the right combination of fabrics to make the hatband. I also pulled out a selection of acrylic jewels, brass doodads, and wire, and finally some feathers.
It looks even more outlandish in real life, I promise!
Once the hat was finished, I turned my attention to the cravat. I felt like a big, dramatic cravat was really necessary to complete the look, and thought I’d look for something in a teapot- or tea-themed print to stay in character. Unfortunately, teapot-printed fabric isn’t all that easy to find unless you’re looking for a country-themed quilting cotton, and I was about to give in and get some of it when it occurred to me that I could stencil it myself.
I found some appropriate images online, created a design, and then made a stencil out of freezer paper. Freezer paper, by the way, is the best thing ever for stenciling– you can cut any design you like (I use an Exacto knife), then all you do is iron it directly to your fabric and stencil away with no fear of your paint oozing under the edges of the stencil. And the best part is, after you’re finished you can peel it up and re-use it over and over again! Seriously, I re-used my stencil about 5 times without it losing any adhesion.
Anyway, I used gold metallic screenprinting paint to stencil a length of leftover fabric from the shawl of my prom dress, but you could use any fabric paint for this. I think it turned out really well, and it’ll match my Queen of Hearts costume exactly!
Once I’d finished stenciling I just turned the edges under and did a narrow hem all around the cravat.
And here’s the final costume!