How To Create a Kentucky Derby Hat

The Kentucky Derby is the culmination of the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival. The race itself is held annually on the first Saturday of May and is the most attended thoroughbred races in the United States. The race is held in Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The usual fashion during the Kentucky Derby is a sight to behold. You will see personalities wearing dapper three-piece suits with boutonnieres with hats and ladies wearing the elegant clothes complete with equally elegant and stylish hats. This has become a tradition when attending the Kentucky Derby. Although not everyone can afford to buy a seat in the Millionaires’ Row, regular patrons attend the derby to revel and join in the fun and show their own version of Kentucky Derby fashion. The hats have become associated with Kentucky Derby so if you are planning to head down south for the derby you should come prepared and have your own unique hat for the occasion. Instead of buying one why not make your own? Here are some ideas on how to create a Kentucky Derby hat.

  • Look for a hat with a wide brim or a medium width stiff brim. You can either buy one that is already dyed or buy one in neutral shade and use spray paint to color it. 
  • Decide on what you want to use to decorate the hat. You can use ostrich feathers in different colors, peacock feathers, two-inch wide satin or gossamer ribbon that will go with your dress or provide contrast to the hat’s overall color. Roses are also synonymous with Kentucky Derby. You can also use jewelry to add pizzazz to your hat.
  • Wrap the ribbon around the hat, leaving a good length at the back to make a bow and leave trailing ends. Give the ends of the ribbon with a V-cut. Secure the ribbon onto the hat with needle and thread, fabric glue or use a glue gun. Make sure that you remove the excess glue so that the ribbon will look clean. Use thread of the same color as the ribbon and use blind stitching to secure the ribbon to the hat.
  • Position three large roses off one side of the hat and secure in place with a glue gun. Press your hand over the flower for several seconds until the glue dries to ensure that the flower is attached to the hat. Do the same for the other two. Add some greenery around the base of the flowers, tucking them under the roses before gluing them. Surround the big roses with contrasting smaller flowers, just like in as small bouquet.
  • Place two or three long feathers, such as those from a peacock or a lyrebird at an angle behind one of the roses, with the ends of the feathers toward the back. Use soft short ostrich feathers around the flowers. Make sure that some of the feathers are sticking up and some are cascading down the side to soften the overall look.
  • Add a single rose with more soft ostrich feathers on the other side of the hat. Or you can use a big colored glass stone to add some oomph to the side.

That takes care of creating your own Kentucky Derby hat. Get your party dress and choose which way you want to wear your hat. If you are too far from Louisville and just want to celebrate the occasion with your friends make sure that you have plenty of mint julep and lots of ice. Have a great time!


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